THESE Scriptures read as follows: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men “unto me.” The first may seem narrow in its application, while the second may seem exceedingly broad. There is connection between all Scripture, both that of the Old Testament and that of the New, and often the subjects of grace are given understanding of some portion of the word by comparing it with some other. The text in the sixth chapter of John is full of marrow and fatness, as is also the one in the twelfth chapter, the doctrine of Jesus being set forth. The Jews had been with Jesus the day before the words in the sixth chapter were spoken by him, had seen the miracle of feeding the live thousand with five barley leaves and two small fishes; they had gone over the sea because they expected him to be there, but his preaching did not suit them. Jesus told them that they sought him, not because of the miracles, but because they had eaten of the leaves and were filled. This shows that they did not recognize in him the Godhead – the Savior of the world, and that their discipleship was for worldly gain rather than the glory of God. The wonderful miracle did not cause them to believe, but did create in them greater amazement. That man, lowly in heart and meek in spirit, had miraculous power; even the dead lived again at his word. But when he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven, whereof it a man eat he shall never die, they marveled more than ever, and said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?” Really their astonishment is not to be wondered at. Had any of us lived in that day and had known Jesus as a boy, as a man, carpenter, then witnessed his mighty power and influence, we would have not only marveled at his works, but would have doubted his statement that he was the Son of God. To us this very thing shows the impossibility of man, in nature, to believe that Jesus is the very Son of God. When the Jews asked him, What shall we do to work the works of God? he replied, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. Paul, in speaking of his faith in Jesus, said he believed by the working of the mighty power of God which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead; hence the work of God that he believed on him whom God sent into the world to save sinners, and it required the same power to cause Paul, a dead sinner, to believe that Jesus was the Christ, that it did to raise Christ from the dead. How few believe this doctrine to-day, how few in the days of Jesus in the flesh; only twelve men in a company of five thousand believed him to be the true bread of life which came down from heaven. When the Jews murmured among them selves at these sayings of Jesus he said, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him. He meant by this that they need not be specially concerned about him and his doctrine, inasmuch as he and his doctrine were for a special purpose :and people, and such would be made manifest by the Father in due time by drawing men unto him. The drawing did not mean force, as a train of bears is drawn by the locomotive, but in being taught of him, according to the Scriptures, they would be drawn to Jesus in love, reverence and fear. Every one therefore that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh unto him, and him that cometh he will in no wise cast out. The Father reveals the Son in his love, mercy and power to save. This is teaching the sinner of Jesus, and feeling his absolute necessity, his need of just such a Savior, he is drawn’ to him, and pleads in the language of the publican, God, be merciful to me, a sinner. The cry is heard, the oil and the wine poured in, the wounds bound up and he finds himself in possession of the secret of the Lord, the Lord having shown him his covenant. Those Jews had been with Jesus on several occasions, had followed him across the sea, were then listening to his voice and asking him questions, but not one of them had “come” to him in the sense of knowing him and his power to save. When he said, Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood ye have no life in you, they were offended, and said, These are hard sayings, who can hear them? Who can understand such things? Who will listen,to such things when they come from a man whose father and mother we know? Then they, the professed disciples, turned and followed him no more. Then Jesus addressed the twelve apostles and asked, Will ye also be offended? Will ye also go away? And Peter answered, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life, and we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of God. All men then who professed to be the disciples of Jesus were not, neither are they now, but twelve among a multitude were true believers, and perhaps about the same average now will be found. The very words which were hard sayings and turned the Jews away were to the apostles the words of eternal life. Just such preaching to-day turns men away from their manifested discipleship; they will not hear Jesus exalted a Prince and a Savior to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins, but there are a few new in the world who love the doctrine of grace, the free, unmerited favor of God, and know that without such favor they must forever perish. Hence the work of the Father in drawing men and women to Jesus is still going on, and will until time shall be no more; then when time and time things pass away, this truth of God will stand to his honor and glory, and his taught, called, redeemed and justified children will join in the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the Lamb: Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” This Jesus said, signifying what death he should die. In the purpose and plan of the Father he must die upon the accursed tree, he must be numbered with the transgressors. The manner of his death was as sure as the place and time of his birth. Every word and every step of the blessed Son of God was ordained of the Father; all the work given him to finish was done by him, no more, no less.
In many of his sermons to his disciples he had intimated that the Jews were not the only people of God’s love and choice, and that mercy and grace should be extended to them. This text is only another of those sayings. In the lifting up of the Son of man the middle wall of partition, which had always separated the Jews and Gentiles, was removed, and the secret of God, hid from the beginning of the world, was revealed to his holy apostles, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs through the gospel. Therefore, instead of the covenant of God and the sure mercies of David being confined to the Jews, “all men,” both Jews and Gentiles, were drawn by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Godhead, to the Savior of sinners. And now, as in the ease of the first text, when no man could come to Jesus except the Father draw him, no man, Jew or Gentile, can come to the Lamb of God, who took away the sin of the world, except he be drawn by him who loved us and gave himself for us. This does away with the old and familiar error, “Whosoever will may come.” But when the Spirit and the bride say, “Come,” there is a coming to the water of life, an entering in through the gates into the city, a keeping of the commandments of God, a supping with him and he with them, a walking in newness of life and at last triumphant death, through faith, to live forever with the Lord and the Lamb.
The above article is written at the request of brother G. W. Townsend, of Gainesville, Ga. K.
Elder H. C. Ker
Signs of the Times
Volume 82, No. 19
October 1, 1914