Unless The Father
John 6:41-47 MKJV Then the Jews murmured about Him, because He said, I am the bread which came down from Heaven. (42) And they said, Is this not Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How now does this One say, I have come down from Heaven? (43) Jesus therefore answered and said to them, Do not murmur with one another. (44) No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day. (45) It is written in the Prophets, "And they shall all be taught of God." Therefore everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me. (46) Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God, He has seen the Father. (47) Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me has everlasting life.
The Jews did not believe but made comments about His earthly origins. Instead of addressing their question Jesus goes to the root source of their unbelief – not being taught of God.
Some people have zero spiritual intuition. Literal to the last they “just don’t get” even the most obvious of the parables and entirely miss the signs of times. Other people are spiritually sensitive and attuned and pick things up very quickly; they have a life-long curiosity about meaning, spirituality and deeper religious matters. These are learners in spiritual things are “being taught by God”.
That is why Jesus says things such as:
Matthew 11:15 MKJV He who has ears to hear, let him hear and
Matthew 13:12 MKJV For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. But whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even that which he has.
There are those who are being drawn by God to Christ, and those who are oblivious to spiritual matters. From an early age I was interested in Greek and Roman myths and spirituality in general, then in existentialism, then in astrology, the New Age, Zen and finally Christianity. I was always very sensitive as a young person and spiritually curious. This I believe was God at work in me slowly drawing me to Himself.
Each of us, who are in Christ – and reading this, are being taught by God (v. 45 above) and this devotional is just one small part of His instructing you. As I used to say to my bible college students in Australia – unless God teaches you, you will learn nothing.
I noticed that about one-third of bible college students really “get it” and grow while two-thirds are hardly changed at all by two years in the Scriptures. This is largely independent of the lecturer’s style. Those who are spiritually hungry will learn even from a poor lecturer. But those who are self-satisfied would hardly learn even from John Stott himself. (That is not to say we should lecture badly).
All spiritual growth is a divine miracle. It took Jesus 3 seconds to raise Lazarus but three YEARS to get His disciples to learn the truth and to truly believe in Him!
Coming to Christ is God’s work in us: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day. (45) It is written in the Prophets, "And they shall all be taught of God." Therefore everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me.”
God communicates with our spirit to teach us the things of Christ:
God reveals to us, the deep things of God, things that eye has not seen, nor ear heard! He does this through the Holy Spirit so that we might know the things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)
“Therefore everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me.” (As I did!) Though we may wander down many wrong tracks if we truly follow the voice of conscience and truth and spiritual sensitivity we will always end up face to face with Jesus Christ at the end of the day.
On our own we cannot get there, we will be as argumentative and blind as the Jews in John’s gospel. Everything works against us finding God on our own - our mind is fallen, our light is dim, our efforts are insufficient, our flesh is strong, and the world is full of spiritual deception that lures us away from the truth.
The only way that the sinner can find grace is if the Father draws him. This is known as preeminent grace (pre-before, veno – to go) that is the grace that goes before conversion to draw us to God. None of us can say “I have such a high IQ that I managed to find faith in God through my own cogitations.” We can only say “I believe because the Father taught me, and showed me Christ.”
Yet we have to be willing to be taught and we have to choose to believe. Which is why Jesus ends up today’s passage with: Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me has everlasting life.