The Apostle John has much to say about God's role and man's role in salvation. This is probably because his gospel is much like a large evangelistic tract. His purpose statement is one of the clearest in scripture: "...but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:31)
Today we will look at John 6:44. This verse says:
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." (NKJV)
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day." (ESV)
"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." (KJV)
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." (NASB)
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." (NIV)
"No man can come to me except the father which hath sent me, drawe him. And I will rayse him vp at the last daye." (Tyndale)
"No one is able to come unto me, if the Father who sent me may not draw him, and I will raise him up in the last day." (Young's Literal Translation)
In this passage, Jesus is speaking with a group of people. He is clearly talking about the issue of salvation. Some in the crowd appear to be His followers, while others are not. Several of those who oppose Christ have just been complaining about His statements. In 6:43, Jesus says, "Do not murmur among yourselves."
Then, in 6:44, Jesus explains who is able to come to Him and who is not. Jesus very clearly states that no one is able to come to Him unless something else first happens. What is that something else? The Father in heaven, who sent Jesus to earth, must first draw him.
Jesus is saying that in order for anyone to come to salvation in Jesus, a condition must first exist. That condition is that God the Father has drawn that person. It is very important that we understand what the word "draw" means.
The Greek word Jesus uses for "draw" carries the idea of dragging, tugging, hauling, or leading by force.
Jesus also uses this word in John 21:6. It pictures fishermen drawing in fish by a net. This verse says, "And He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.' So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish."
It is critical that we understand what Jesus is saying. By using the word "draw," Jesus is telling us that God the Father is in control of whoever comes to the Son. A fisherman does not ask which fish want to get in the boat. Rather, the fishermen pull the fish they want into the boat. It is the fishermen, not the fish, who are in control.
If Jesus had wanted to, He could have said in 6:44, "...the Father who sent me woos, coaxes, attracts, or convinces him." However, that is clearly not what our Lord said. He said "draw" to make the point that God the Father is absolutely sovereign over who is able to come to the Son.
This verse also implies that whoever is called will come. It would be absurd to think that God would sovereignly call some people, but that they would reject His call. If this is the case, God would not be sovereign.
In summary, John 6:44 shows us that anyone who comes to Christ must first be called by the Father. The word "draw" is the key. It portrays a sovereign God who determines who is saved by Christ and who is not.