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The Expositors Bible The Gospel Of St John Vol I by Marcus Dods

NOTE ON CHAP. VI., VERS. 37, 44, 45.

Three terms are used in these verses which call for examination, -- |giving,| |drawing,| |teaching.| The two latter are used in a connection which leaves little room for doubt as to their meaning. |No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him.... It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man, therefore, that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me;| but, by implication, no man who has not so learned. Both verses express the thought that without special aid from God no man can come to Christ. There must be a Divine illumination of the human faculties, enabling the man to apprehend that Jesus is the Christ, and to receive Him as such. These expressions cannot refer to the outward illumination which is communicated by Scripture, by the miracles of Christ, and so forth; because the whole of the crowd addressed by our Lord had such illumination, and yet not all of them were |taught of God.| The |hearing,| and |learning,| or |being taught of God,| here spoken of must signify the opening of the inner ear by the unseen operation of God Himself. Most emphatically does Jesus affirm that without this exercise of the Divine will and Divine power upon the individual no man can receive Him. The mere manifestation of God in the flesh is not enough: an inward and special enlightenment is required to enable a man to recognise God manifest in the flesh. The words, then, of ver.44 can only mean that in order to apprehend the significance of Christ and to yield ourselves to Him we must be aided individually and inwardly by God.

Whether the |giving| of ver.37 is intended to signify an act prior to the teaching and drawing may reasonably be doubted. It is prior to the |coming| to Christ, as the terms of the verse prove: |All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me: and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.| Principal Reynolds says it is |the present activity of the Father's grace that is meant, not a foregone conclusion,| No doubt that is in strictness true. Our Lord, in the face of general unbelief, is comforting Himself with the assurance that after all He will draw to Himself all whom the Father gives Him; and this implies that the Father's giving is the main factor in His success.

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