John 6:44-45 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.”
If you believe in Jesus and trust his word, then something very exclusive has happened to you. God the Father has drawn you to faith. That is no small miracle. In fact, Jesus says that it is humanly impossible. Coming to Jesus as his followers, his trusting disciples, is as likely for us as flying home by stepping outside and flapping our arms; or as likely as not needing to open doors anymore because we can walk through the walls; or as likely as growing two feet taller tonight. That’s not going to happen. No one can do any of those things. It would take a miracle.
But here you are, listening to what Jesus says and believing it. Jesus describes that miracle as the Father “drawing” you. It can also be translated “dragging” you. It’s the same word used for dragging a boat out of the water and onto the shore. Ever landed a boat that way? Once you get it part way up the beach, and there is no water under it anymore, it is awkward and heavy. No boat ever landed itself like that. It has to be dragged along.
The word is also used in the Bible for the disciples pulling in the miraculous catch of fish after Easter. No net full of fish ever jumped into the boat itself. Someone has to heave it out of the water and into the boat. In another place the word describes the Apostle Paul being dragged out of town unconscious after his enemies thought they had stoned him to death. Have you ever tried to move the body of a person who is fully unconscious? They offer no cooperation. The weight of loose arms or legs shifts and makes moving the person hard to manage. You and I were that boat, or that net full of fish, or that unconscious body, and God the Father pushed and pulled us to faith in Jesus.
All of this says something about us. It isn’t very complimentary. We could get upset, object that Jesus isn’t being very nice, and go off to nurse our wounded self-image.
Or we can learn a valuable and useful lesson about ourselves. Sin is a bigger problem than almost anyone imagines. Practically everyone will admit that they are sinners in a general way. It’s about the same thing as saying “Nobody’s perfect.” Yes, we break the rules. Yes, sometimes we have hurt other people or acted a little selfishly.
But basically, we are all still good, right? No! Basically we are so corrupt and blind we can’t even recognize the only God there is when he is standing right in front of our face and showing himself to us. Basically, we are all so naturally foolish that our default setting is to reject the truth, to reject what God has to say. Basically, we would all be lost forever if God himself didn’t intervene in a miraculous way.
All of this says something even more outstanding about the Father who sent us Jesus. Basically, his love is so strong, so pure, so faithful and devoted that he intervened in a miraculous way. He didn’t push us away because of our sin. He reached out to take hold of our hearts and minds and dragged us home. He has given us the miracle medicine that draws our blackened hearts to Jesus. “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.’”
God teaches you in his word. More than that, God is miraculously reaches you in his word. When you hear a sermon, it’s more than an entertaining way to pass the time (or a helpful way to cure your insomnia). The Father is taking you by the heart and drawing you closer to Jesus. When you read your Bible, it is more than “life’s little instruction manual,” useful information to get you through your day. The Father is taking you by the heart, repairing and restoring his relationship with you as you find his grace in Jesus.
That’s an exclusive benefit of the Christian faith. There is no other world faith, no other world religion, that draws you to Jesus as your Savior. There is no other faith in which the heavenly Father has given you his wonder-working word. No other faith reaches deep down, and wins your heart, by opening up the heart of God, and exposing his grace and forgiveness in his only Son.
Only this one draws you to Jesus, because only this one leads you to trust him as the Bread of Life.