on John 6 :44
Except the Father - draw him - But how is a man drawn? St. Augustin answers from the poet, Trahit sua quemque voluptas; a man is attracted by that which he delights in. Show green herbage to a sheep, he is drawn by it: show nuts to a child, and he is drawn by them. They run wherever the person runs who shows these things: they run after him, but they are not forced to follow; they run, through the desire they feel to get the things they delight in. So God draws man: he shows him his wants - he shows the Savior whom he has provided for him: the man feels himself a lost sinner; and, through the desire which he finds to escape hell, and get to heaven, he comes unto Christ, that he may be justified by his blood. Unless God thus draw, no man will ever come to Christ; because none could, without this drawing, ever feel the need of a Savior. See August. Tract. 26, in Joan. and Calmet.
Drawing, or alluring, not dragging is here to be understood. "He," say the rabbins, "who desires to cleave to the holy and blessed God, God lays hold of him, and will not cast him off." Synops. Sohar. p. 87. The best Greek writers use the verb in the same sense of alluring, inciting, etc.
on John 6 :44
No man can come to me - This was spoken by Jesus to reprove their complaints - "Murmur not among yourselves." They objected to his doctrine, or complained against it, because he claimed to be greater than Moses, and because they supposed him to be a mere man, and that what he said was impossible. Jesus does not deny that these things appeared difficult, and hence he said that if any man believed, it was proof that God had inclined him. It was not to be expected that of themselves they would embrace the doctrine. If any man believed, it would be because he had been influenced by God. When we inquire what the reasons were why they did not believe, they appear to have been:
1. Their improper regard for Moses, as if no one could be superior to him.
2. Their unwillingness to believe that Jesus, whom they knew to be the reputed son of a carpenter, should be superior to Moses.
3. The difficulty was explained by Jesus John 5:40 as consisting in the opposition of their will; and John 5:44 when he said that their love of honor prevented their believing on him. The difficulty in the case was not, therefore, a want of natural faculties, or of power to do their duty, but erroneous opinions, pride, obstinacy, self-conceit, and a deep-felt contempt for Jesus. The word cannot is often used to denote a strong and violent opposition of the will. Thus we say a man is so great a liar that he cannot speak the truth, or he is so profane that he cannot but swear. We mean by it that he is so wicked that while he has that disposition the other effects will follow, but we do not mean to say that he could not break off from the habit. Thus it is said Genesis 37:4 of the brethren of Joseph that they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him. Thus Matthew 12:34, "How can ye, being evil, speak good things?" See Luke 14:33; 1 Samuel 16:2.
Come to me - The same as believe on me.
Draw him - This word is used here, evidently, to denote such an influence from God as to secure the result, or as to incline the mind to believe; yet the manner in which this is done is not determined by the use of the word. It is used in the New Testament six times. Once it is applied to a compulsory drawing of Paul and Silas to the market-place, Acts 16:19. Twice it is used to denote the drawing of a net, John 21:6, John 21:11. Once to the drawing of a sword John 18:10; and once in a sense similar to its use here John 12:32; "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." What is its meaning here must be determined by the facts about the sinner's conversion. See the notes at John 6:40. In the conversion of the sinner God enlightens the mind John 6:45, he inclines the will Psalm 110:3, and he influences the soul by motives, by just views of his law, by his love, his commands, and his threatenings; by a desire of happiness, and a consciousness of danger; by the Holy Spirit applying truth to the mind, and urging him to yield himself to the Saviour. So that, while God inclines him, and will have all the glory, man yields without compulsion; the obstacles are removed, and he becomes a willing servant of God.
on John 6 :44
6:44 Christ having checked their murmuring, continues what he was saying, John 6:40. No man comes to me, unless my Father draw him - No man can believe in Christ, unless God give him power: he draws us first, by good desires. Not by compulsion, not by laying the will under any necessity; but by the strong and sweet, yet still resistible, motions of his heavenly grace.