When I started looking at and researching cross-references for John 6:37, I didn’t understand what a hotbed of debate I had stumbled upon. I decided to look for some additional commentaries and teaching resources for the verse, and I was surprised to think of some of the ideas that people had about this simple verse.
The first phrase that seems to be completely disagreed on and debated is the phrase “all that the Father giveth to me shall come to me.” The main issue with this phrase seems to be the idea that “the Father giveth.” Many people make the case that all that the Father gives to the Son are the people who God foreknew would believe in Christ of their own free will, resulting in this being a verse that teaches predestination.
For those who aren’t familiar with predestination, it is the idea that God, before the foundation of the world, selected certain people to be saved and other people to be lost independent of those people’s personal reception of the truth. There are many sincere believers in this position, and although I am not one of them, there are many good ideas that they bring up.
John 6:37 isn’t the place to go though if you’re looking for support for the idea of predestination. This verse reads:
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
I’m someone who believes that every word of the Bible is important, and I’m reading the verb “the Father giveth” as present tense here. If you find the King James confusing (some people do), then lets look at the verse in the ESV:
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
As you can see, the verb “gives” implies that the Father is giving people to Jesus. It’s present tense. A current and ongoing grace, and not something that is already settled long before I am born.
I think I’m not going out on a limb here when I say that God draws us to Jesus. He presents us with opportunities in our life where we can choose to trust in God, where he can reveal Jesus to us. I think these opportunities are open to everyone, but everyone does not come. God desires to give all to Jesus and He gives everyone who will come to Him.
For example, in Acts 16, we’re told of the conversion of Lydia, a woman who already worshipped God, and when Paul came and told her about Jesus, God opened her heart to believing in Jesus.
Jesus is a gift to us. A gift of a payment of a debt that we owed and could never repay. In return, the Father “gives” Jesus a gift. That gift is that of the followers who believe in Him, trust in Him and and find their hope in Him.
Because I’ve come to trust in Christ, I am a gift from the Father to the son. He has given me to Jesus. And not just me. He’s willing to give anyone that will come to Jesus as a gift to become part of the bride of Christ. That makes me feel secure. How about you?