Unless The Father Who Sent Me Draw Him (John 6:44-45)


Would someone please comment on John 6:44-45?

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: ‘They shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.

What exactly did Jesus mean when he said this to those who were “murmuring” about him during the Bread of Life Discourse? Maybe it’s the word “unless” that is throwing me. We are *all *called, right? Was he just responding to their disbelief by letting them know that they could or would believe? Was he just letting them know that God would grace them with belief?



The very first words of the Catechism echo the words of Jesus.
*God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life. *

Everything starts with God’s initiative. We respond, and that response is important, but God is the initiator, extending the invitation to share in his life.



St. Thomas Aquinas writes in his Commentary on St. John that Christ says this in order to demonstrate that the defiance of the Jews towards His teaching stemmed from their unbelief. Christ then proceeds to speak about the way one is drawn as it happens by the Divine Providence. The Saint makes many further distinctions about this in the Commentary, like being called by interior inspiration, visible miracles and the joy of God Himself. Cf. Part 935

934 The reason for their grumbling was their unbelief, and he shows this when he says, No one can come to me … First, he shows that if one is to come to Christ, he has to be drawn by the Father. Secondly, he shows the way one is drawn (v 45). As to the first he does three things. First, he mentions that coming to Christ surpasses human ability; secondly, the divine help we receive for this; and thirdly, the end or fruit of this help.


Thanks for the responses.

I think the word “unless” threw me. Maybe I was reading it more as an “if”.

I like the way the Catechism states it:

…at every time and in every place, God draws close to man.


The Douay-Rheims Bible of 1609 has this in the footnotes

**44. Draw him. **The Father draws us and teaches us to come to his Son, and to believe these high and hard mysteries of his incarnation, and of his feeding us with his own substance in the Sacrament; not compelling or violently forcing any against their will, or without any respect of their consent, as heretics pretend; but by the sweet eternal motions and persuasions of his grace and Spirit he wholly makes us of our own will and liking to consent to the same.


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