Is God only calling some people now?

In John 6:44 Jesus said that “No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,” or in verse 65, “unless the Father has enabled him.” But most people don’t seem to show any interest in Christ, so does that mean the Father is only enabling some people to come to Christ, and he’s not interested in the rest? If that’s true, though, why do we bother trying to reach the world with the gospel – as Jesus instructed us to in Acts 1:8 – if most people aren’t going to be the slightest bit interested?

But who’s Jesus talking to in these verses? He’s talking to his fellow Jews who were having trouble believing who he was. What they saw was “Jesus, the son of Joseph,” verse 42, a typical, ordinary human being like themselves, yet here he was claiming “I came down from heaven” (same verse). But they’d also seen Jesus do “miraculous signs,” verse 26, so surely they could see that “God the Father had placed his seal of approval on him,” verse 27.

But no, they couldn’t, which brought this retort from Jesus in verse 36, “you have seen me and still you do not believe.” But not to worry, Jesus says in verse 44, “No one can come to me (or believe in me and what the Father sent me for) unless the Father enables him to.” In other words, “God will help you believe, because without his help no one can.” And how many of those Jews was God willing to help? Jesus answers that with a verse from the Old Testament: “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will ALL be taught by God,'” verse 45.

Ah, so God wanted to help them ALL believe, not just a select few. And he expressed that wish very clearly in Jesus preaching openly and publicly to thousands of people and telling them in verse 45 that “EVERYONE who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” This is all wonderful, positive stuff. First of all, the Father is willing to help and teach everyone, and secondly, ANYONE who’s willing to let him help and teach them, by being willing to listen and learn, will find their understanding and belief in Jesus take root and flourish.

God is all for helping every one of us to learn, by pouring out the Spirit on all flesh (Acts 2:17), and by giving us a conscience that responds to truth as well (2 Corinthians 4:2). The incentive for preaching the gospel, therefore, is that God is willing to teach ANYONE who’s willing to listen and learn, not just a few.

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