Today’s Scripture – January 4, 2016

John 6:43-46 (HCSB):  Jesus answered them, “Stop complaining among yourselves.  No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.  It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me—not that anyone has seen the Father except the One who is from God. He has seen the Father.”

These people were pursuing Jesus, not because the Father had drawn them to be Jesus’ disciples, but in order to get from Him what they wanted.  The result was not a band of faithful disciples, but a mob trying to bend Jesus’ agenda to their own will.

This is a whole different paradigm from those who willingly left everything to follow Jesus (cf. Matthew 19:27), and who willingly submitted their agendas to His.  Those would become the core of the kingdom that Jesus was even then setting up on earth.

For the moment, God was drawing certain people to Jesus to be that core.  Into those people He put a genuine seeking heart that would submit themselves to Jesus; a heart that would be satisfied with nothing less than seeking and finding the true Messiah with all of themselves.

A day was coming, looming now on the horizon, when Jesus would be lifted up on the cross to pay for the sins of all humanity.  Starting then, Jesus would draw ALL people to Himself (cf. John 12:32), allowing all people to become His disciples, all who were willing to leave everything behind, to take up their own crosses and follow Him (Luke 9:23).  At that time, the prophecy from Isaiah 54:13 would finally be fulfilled:  And they will all be taught by God.

In the meantime, Jesus refused to allow this crowd to coopt His agenda, to squeeze Him into their mold, to push Him to become the Messiah that they wanted instead of the Messiah that the Father had sent Him to be.  This crowd had never seen the Father or known Him, but Jesus knew the Father face-to-face, and had for all eternity.  Jesus would set the agenda in exact accordance with the Father’s will.  And, for now, those that God was already drawing would follow.  The rest would reject Him, rebel against His teachings, and ultimately seek to destroy Him.

Father, it is amazing to me that You opened the gates of heaven to a reprobate such as I was when You drew me to Yourself.  You could easily have left me to my own devices, and I would have simply lived out a life of sin and spiritual waste until I died, not even a small blip in this world full of people.  But, by virtue of Jesus being lifted up, by virtue of His opening the gates to whoever would believe, and by virtue of His drawing all people to Himself, I was enabled to believe, to come in, to be saved, and to be transformed.  I praise You for this unfathomable mystery.  Amen.

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