Predestination in John’s Gospel
Posted: 17 February 2011 in John

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1.12-13)

“And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6.42-44)

“But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” (John 10.2-5)

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” (John 17.9)

That there is some definite group of people who will respond positively to Jesus, and it is only members of that group who will respond positively, seems to be a theme which runs throughout John’s Gospel. In the first of the passages quoted above, those who will receive Jesus are identified with those who have been born of the will of God. In the second passage it is only those who have been given him by the Father who will come to Jesus. In the third passage people do not become members of Jesus’ flock by following him; instead they follow him because they are already members of his flock and recognise his voice. In the last passage it is again only those who have been given him by the Father that Jesus prays for.

It is easy to understand why the last of those four passages, in particular, should disturb people. Nevertheless, when I hear people saying that predestination is not biblical, I cannot help but wonder whether they are reading the same Bible as me.

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