What does it mean that God the Father gave people to the Son?

by Matt Slick

Jesus said in John 6:37, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out."  So, who are the ones who were given to the Son by the Father?  In order to answer this question we need to look at the context of the verse as well as other verses that say similar things. Please consider the following.

  • John 6:35, "Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst."
  • John 6:36, "But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe."
  • John 6:37, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out."
  • John 6:38, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."
  • John 6:39, "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day."
  • John 6:40, "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."

We can see that Jesus came down from heaven to do the will of the Father and that of all that he's been given by the Father he would lose none (v. 39).  After all, verse 40 says that those who believe will be resurrected (v. 40) and they are also the ones given by God the Father to God the Son (v. 39) of whom Jesus said he would lose none. 

Jesus says similar things in other verses.

  • John 10:29, "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand."
  • John 17:2, "since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him."
  • John 17:6, "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word."
  • John 17:9, "I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours."
  • John 17:11, "And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
  • John 17:12, " While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the Son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled."
  • John 17:24, "Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."

To summarize, the ones given to Jesus by the Father...

  1. ...will come to Jesus (John 6:37)
  2. ...will not be cast out (John 6:37)
  3. ...will not be lost (John 6:39)
  4. ...are given eternal life (John 17:2)
  5. ...are the only ones Jesus prays for (John 17:9) 

Conclusion

It seems that the ones who are given to the Son by the Father are the ones that God the Father has chosen for salvation (2 Thess. 2:13) and it is those whom Jesus came to redeem. Furthermore, since Jesus cannot fail to do the will of the Father, those who are given to the Son by the Father cannot be lost.  Otherwise, Jesus will have failed to do the will of the Father.

 
 
About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.