“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” John 6:53-57
WHOA! What’s the Lord Jesus Christ saying here? Unless folks “eat His Flesh” and “drink His Blood” they cannot have eternal life? That’s what He said…but what did He say…let’s have “ears to hear and eyes to see”!
In John chapter six, the Lord Jesus was having a conversation with a great multitude of people. They asked Him a question in vs28, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” They were asking the Lord Jesus about eternal life…how do I know this? By what Jesus said in vs27,29, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (vs29) “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
After they question Him on what He says, Jesus declares that HE IS the Bread of Life!
John 6:30-35, “They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? (vs31) Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. (vs32) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. (vs33) For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. (vs34) Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. (vs35) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
The Lord Jesus Christ is the True Bread from Heaven – He’s the Living Bread – He’s the Bread of Life…and He goes on further to explain just what that means and entails – vs51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
“…came down from Heaven” = Divine
“if any man eat of this bread, he shall live” = Life-Giving and All-sufficient
“for ever” = Eternal
“and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” = Whosoever Will
Now the Jews didn’t like what the Lord was saying – vs41, “The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.” So vs51 really threw them for a loop! “The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (vs52). Even some who were following Christ around and learning from Him were offended by what the Lord was saying – vs60-61, “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? (vs61) When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?”
WHAT WAS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SAYING?
When Jesus spoke of “eating His Flesh” and “drinking His Blood” was He calling for us to be “cannibals“?
I was born into a Catholic family and to Catholic church I went. This is what I was taught. For my “salvation” one thing I had to do was eat His flesh and drink His Blood. I was in a belief that got “hung-up” on John 6:51, 53-56.
–This is what we had from the Council of Trent (a Catholic Council): “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly His body that He was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change in the whole substance [being, essence] of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation [meaning, ‘to change into another substance’]. The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist . . .Since they remain for about 15 minutes in the human body after being swallowed, we should spend this time in prayer, thanksgiving, and adoration, and not quickly turn to worldly occupations.”
–Also, we read of the town, Lanciano, Italy, where there are pieces of “human heart flesh” on display. Catholics say that in the year 700, there was a priest in that town that doubted that their sacramental host – wafer – actually turned into the “real presence of the Lord”. So, they say that while this priest was doing the Mass, the bread and the wine actually turned into real flesh and real blood!
THIS IS WHAT I HEARD AND KNEW OF IN CATHOLICISM!
THIS IS WHAT THE INSTITUTION OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM SAYS, BUT IS THIS WHAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SAYS? Let’s search the Scriptures…
The ones in John chapter six didn’t “get it”, and neither do many today. God doesn’t call us to be cannibals! They were thinking carnally, and to think and to be carnal means to pertain to the flesh; sensual; opposed to the spiritual” – Again vs60-61, “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? (vs61) When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?”
HERE is what Jesus was saying, and let’s go about this contextually…
1) Vs26-29, “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. [the Lord is telling them they had the wrong motivation – they were coming to Him for the wrong reason!] (vs27) Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. [Christ is saying, “Stop letting the temporal be your boss!”] (vs28] Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? [They were asking for eternal life] (vs29) Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” [It is God’s work for you to believe – it’s not your work for you to believe]
THEY WERE FOCUSED ON THE CARNAL, BUT CHRIST WAS SPEAKING ON THE SPIRITUAL!
2) Vs35-36, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (vs36) But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.”
AGAIN, CHRIST WAS SPEAKING ON THE SPIRITUAL – “BELIEVETH” JESUS SAYS, BUT “BELIEVED NOT” THEY DID!
3) Vs40-42, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (vs41) The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. (vs42) 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?”
AGAIN, CHRIST WAS SPEAKING ON THE SPIRITUAL, BUT THEY WEREN’T THINKING ON THE SPIRITUAL!
We see that the whole context of John chapter six is Christ speaking on the Spiritual, and the multitude being carnally minded!
SO: why would the context change in verses 51, 53-56?
Why would Jesus all of the sudden change His context on what He was talking about with them in the whole chapter? These verses MUST ALSO BE in the same context – Christ speaking on the Spiritual!
Can’t believe that? Still having a hard time “digesting” it? Well, Jesus makes it “crystal clear” in vs63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” To Christ, it was “Carnal vs. Spiritual”!
ONE LAST THING – WHY did the Lord speak in this fashion to the multitude?
Couldn’t the Lord think of a “better way” to say what He wanted to say?
Friends, He knew EXACTLY what He was doing AND He said EXACTLY what He wanted to say!
How do I know this? Vs60,64-66, “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? (vs64) But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. (vs65) And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. (vs66) From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
Many professed to be His disciples, but the Light of the world illumined the Truth in their heart!
(1 Cor 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”)
Jesus gave them something that a lost person would stumble over and it showed them who they really were!
How did the Lord’s true followers respond? Vs67-69, “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? (vs68] Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. (vs69) And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” They may not have understood it all, but they “believed and were sure” that Jesus was Christ, the Son of the Living God!
So what is the Lord Jesus Christ saying here in John chapter six? Unless folks “eat His Flesh” and “drink His Blood” they cannot have eternal life? No…stop being carnally-minded and start thinking on the spiritual…
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
God the Son does not call us to cannibalism – to eat His Flesh and to drink His Blood – but to trust in the Words He has said about the Work He has done to be saved.