Eating Jesus’ Flesh

Thursday, August 10                

Probably the most enigmatic statement Jesus made during his ministry is recorded in John 6:53.  “ . . . unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”    Jesus made it clear in v. 47  that eating the living bread was equivalent to believing in Christ.  There should have been no problem with this, but it raised havoc among Jesus’ disciples.  “On hearing it, many of his disciples said ‘This is a hard teaching.  Who can accept it?’. . . From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him (vv. 60, 66).  Jesus prefaced this statement by declaring that he was the bread of heaven, as pictured by the manna that fed the Israelites in the desert after leaving Egypt.  That movement from Egypt to the promised land was an analogy of eternal life.  The old life of bondage in Egypt is being replaced by a new life in the promised land.  Christ, the bread from heaven, would bring eternal life through his death on the cross, offered to all who would believe.  Jesus had consistently claimed to be the Son of God sent from heaven to be the  “reflection” of the Father.  By acknowledging that, the Jews would accept their Messiah—and listen to the message, which was a matter of eternal life or eternal death.  Even the twelve had a problem with Jesus’ statement.  Knowing this, Jesus asked them if they wanted to leave him, too (v. 67).  Peter’s answer is interesting.  ‘Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”  That’s a concise and firm statement of faith.  Peter was no doubt speaking for all twelve.  And I’m sure that Jesus knew what their reaction would be, but wanted it to be “on record.”

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