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What Christ meant by "Eat my flesh and drink my blood"

In John 6 Christ told the Jews that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to have everlasting life:

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 (John 6:53-56).

Like the Jews then you might be asking, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?"

These statements by Christ were so offensive to His hearers that the scripture says "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (vs 66).

We will look at this passage in details in our study of the Book of John, but there is something in this account that jumped out at me this morning that I'd like to share with you.

Like the Jews it's possible to get caught up with trying to explain logically what Christ was saying here and miss the point He intended to make. The Jews came searching for him to get temporal bread (they had already eaten of the loaves and fishes which Christ miraculously multiplied). Christ instead offered them eternal life:

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. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world (John 6:32,33).

Over and over Christ drew their attention to eternal blessings awaiting those who believe on Him:

And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day (vs 39).

and again in vs 40

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.

and still again in verse 44

 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

and just in case they were still on the fence, he repeated it yet again in verse 54

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day

But like many today they cared more about the temporal than the spiritual. 

When god's perish

Whatever gets the best of our time, occupies our imagination, and has our deepest affection is our God, be it wealth, beauty, pleasure, a person, pride, church... In the end they all perish, then what?

Each day we face the choice of giving priority to things that perish or that which endures to eternal life. Imagine holding a bundle of cash in one hand and the promise to be raised in the last day in the other.

The Jews were willing to make Christ king when they saw that He could provide for their physical needs, but they rejected him when He made it clear he was more interested in their eternal salvation.

"you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you" (John 6:26, 27)

Christ certainly expects us to work hard to meet the needs of our families, but unless we've got our priorities right we may end up with a lot of what the world has to offer, and miss out on what Christ wants, above anything else, to do for us: This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6: 40)

Nothing shows what we value as clearly as the way we spend our time. By making time to study the word, honoring God's Sabbath, investing time and resources in the Kingdom, we confirm our values

The verse I want to especially draw your attention to though is vs 57: 

As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me (vs John 6:57)

Christ lived by the Father who sent Him. In John 5:19 He Said "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise". Christ was always looking to the Father for sustenance as He lived a human life here on earth. Even though He was divine He never depended on His own strength to please God. He looked to see what the Father did/is doing, and sought to emulate Him. He sought always to see what was on the schedule in heaven, so that he could fulfill it here on earth, and He tells us to pray for the same:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.

God has a plan, a purpose, and the means. He provides physical bread daily (or at least we eat daily of that provision), and he provides a way for us to feed daily upon the spiritual bread, through the word and conferencing with heaven. Like Christ we should always seek to be in touch with heaven's blueprint, to know what God's plan is for our present situation.

"As the Father has sent me", says Christ, "so send I you" (John 20:21). Don't you think we need to be in regular contact with Him, especially enquiring "what's next?" "what's on heaven's agenda for today?" "What do you intend to do in this situation and how can I fulfill my role?".

Christ lived by the Father - totally dependent on Him for vision and direction, and so we too should seek daily to understand heaven's plan and nourish ourselves daily through partaking of Christ's words, so that both our bodies and our spirit will be ready to do God's instructions.

"It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life". Spend a moment each day to learn of Christ. By doing so you become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), and the spirit, not the flesh, dominates your life. 


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