“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (John 6:53 & 55)
For many of us, John 6 is well known for the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee and His familiar declaration, “I am the bread of life.” Today’s Scripture reading, however, brings into focus a passage we perhaps skip over or completely avoid because, well, it’s hard to swallow.
The claims Jesus makes in the previous verses (see v. 35-59) are startling, even offensive to His followers, to the extent that some of them turn away in shocked rejection while others draw near with awe and renewed faith.
Feast on me, Jesus invites His followers. To eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood is to be united with Jesus Christ, as intimately as the food and drink we consume and digest. He is our real food, our real drink, our lasting nourishment. To convey how life-giving and necessary this union is, Jesus compares it to His own relationship with His Father: I live because of the Father.
Likewise, eternal and abundant life for us can only be found in Jesus. It is a union made possible through the Holy Spirit and granted by the Father. How will we respond? Will we turn away and reject Jesus and His words? We may be quick to say, “That’s an interesting perspective, Jesus, but I know where to find food and drink elsewhere.”
How prone we are to consider Jesus as our Sunday meal, pursuing our weekday satisfaction in other places, in other people, in ourselves.
Jesus turns to face His small group of followers and asks, Do you want to go away as well?
We can trust that Jesus will never water down or retract what He says. His words cut to the heart of the matter, and they are true. With confidence and childlike trust, Peter responds, To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
In Jesus, he has found his master, his friend, his Lord and Savior…his life. May Jesus receive our “yes” as well, for truly, He is the living bread that came down from heaven.
- When is it hardest for you to follow Jesus? What helps you continue?
by Christina Crawford