Monday, May 31, 2010


My understanding of what transpired below is based on reading the text for what it is saying on its own but also within the context of the whole of the Bible> I have listened to what others have had to say and in response to all of this you will see themes in relation to Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Moses.
I have tried to see/feel/read as if I was one of those people who could see and touch Jesus and therefore hear the inflection in His voice and see His facial expressions and body language. I have also tried to understand this discourse in a manner which reflects the radical event that is about to transpire. Even up until verse 67, Jesus (the greatest teacher in the WORLD) didn’t compromise what He was saying although it seems confusion was all around Him to the point where He asked if His disciples wanted to leave Him over what He has just said.

The TRUE and correct interpretation must somehow reflect why the disciples who had been following Jesus around responded with ‘this saying is too hard’ and they left Jesus for good over what He said.

Gospel of John – Chapter 6
51 - I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."
In this one line we can deduce the following:
*Jesus is the living bread * eating Jesus (this bread) and you will live forever * the bread is my flesh which is given for the life of the world.
Jesus gave his literal/real/true flesh on the Cross for the life of the world.
It was certainly NOT His figurative/symbolic flesh on the Cross.

It is no coincidence that this discourse has its background in Exodus.
Ex 16:12 "I have heard the murmurings of the people of Israel; say to them, `At twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'"
It is interesting that in John 6:51 we see a similarity to Exodus 16:12 whereby God/Jesus hear murmurings and they both talk of eating flesh and being filled with bread. Jesus, however, is personalizing this and in both instances ‘you shall know that I am the Lord your God’.

The last point I wish to make in regard to this verse is the “I am” statement.
Jesus is labeling himself here!
In other places he labeled himself as in such terms as “I am the door" and "I am the vine”.
One MUST make a distinction between and NOT confuse “a label” and “an action”.

52 - The Jews quarrelled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?"
We read in verse 41 that the Jews have already been agitated by murmuring at a STATEMENT made by Jesus.
V41: The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven
In verse 52 however here we see the Jews took Jesus literally by quarrelling.

The Jews (disputed, quarrelled amongst themselves) respond to an INSTRUCTION in Verse 52.

A precedent has been set.
The Jews considered the ‘eating flesh’ line far more inflammatory and shocking by dispute/quarrel/fight among themselves than the ‘I came down from heaven’ line by which they murmured.

If someone makes a statement, you can take it or leave it to some extent.
If someone instructs or commands you to do something then YOU have to act.
YOU have to actually do what is asked of you. This requires effort.
Listening to a statement does not.

Ask yourself – what would shock you more:
* a statement someone says about themselves
* a command that affects you personally and has grave consequences if you don’t act on this instruction.

53 Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
When Jesus says Amen Amen it must be something important He is stressing here to those listeners – something like: I am making a point here.
Jesus didn’t say Amen Amen with every lesson.

54 - Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
In John 6:44 : “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”
We can equate:
“come to Jesus and you will be raised up on the last day”
“eat my flesh and drink my blood and I will raise you up on the last day”
Therefore to eat my flesh and drink my blood is to come to Jesus.

55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. (RSV)
Other translations:
For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink (NIV)
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.(KJV)
For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed (NKJV)
For My flesh is true and genuine food, and My blood is true and genuine drink (AMP)
For my flesh truly is food, and my blood truly is drink( YLT)

It puzzles me as to how else can you say “literal” food?
Everyone should put aside any prejudice and answer this:
What does Jesus have to say in order for you to believe he is talking about REAL FOOD?

Of course, we would all agree that Jesus is the True Passover Lamb.
Everyone who escaped from Egypt in the Exodus HAD to eat the original Passover lamb.

56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
How close do you want to get to Jesus?
Abide in Him by eating His flesh

57 Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
You will get eternal life from this eating

It is interesting that in Leviticus 17:14 we see the exact opposite:
"For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off,"
The only difference here however, Jesus is not saying you can now eat any flesh and drink blood, but eat and drink HIS alone.
Jesus knows “the blood is identified with its life’.
Taken together V56 and 57, eat Jesus flesh and

It is also no accident that with Jesus we see the exact opposite on a number of Old Testament commands.
In the Old Testament if I were to touch a leper, a corpse or a menstruating woman I was unclean.
In the New Testament Jesus comes along and a leper touches him. He is not defiled and the leper was cleansed.
Jesus touches a corpse, He is not defiled and the corpse is raised to life.
Jesus is touched by a menstruating woman, He isn’t defiled and her blood flow stops.
The New Covenant has come with Christ.

58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."
– Like V 51 – Jesus is this bread/flesh
Jesus in verse 51 called His flesh a LIVING bread, unlike the manna.
A number of protestant Christians (not unlike the situation 2000 years ago) have trouble with this whole discourse and highlight the “living forever” line by saying something like :
Notice that he said if you eat the bread you will not die like your ancestors. But when you eat the Eucharist you do die just like they did, right?
It is no accident that in Genesis, God told Adam not to EAT the Apple because if he does he will die (spiritually).
What does the serpent say? “You will not die (physically)”.
What does Jesus say “You will live forever (spiritually)”.
What do some protestants say? “You will die (physically)!”

59 These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

60 Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?"
Response shows us that many of the disciples took Jesus literally.
We need to understand the ‘eat flesh’ sayings of Jesus within the biblical context and we have only two biblical options to choose from. The precedent has been set. Scripture itself gives you the context on how it is to be understood – after all Jesus could only have been quoting either “context” 1 or 2. Which ever one it was, it will give us eternal life.
You would agree that we MUST stay within the Biblical context.
You decide which context.
No wonder the disciples found this saying hard!
Here are some ‘eating flesh’ verses in scripture in the literal sense:
Leviticus 26:29
You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.
Jeremiah 19:9
I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh during the stress of the siege imposed on them by the enemies who seek their lives.’

Here are some ‘eating flesh’ verses in the metaphorical/figurative sense:
Psalm 27:2,
KJV - “When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes…”
RSV - When evildoers assail me, uttering slanders against me, my adversaries and foes, they shall stumble and fall.
Isaiah 9:20
[18] For wickedness burns like a fire, it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke. [19] Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts the land is burned, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no man spares his brother. [20] They snatch on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours his neighbour’s flesh,

61 Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you?
We also have another hint here about what is going on because Jesus had just mentioned the manna.
In Exodus 15:24 and 16:2 we see the people murmuring against Moses
(Jesus is the New Moses –read That Moses Thing if you are unsure).
They murmur saying “What shall we drink?” and “We ate bread to the full in Egypt and you have brought us our here into the wilderness to die of hunger”
Murmuring about real eating (John 6:61) or the lack of food to eat (Exodus 16:2)

Not only is it hard to accept by many disciples but Jesus knows what He is asking is shocking has SHOCKED them.
Can a figure of speech shock you?
Some modern day Christians who shy away from being shocked themselves try to say this verse is similar to the figure of speech Jesus used when He said ‘I am a vine’. I’m not shocked with this sort of terminology and NEITHER were the Christians on the Bible.

62 What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
Jesus is referring to another supernatural event.
Some people try to focus on this ‘shocking’ response by Jesus. But no Christian (catholic or otherwise) is shocked by this verse.
In much the same way, the first Christians weren’t either.
You don’t see them reacting ‘shocked’ in the slightest in Luke 10:18, John 1:51 or in
John 3:13 - “And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man."

63 It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
There are many parallels we can look at, such as Matt 16:17, John 8:15-16 and 1 Cor 2:12-14 with the word flesh (man) and spirit (God) and flesh (man) and Father (God). Paul expressed it just as clearly in Romans 8:4-6
..who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Please note the use of words – Jesus throughout says MY FLESH, but in this verse He refers to THE flesh.

Think of this analogy:
To a pagan (assuming you have been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) you are a plain human being.
But a baptized Christian is a new creation in Christ – it is the Spirit that gives LIFE!

64 But there are some of you who do not believe."
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
Not only is it hard to accept by many disciples, not only has Jesus SHOCKED them, but now He states plainly that some just can’t believe what He is saying to them.

65 And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father."
refer to verse 63 – don’t try to understand this without relying on the Holy Spirit. It is hopeless to rely on the flesh (man’s intellect alone)

66 As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
I can’t believe disciples left Jesus for good over this one teaching, which some say is just the same as when Jesus said He was a vine or a door.
Your interpretation of this whole event MUST reflect the radical dialogue between Jesus and the disciples and Jews.
This day is like no other in what Jesus was saying!

67 Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
What a question to ask. It reveals to me that everyone there on that day had trouble with this teaching.

68 Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

69 We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."
Not a convincing response really is it when everyone else was walking away. Even the Apostles had trouble but weren’t prepared to leave like the rest.

70 Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?"

71 He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve.

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