How do Protestants (non-Catholic Christians) interpret John 6: 51-56?

I don't necessarily want a debate. I just honestly don't understand how anyone can read that and not believe that the Holy Eucharist (Communion) is really the true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. I've never heard that verse explained by other Christians.

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."

52 The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?"

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.

54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.

55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

Update:

LET ME ADD: I do realize that some Christian denominations have "communion". For many of them it is only symbolic. Some do believe that their "communion" is truly the Body of Christ. But I believe that ONLY the Catholic Church, through apostolic succession, has the true Eucharist, the true Body and Blood of Christ.

For those to whom it is only symbolic, do you think it was only symbolic when Jesus said it?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    It is no mere symbol. The one SELF-Sacrifice of JESUS made once for all time, transcends all time and space limits, giving, in the Old Covenant, beforehand, veracity to the Merits of the animal sacrifices, before JESUS' Passion, and exibiting the true Union of JESUS' SELF with the Bread and Wine HE gave the Disciples to eat and drink on the night of HIS Arrest, reaching back in time to when the Passion had not yet occurred, the TREE OF LIFE making the Bread HIS True Flesh, and the Wine HIS True Blood, even as a tree casts forth fruit to be consumed whilst the tree itself stands whole, and as a mother's body, while keeping its form in tact, yet provides food for the infant in the womb out of the woman's own substance, in a form that doesn't look like her body - which is far from cannibalistic looking, right?! As the True Flesh and True Blood was ingested before the Passion, so also time can be transcended after the Passion to, it being a matter of the Mass bringing us, by Prayer to GOD, to that very place in time and space.

    While the Sacrifice was made once, for all time, it only avails fully for those that partake in the Sacrament by which it is appropriated, in accordance with full obedience to HIM WHO was sacrificed. As often as one offends GOD afresh, he must propitiate GOD afresh by that same Sacrifice.

    Why did the multitude take offence and JESUS not tell HIS diciples privately that HE meant nothing physical by it. "Spiritual" does not mean "symbolic", and when HE says that only the spiritual accepty words that are Spirit, HE never says that it's a spiritual description, but that what HE spoke of - HIS real Flesh and Blood as a Sacramental Meal - is of the SPIRIT and only for the spiritual.

    What makes the flesh and blood of man to be nothing less than that? Simply that it includes possession of particular materials, or that a living soul is attached to it, sharing one united, composite life with it? It would have been gross if the Meal didn't involve, on the Material level, something already acceptable for consumption - but because the SPIRIT of CHRIST is attached to the Eucharized Bread and Wine, it is truly Flesh and Blood, an extension of the TREE OF LIFE HIMSELF, as the fruit is of a tree.

    We become Kindred to the SECOND ADAM in consuming the Eucharist, and are now flesh and blood of JESUS - the Bride taken out of HIS own broken body. And in the Faith, in this Bride of CHRIST, as in a mother's womb, we being nurtured with the LORD's own Human Nature, Body and Soul, are formed to completion, sons of a redeemed Humanity.

  • 1 decade ago

    Hi there. Until the Hebrew children began complaining they wanted flesh and God sent the quail, ( in such droves they had a hard time consuming fast enough :) ), they had been fed with The Bread of Life. So, even back then the learned ones of God's children were familiar with His flesh in that sense. Jesus, being with God from the beginning, is The Word and The Word is The Bread of life for those who will observe and study. The bread was that which they called angel food. The wine represents the wrath yet to come. When The Lord was praying in the garden asking about the possibility of the cup being taken from Him He wasn't crying the blues like so many pastors teach. He wasn't trying to whimper out of His own persecution. He knew that once He defeated death, some of His own children would have to die a spiritual death one day. God does not will for any of His children to perish but some will still chose to follow the wrong one and they will perish. He told the woman at the well that if she would drink from His cup she would never thirst. Drink in from His cup instead of having it poured out onto you and you will have everlasting life. If you eat the bread He gives, which is The Living Word you will know how to live a decent life here in the flesh and be clothed in white garments when you step out of this body and into the new. Your reputation is all you can take with you. To answer your question, it IS symbolic. Flesh and blood cannot enter into The Kingdom and since that's where He is, well... My final thought is to direct you to the parable of the sower to explain the blood that remains in those who study The Word and learn who God really is. There are two sowers. The Almighty who seeded His vinyard. Then came along the tares. Who does it say scattered the tares among the good seed ? In the verse 54 which you shared with us He says that whoever studies Him will be raised up in the last day and a day with The Lord is as a thousand years with man. I cannot document this part but I believe it is the mellenium or The Lord's Day. :)

  • 1 decade ago

    Jesus celebrated with Passover with his disciples just before his death. Even today Jewish people practice this feast without an understanding of how it represented Christ. The bread made without leaven (sin) was pierced and striped as a representation of Christ's beating and suffering. The Jews at Passover actually break the 2nd of 3 pieces of bread, symbolizing how Christ was broken for us. It is put away and then brought back out (death and resurrection). Several drops of wine are poured out during the feast which represents His blood that was shed for us. The original Passover included the actual blood of a perfect lamb which was put on the doors. It represented how His blood would cover our sins and save us. Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of this feast. Because this was symbolic many Christians still believe it to be taken in that manner.

  • Stanbo
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    They view it as symbolic, but in the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus, to symbolically "eat the flesh" or "drink the blood" of someone meant ot persecute and assault him. See Ps 27:2; Isaiah 9:18-20; Isaiah 49:26; Micah 3:3; 2 Sam 23:15-17; and Rev 17:6,16. If Jesus were only speaking symbolically about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, as the Protesstants say, then what He really meant was "whoever persecutes and assaults Me will have eternal life."

    God bless,

    Stanbo

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  • Judith
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    What He said before has nothing to do the Supper. The multitudes were all material minded and very few understood His message perhaps. The Law of Moses states that a Jew cannot eat blood nor eat human flesh and Jesus knew the law nor will He break the law He established hundreds of years before He was born. But He said it in the spiritual sense to show them that they need spiritual food because "man cannot live by bread alone." He was telling them He is God in the flesh and they must depend on Him on more important things other than food. They said He was crazy and so they left Him.Today the majority of the people would like to receive things from God like for example being healed. And when that miracle occurs they forget God and go away not knowing that they need healing in their spirits. Now about the Communion...it is symbolical of His Body and the wine is also symbolical of His Blood. Before christianity came to being, in Egypt there were pagan religious ceremonies to the Sun God, Horus. The priest gave out round wafers to the people so that the spirit of Horus lives inside their bodies the moment they consume the wafer thus they believed Horus living in them. When christianity came into being and were persecuted by the Romans for three hundred years and then she became legalized by Constantine(who believed in the sun god), the church began to weaken spiritually and became paganized. Therefore the pagan practice of Horus assimilated with the half and half christianity(which means religious and worldly at the same time)church and it remains to this day.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I am not a Catholic but one day I was praying and I went into a kind of reverie.

    I saw two kinds of Eucharist before me; one was the real body and blood of Christ and the other was a symbol of it. Jesus spoke and said, "Which would YOU rather have?"

  • 1 decade ago

    This should be interesting since as a Catholic I do believe in the Bible literally INCLUDING this passage.

    Heavens, That was very random(what the lady above me said). does she have no roots in Christianity?

    to those below me here. I believe that typically High church Anglican and Episcopalian, Lutherans, and Orthodox are considered by most Christians to all come under the heading of Orthodox believers instead of Protestant, really. At least they do in my mind, especially where Eucharist is concerned.

  • 1 decade ago

    Hmm I'm not exactly sure if it falls under "Protestantism" because the branches can be kidna picky at what theyre labled but I'm A "Full Gospel" Christian and every Full gospel church I've attended has a Communion service.

    So I'm guessing we interpret it pretty much the same as you. For others however? I'm not sure.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Its in reference to the Communion. Since we are not cannibals we don't literally eat flesh and drink blood, we use unleavened bread and wine or (grape juice) to symbolize the body of Christ. He tells us to do this in remembrance of him. This Christ gave as a parable for us to follow.

    Catholics believe the Eucharist is really the body of Christ, which is a false doctrine. If it were you would be a cannibal.

    Love and Peace to you.

    Source(s): ch
  • 1 decade ago

    At the last supper, Christ took bread and broke it and gave it to his deciples saying...this is my body that is given for you. He then took the cup of wine and holding it up said...this is my blood that is shed for you....do this in remembrence of me.

    The eucharist is symbolic as was the bread that Jesus broke. It represents the body and blood of Christ and it is with that in mind that we partake of it....thus eating his flesh and drinking his blood.

    Source(s): Former Lutheran
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