Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Christians (not Catholics), what is your interpretation of the verses in John 6 that say...?

4Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

I know what the Catholics think obviously, but I wonder what is the interpretations of non-Catholic christians?

21 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    In Jewish thought, bread was equated with the Torah, and "eating of it" was reading and understanding the covenant of God (cf. Deuteronomy 8:3). For example, the apocryphal book of Sirach states "'He who eats of me will hunger still, he who drinks of me will thirst for more; he who obeys me will not be put to shame, he who serves me will never fail.' All this is true of the book of Most High's covenant, the law which Moses commanded us as an inheritance for the community of Jacob" (Sirach 24:20-22). Quoting from Sirach here is not endorsing it as Scripture; it only serves to illustrate how the Jewish people thought of Mosaic Law. It is important to understand the equating of bread with the Torah to appreciate Jesus' real point.

    In John 6, Jesus is actually telling the crowd that He is superior to the Torah (cf. John 6:49-51), and the entire Mosaic system of Law. In the passage from Sirach, it states that those who eat of the Law will "hunger still" and "thirst for more," the language of which is mirrored by Jesus when He says "He who comes to Me will never be hungry, he who believes in Me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35). Jesus is not commanding people to literally eat His flesh and drink His blood, He is telling them the core of all Christian doctrine: belief in Jesus Himself ("The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent," John 6:29, emphasis added).

    It is very clear that Jesus referred to Himself as the Bread of Life and encouraged his followers to eat of His flesh in John 6. But we do not need to conclude that Jesus was teaching what the Catholics have referred to as transubstantiation. The Lord’s Supper / Christian communion / Holy Eucharist had not been instituted yet. Jesus did not institute the Holy Eucharist / Mass / Lord's Supper until John chapter 13. Therefore, to read the Lord’s Supper into John 6 is unwarranted. As suggested above, it is best to understand this passage in light of coming to Jesus, in faith, for salvation. When we receive Him as Savior, placing our full trust in Him, we are “consuming His flesh” and “drinking His blood.” His body was broken (at His death) and His blood was shed to provide for our salvation. 1 Corinthians 11:26, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.”

  • 4 years ago

    The goofy thing about the Protestant symbolic interpretation of John 6 is 1) the interpretation is a relatively recent phenomenon that didn't exist in Jesus's day, and 2) anyone who researches the writings of the early Christians can clearly see they believed in a literal, real Jesus in the Eucharist. There are even accounts of ancient pagan Romans commenting on the strange Christian belief that they eat their Lord during their worship. So, the Protestant interpretation doesn't line up with history. God bless.

  • 1 decade ago

    I believe that Jesus was speaking metaphorically, which he often did. If we look at this Last Supper as the passover meal, which it was, he was explaining the symbolism of each part of the seder. The seder is all symbolic of God's freeing of the Hebrew slaves from bondage in Egypt. Now Jesus was drawing the parallel between those symbolic meaning and himself. The unleavened bread is the body of Christ without sin, broken for all people, and the wine which was the blood of suffering was Christ's blood, shed for all. If people say the bread and wine somehow become the actual body and blood of Christ, it doesn't hold up scientifically or theologically. Why would they become those things when they weren't actually what they were said to be in the Passover meal? I realize that this is something very important to my Catholic brothers and sisters, but there seems to be a deep desire to find something that isn't meant there. The religion of Jesus and the disciples was deeply metaphorical and it was understood when he was speaking of things in these terms. What might seem like a direct statement with no other interpretation to us would never be taken literally by them. <*)))><

    To Cathy, the verse about those who left before the meal wasn't referring to not having the "life" of the bread and wine, but the "life" of the spirit, or belief and faith.

  • Ontou
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Here's what my Bible commentary says:

    Jesus' point was an analogy that has spiritual, rather then literal, significance: just as eating and drinking are necessary for physical life, so also is belief in His sacrificial death on the cross necessary for eternal life. The eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood metaphorically symbolize the need for accepting Jesus' cross work.

    Source(s): John MacArthur Study Bible
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  • 1 decade ago

    Forgive a Catholic for butting in here, but perhaps a better wording for your question would be "Christians (other than Catholics, that is.)"

    As it stands, your question seems to imply that we're not Christians. That probably wasn't your intent, but there are a lot of justifiably sensitive Catholic Christians on this Forum.

    And now I think I'll sit back and just watch all the attempts to water down the very literal intent behind those verses. Thanks for asking this question. . .if a Catholic tried it, the question would be deleted by report monkeys faster than you can say "Transubstantiation."

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There is much more to ask them on this. . . how about asking how they felt when he let those who did not believe it leave and they did not have life within them. It wven says in this discourse

    "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.

    How about the fact that real word was not eat which they might pass off as spirtually speaking) but actually gnaw (chew) on my flesh.

    PS- You should inform some of them that this is not from the Last Supper but the Discourse on the Bread of Life in Capernaum. Interesting to see so many confuse it with the Last Supper since Catholics are the ones they claim do not know the Bible. Or why they continually take Paul's words over Christs words himself. But I am not answering how I interpret it since I am Catholic.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Constant exercise of faith in Christ, is the most important and difficult part of the obedience required from us, as sinners seeking salvation. When by his grace we are enabled to live a life of faith in the Son of God, holy tempers follow, and acceptable services may be done. God, even his Father, who gave their fathers that food from heaven to support their natural lives, now gave them the true Bread for the salvation of their souls. Coming to Jesus, and believing on him, signify

    the same. Christ shows that he is the true Bread; he is to the soul what bread is to the body, nourishes and supports the spiritual life. He is the Bread of God. Bread which the Father gives, which he has made to be the food of our souls. Bread nourishes only by the powers of a living body; but Christ is himself living Bread, and nourishes by his own power. The doctrine of Christ crucified is now as strengthening and comforting to a believer as ever it was. He is the Bread which came down from heaven. It denotes the Divinity of Christ's person and his authority; also, the Divine origin of all the good which flows to us through him. May we with understanding and earnestness say, Lord, evermore give us this Bread. (Jn 6:36-46)

    God bless you.

    Source(s): Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible
  • MBC H
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    This revelation by Jesus is marked out as important by the fourth use of the phrase, I tell you the truth. Sacramental interpretations appeal to the words eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood as evidence that Jesus was speaking of the eucharist. As stated earlier, the basic objection to this approach is historical: Jesus did not institute the Communion service until a year later. Drinking “His blood” is another bold figure of speech. The Jews knew the command, “You must not eat . . . any blood” And yet blood was the means of atonement. It is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Jesus’ hearers must have been shocked and puzzled by His enigmatic words. But the puzzle is unlocked by understanding that Jesus was speaking of His making atonement by His death and giving life to those who personally appropriate Him. Faith in Christ’s death brings eternal life and (later) bodily resurrection.

    6:55. Just as good food and drink sustain physical life, so Jesus, the real (reliable) spiritual food and drink, sustains His followers spiritually. His flesh and blood give eternal life to those who receive Him.

    6:56-57. One who partakes of Christ enjoys a mutual abiding relationship with Christ. He remains (menei) in Christ, and Christ remains in him. Menō is one of the most important theological terms in John’s Gospel. The Father “remains” in the Son, the Spirit “remains” on Jesus, and believers “remain” in Jesus and He in them. The implications of this “remaining” are many. A believer enjoys intimacy with and security in Jesus. Just as He has His life from the Father, so believers have life because of Jesus.

  • 1 decade ago

    This is referring to the remembrance of God's broken body and spilled blood on the cross. Not literal, figurative. If we believe in the sacrifice, he will raise us up to be w/Him on the last day.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The last supper where they were breaking bread and drink wine was to represent the body and blood of Jesus. It was a very important supper for all of them. It was the last time they were all to eat and sit together before Jesus was crucified. They were not actually eating or drinking Jesus body or blood. Even after Jesus crucifixion, Jesus was always with His disciples when He arose from the dead.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is symbolism.

    We are to remember the body Jesus gave for us on the cross as we take the bread. We are to be concentrating on His sacrifice. Then as we take the wine, we are to remember the spear hurled into His side and the blood poured out for us. His literal body and blood is not what saves, but the life He gave for us without sin to be our example...

    We are to use the same things they used at the Passover meal. That would be the bitter wine that was served first after we take the bread at the end of the meal, which was a sweetened bread unleavened bread.

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