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

John 6 for Christians that aren't Catholics: How do you interprete Jesus' words?

He is telling the men that He is lving bread, the bread from Heaven. That the people that ate the manna died but those who eat this Living Bread is will forever?

I'm interesting on how you see this part of scripture when you don't see that the Euchartist is Jesus Christ, not bread that symbolizes Him. Is there other scripture that supports your interpretation of Jesus not being the bread and wine that we take at Mass?


31 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Certainly the Eucharist is food for the believer if one is to believe Jesus’ in His colloquy at Capernaum. It is food for endurance till eternal life. It provides the grace necessary to complete the race. Jesus compares it to the manna that was eaten in the desert to sustain the Israelites. But Jesus is speaking of the New Covenant requiring a new sustenance which is His Body and Blood. In making this comparison He says that real bread comes from the father just as He and then says that He is the bread of life. If one eats this bread they will live forever. The disciples listening to Him began to realize that Jesus was not speaking metaphorically but literally and then we come to the following verse:

    (Joh 6:52 DRB) (6:53) The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat

    Then Jesus said in unambiguous literal language:

    (Joh 6:53 DRB) (6:54) Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.

    The following verse indicates the purpose of eating His body and drinking His blood. It is so that we can “abidete” or in other words remains in Him by the Grace bestowed by the act of receiving His Body and His Blood. But the Eucharist benefits us even more in that it augments our union with Christ as the principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist is an intimate union with Christ.

    (Joh 6:56 DRB) (6:57) He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him.

    An additional benefit of the Eucharist is that it is impossible to unite to Christ without the cleansing of past sins and preserving us from future sins through His grace. This is part of the sanctification process where we grow in our faith in him which separates us further from the risk of mortal sin. Additionally, the Eucharist participation renews, strengthens and deepens ones incorporation into the Church which is achieved through Baptism. It joins us to the entire Church Militant, Suffering and Triumphant.

    This is what St. Ignatius said about the Eucharist at the end of the first century, “ the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes live forever in Jesus Christ.”

    One may ask the question does God’s spiritual work always require a physical channel. “Always” is a very dangerous position to take when speaking of God as God can as our sovereign creator do things however he wishes. So this is really not a matter of “always” but instead, did God use the physical channel of Jesus transforming simple bread and wine into His body and Blood to bestow the Grace of eternal life.

    I was reading another apologist’s commentary some time ago and He related how some Protestants get an almost Docetist view when it comes to the Eucharist. They have no problem believing something to be spiritual but when it comes to mixing spirit and matter they seem to experience intellectual and theological mind block. This is the usual excuse for not believing in Sacraments because a spiritual reality is being conveyed by means of matter. They may even believe that this is a violation of the divine plan. Matter instead of being used is to be avoided which would explain why some have difficulties understanding the incarnation. Many believe that it would be much easier if God did not dirty himself with matter. The Eucharist proves that God loves matter because He comes to us under the appearance of bread and wine. In doing so there is no contradiction in Christ being physically and Sacramentally present.

    One may question how can Christ be present in the Eucharist and be also in heaven and that is a fair question. First of all, in my explanation let me make it clear that how Christ performs this miracle is a great mystery that we accept on faith through our spirit to His. If we look at the account of the last supper we see Jesus present in two ways. He is present at the table in a natural way and is present also in a sacramental way which is no different than the Eucharistic experience today and through the history of the Church. How this is done while being a mystery is not impossibility just because it cannot be understood fully with our reason. We can all accept as Christians that God is everywhere and that He is present in a spiritual sense when we are gathered together. This is no greater a mystery than him reigning in heaven in His glorified body and on earth in His natural body. If he can create the universe from nothing can he not make bread and wine into His Body and Blood? These things may be beyond our understanding but certainly not beyond God’s abilities.

    For those who do not believe in the real presence there are the difficulties of the following verses:

    (1Co 11:26 DRB) For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.

    (1Co 11:27 DRB) Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.

    (1Co 11:28 DRB) But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice.

    (1Co 11:29 DRB) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

    (1Co 11:30 DRB) Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you: and many sleep.

    People who refuse to believe in the real presence believe that this represents a metaphor. But, if it is a mere metaphor, how can one be “guilty of the body and Blood” when one receives unworthily? As one scholar put it “Plain and simple reason seem to tell us that the presence of Christ’s body is necessary for an offense committed against it.” (Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman, Lectures on the Real Presence) It would seem reasonable that one cannot be guilty of Christ’s body and Blood if it is not present in the Sacrament. Other scholars said ” No one is guilty of homicide if he merely does damage to the statue or picture of a man without touching the man in person.” (Rumble and Carty, Eucharist Quizzes to a Street Preacher) The question might be asked in light of St. Paul’s teaching, can one be theologically satisfied in the meaningless belief in a Real Absence than the fuller meaning of a Real Presence.

    In Christ

    Fr. Joseph

    "Jesus made it exceedingly obvious what He meant. John 6:63 declares, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” Jesus specifically stated that His words are “spirit.” "


    He had just told the listeners to eat His Body and to drink His Blood. Is it reasonable to say then that He is contradicting His previous statement. No possible way that he was teaching so ambiguously.

  • 1 decade 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.

    Source(s): I am Catholic.
  • 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 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.

  • 1 decade ago

    Isn't it interesting that our non-Catholic Brothers and Sisters who assert that John 6:50-69 is a metaphor and Jesus was speaking figuratively even though he emphasized his statement over and over until many of his followers left... These same Brothers and Sisters assert that in Matthew 23:9 and such verses he is speaking literally even though these verses allude more to a symbolic, comparative reference by Jesus?

    May the Peace and Love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The people that ate the manna was eating it to support their human body. But Christ is the living 'bread' and He will give you eternal life in Heaven.

    I don't know of any verses that would contradict this. I may be wrong so maybe someone can teach me also.

    Source(s): hd
  • 1 decade ago

    What Fr Joe wrote is accurate and I agree with him.

    About John 6; the teaching is hard to understand and to believe and it testes our Faith greatly, so those who followed Him and then they found it too hard to believe they just walked away and Protested.

    To believe in the Real Presence one needs true Repentance, this is the Sacrament that MUST precede the full Communion, but they don't have it, so......?!

    They need to start again from the message of John the Baptist:

    John 1

    19 This was the witness of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?'

    20 He declared, he did not deny but declared, 'I am not the Christ.'

    21 So they asked, 'Then are you Elijah?' He replied, 'I am not.' 'Are you the Prophet?' He answered, 'No.'

    22 So they said to him, 'Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?'

    23 So he said, 'I am, as Isaiah prophesied: A voice of one that cries in the desert: Prepare a way for the Lord. Make his paths straight!'

    May the light shine upon them and us.


  • 1 decade ago

    The truth of the matter is, I don't think anyone really has a complete and total understanding of what Christ meant by this, but seeing as how so many people are [were when I wrote it] giving you one sentence questions, I will do my best to explain the perspective we are coming from.

    Eucharist is defined as:

    1. the sacrament of Holy Communion; the sacrifice of the Mass; the Lord's Supper.

    2. the consecrated elements of the Holy Communion, esp. the bread.

    No one would deny that Christ himself said "this is my body... this is my blood." But the true understanding of all that comes from interpretation. When He said this is my body, did it really turn into His flesh? Or was it still bread when He broke it? (I realize this doesn't answer the John 6 question, but bare with me) When he took the wine and said this is my blood... did it turn into blood? There is no evidence of this occurring.

    Sure, maybe now it has become Christ's "actual flesh and blood", but I would like to point back to the written Law of the Old Testament. God clearly speaks against cannibalism. He values blood completely and totally as an "essence of life", because it is. Without blood, we would all die. So I guess my real question is this... if God is so against the eating of flesh and blood, why would it be in something He considers sacred?

    Now to address the John 6 question. Christ was notorious for using hyperbole in his address to people (especially the pharisees). In this section, the people want to make Him king because He had filled their bellies; perhaps Christ said what He did in such a way so as to drive off those who did not really want to follow Him for what He was teaching, but rather to be filled without work?

    For me, it is all theory. I do not truly know what it means, or what He was thinking when He said it. But I hope this helps you understand our perspective a little bit, and quite frankly, the thought of eating flesh (even if it's God's) makes me shudder a little bit.

    I would suggest seeking God on this, because I know that if you seek the truth long enough, Truth will reveal himself to you.

    Hope this helps.

    Grace and Peace.

    Source(s): Personal Bible Study 4 Years of "Bible College"
  • 1 decade ago

    Oh you beat me to it!!

    LOL I hit the 5PM Mass PST, and I was surely going to ask the same question today.

    However the homily by the priest had a lot to do with the non-Catholic Christians ignoring the scripture, but how we also need to unite in our love for Christ.

    In other words: that's why I didn't ask. Yet.

    Good on ya momma!

    Source(s): Catholic
  • Lowly
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Good question, and well asked.

    I don't know if the sharing of bread and wine...or whatever is used...really changes into something else or not. Those who do not believe a magical or mysterious transformation takes place like to keep the "remembrance" of Jesus...his death for us, and central to the meaning of the sacrament. They can focus on what Jesus means in their lives, whether or not the elements themselves change at all, or not.

    If a miraculous change actually occurs...have you proof, or is it by faith that you believe this ?

    I know it is the teaching of your Church. If that is good enough for you, fine. Other churches have their own teachings...aren't their teachings as valid as those of your group ?

    Isn't their faith as real as your faith ? The difficulty many have with this interpretation is the exclusivity...your church, your priests...have the only real communion? The only real miracle? That is probably where the disagreement comes from. Where is the Scripture that says Jesus wanted one group to have a monopoly on his bread and wine?

  • 1 decade ago

    I'll bet that if Luther's hot-headed followers had gotten their way, John 6 would have been chucked along with the seven books of the Old Testament they didn't like because it's writings conflicted with the teachings they wanted to promulgate.

    Isn't it interesting how the fundies take just about everything in the Bible as literal, historical, and scientific fact - EXCEPT for the doctrine of transubstantiation? ....Almost as if they are trying to cause as much conflict as they can... hmm...

    Source(s): Catholic Christian
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Please let me begin my answer by saying that, once again, Father Joseph / "cristoiglesia" has THE BEST ANSWER. I came here to answer your question because I saw that Father Joseph had starred your question, and therefore I'd be able to read his answer. His very patient, and knowledgeable, and faith filled answer is a wonderful answer to your question. And now that I've said that, the realization that I cannot improve upon his answer leaves me "speechless". I feel like I get a Christian theological lesson every time I get to read his answers. I love your question and Father Joseph's answer, and can only agree with him wholeheartedly. I remember learning what he teaches here waaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy back in the first and second grade and subequently throughout life since then. God, as in our loving and living Lord, Jesus our Christ, Bless you and Father Joseph, always.

    Source(s): I'm a Roman Catholic of almost 60 years.
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