John 6: The Bread Of Life Discourse
While you are pondering the Church and its teachings, I hope you will take a moment to look at how each Church approaches the teachings and words of Christ. In particular, read John 6:48-68. It reads as follows”
“I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. 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.” The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?” 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. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. 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. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 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. 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. 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.” As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.“
The Eucharist is much more than a memorial service using grape juice and crackers. It is a sacrifice and a meal. The sacrifice comes in two forms: 1) us giving our whole selves to Christ and 2) the continuation of the sacrifice made by Christ of His flesh and blood. The meal is accepting the gift of holy food in the form of the body and blood of Christ.
Many Protestant Churches misinterpret John 6 and believe it is symbolic. The passage “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.” often confuse people that do not understand that the terms “flesh” and “blood” are used two different ways in the passage. Initially, Jesus is speaking literally of His flesh and blood. This is what we now call the Eucharist. His use of flesh and blood in the last portion is moving to the familiar analogy between flesh (earthly things) and spirit (heavenly things). He is simply stating that His (literal) flesh and blood are of spirit (of heaven) while flesh (all earthly things) are of no use. He is simply telling us that His flesh and blood are spiritual food. Real food!
Most Protestant Churches teach the truth about Jesus, but do they teach the whole truth? Are you like one of the followers of Jesus who found this hard to believe? When considering the Catholic Church, remember these powerful words of Christ:
“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.“
Shouldn’t your answer be: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.“