52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)
Jesus is encouraging the people around him to eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to have eternal life. Those in the synagogue were confused and alarmed by this teaching. Many could not stomach what Jesus was saying and turned away but Peter remained steadfast in his faith in Christ.
When you think about it being encouraged to eat someone else’s flesh and drink their blood is very strange not to mention confronting. Jesus even goes so far as to ask if some have taken offence to what he is teaching. He knew they had! It is interesting to note that this particular teaching turned people away from Jesus. Much of Jesus teaching and ministry drew people but this particular line of teaching repelled some. People felt strongly, they argued and were confused. What’s in it then and what is this true bread from heaven that leads to eternal life? To receive eternal life we truly have to partake of Jesus regularly ie. “Remains in me and I in him.” It speaks of wholehearted commitment and devotion and not a part time interest. Jesus has to have every part of us. Jesus is not an entree, side dish or even a desert – he’s the bread of life, the essential and the only! His message is the same to us today.
Thank you Lord that you have the words that give eternal life. Like Peter, help us believe and know you are the Son of God. Amen
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods