As we continue our series on the Hard Sayings of Jesus, we come across a saying so hard that it caused many of Jesus’ followers to walk away. The passage is John 6:53-55, 66 in which Jesus speaks of his followers “eating the flesh of the Son of Man and drinking his blood.” It is still a stumbling block today. To understand what Jesus meant, we must take a step back and look at the broader context in which this saying is found. Earlier in this chapter, we read about the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus performed this miracle to help us realize that he is our provider. But this miracle points to an even deeper spiritual meaning: Jesus not only provides bread for our stomachs, he provides bread for our souls! In other words, not only does he provide for our physical needs, he also provides for our spiritual needs (John 6:35).
Jesus is the bread of life: only he can satisfy the deep thirst within your soul. God knows you fully and still loves you completely. Jesus died for all your deep, dark secrets…because he loves you. But to experience this love and the eternal life, you must place your trust in Jesus, the Son of God. That is why Jesus says in John 6:47, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life!” In other words, “Only I can meet your deepest spiritual needs…the need to be fully loved and fully forgiven.”
- When Jesus says, “I am the bread of life,” he means that he is the source of our spiritual life. Apart from him, we are spiritually dead. We are guilty of sin and alienated from God.
- When Jesus says that we must “eat that bread,” he means that we must place our trust in him. While it is true that Jesus is the bread of life, that bread will do us no good if we refuse to partake of it. The same is true in the physical realm. You could be surrounded by a veritable buffet, but if you refuse to eat, you will starve to death.
What about the statement in verse 21? “… and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” He is just saying, “The bread I am offering is me! I am the Messiah! I am the Savior! I am the lamb of God. I am the perfect sacrifice.” This flesh and blood imagery is used in the Lord’s Supper. The bread represents Jesus’ sinless body and the blood represents his death on the cross. Together, the bread and the cup represent Jesus and his saving work on the cross. When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we are proclaiming, in a figurative way, our faith in Christ. What implication does this hard saying have in our lives?
First, you can’t earn God’s favor through human efforts (John 6:60-63). You could never do enough good works to earn God’s favor. You need mercy. Only Jesus can offer you that. Christians seek to live godly lives not to earn God’s favor, but as response of gratitude for the mercy and grace He has shown us in Christ.
Second, we can only come to God though faith in Jesus. In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus’ disciples affirmed this belief (Acts 4:12). But of course, not everyone will accept this Biblical truth. Jesus knew that, and that’s why after uttering this hard saying, he added, “But there are some of you who do not believe” (John 6:64).
Which group are you in? Are you in the receiving group or in the rejecting group? Have you embraced the light or are you hiding in darkness? Are you a child of God or a child of the devil? According to Jesus, you are one or the other. Jesus invites us to come to him in faith (Matthew 11:28-29). You will never find life outside of Christ. You won’t find it in human success or wealth. The human soul was created for more than that. Those things will never satisfy. We always want more. Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus comforts us with this precious promise: “He who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst” (John 6:35).
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Stop looking for purpose and meaning through human success and accomplishments.
- The abundant life—a life of purpose and joy, is tied to a person—the Lord Jesus. Trust in Him. If you would like to know God personally, contact us here (connect.tcc.org) Scroll down to the Ministry Information Request section and mark the first or second checkbox. We look forward to helping!
- Experience this abundant life by communing with Christ all throughout the day.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)