Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
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. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
“You do not want to leave, too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. – John 52-56, 66-68
When we have faith in Christ, we believe that Jesus Christ is real flesh and blood and that he is present with us. Although we do not see him, we believe that he gives us life. To eat his flesh and drink his blood is eating for life.
This means to live fully and forever. We say “fully” because there is more to life than simply living forever in this world. To live is to live in fullness with God now and eternally.
We find forgiveness and life everlasting in Jesus Christ. He is the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in him, though they die, will live forever.
In the above text, we are told that Jesus was eager to give the people a special kind of bread, which would cause them to live eternally. That, he called the bread of life. Jesus is the bread of life.
But the people misunderstood what he was saying when he said, “I am the divine bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
They were interested in bread, but not what he was talking about. They were interested in food for immediate consumption. They liked the food that he gave them to eat.
However, he was talking metaphorically. He was talking about a different kind of bread. We do need physical bread or food to sustain and keep us alive. But there is more to life than this physical existence we live out here on earth.
Jesus brought eternal life. Physical bread would not provide the kind of life he offered. Jesus was not offering them something that was temporary. He was offering them eternal life. That is the reason for which he came to earth. He came to bring new life to humankind.
We humans like life, but the life we are interested in is living here on earth. There are many who live like they will never die. And for some, they set things in motion to preserve their memory forever, even after they die.
People spend great fortunes in order to live forever. Wealthy people give away fortunes to universities, hospitals and charities in order to preserve their names. They seek longevity through the placing of their names on buildings and monuments. This is eternal life for them.
However, with God, eternal life means more than erecting monuments. It means more than people remembering your name or putting up a monument in your honor. It means a relationship with God forever.
After Jesus talked about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, some of his disciples deserted him. Instead of seeking understanding or clarification, they just quit.
When Jesus confronted the disciples who remained, “Do you want to go away as well?” Peter responded, “Lord, you have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the holy one of God.”
Truly, Jesus is the bread of life. To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ is to be wholly dependent on him for life and for salvation. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.