Unless You Eat the Flesh

This passage, in context, is 71 verses long, so I am not going to quote the entire passage. Thus, I encourage you to read the whole 6th chapter of John in order to get the proper context. It is my hope that one of the main things you take away from these devotions is that you learn to interpret Scriptures under the direction of the Holy Spirit, first and foremost, and then in their context, for context is critical to correct biblical interpretation. Many false (erroneous) doctrines stem from Scriptures taught outside their context.

Jesus had just fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, so this was a miracle. And there were even leftovers. The next day the crowd sought out Jesus. When they found him they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you…”

John 6:35-40 ESV

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.’”

Jesus is talking here about spiritual food, not physical food. He is speaking about our salvation from sin and our eternal life with God. So, he is speaking here about spiritual hunger and thirst, not physical hunger. And so he is saying that whoever is (not past tense, but presently) coming to him shall not hunger spiritually, and whoever (not past tense, but presently) believing in him shall never thirst spiritually, for they will be satisfied.

Now, this is not to be taken casually or glibly. For, Jesus said that whoever would come after him, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and to self) and follow (obey) Him. And our faith in Jesus comes from God and is perfected by Jesus Christ, so it submits to God and to his righteousness. By faith we are crucified with Christ in death to sin so that we might live to Christ and to his righteousness (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23).

Have you ever had someone take your words out of context and interpret them to say something that you didn’t mean? Not a good idea! And it is especially not a good idea to do that when studying the Scriptures. So, when this says here that “everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life,” don’t stop reading there. There is more to the story than that.

And please know that we need to understand what it means to look on the Son, and we need to understand what it means to “believe.” We can’t just make it up ourselves. And we can’t just pull a few verses out of context here and make up our own doctrine or our own definitions of what these words mean, for they have very specific meanings which we can learn through reading all of the New Testament.

John 6:44-48 ESV

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.”

Not one of us can come to faith in Jesus Christ on our own. We can only come to faith in Jesus if God the Father draws us to Christ. And faith means to be divinely persuaded by God, so God is going to persuade us to forsake our sins, to surrender our hearts to Jesus Christ, and to follow him in obedience. And faith is a gift from God and is not of ourselves, so we don’t get to define what it means (Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1).

John 6:53-58 ESV

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.’”

Now we really get to the meat of the whole thing of our salvation from sin and our eternal life with God. For, what do Jesus’ body and blood represent? They symbolize his death on the cross for our sins. He died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15). And he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God so that we would honor God with our bodies (1 Co 6:19-20).

And to “eat” his flesh means to partake, to participate, and to share in his death to sin via us being crucified with him in death to sin. And to drink has to do with drinking of the cup of his suffering, which he says we, as his disciples, will do. So, this is all about us dying with Jesus to sin and to self and us living to God and to his righteousness in the power of God. It is all about us participating with Jesus in his death so that we may live forever.

So, if we don’t die with Christ to sin, we can’t live to him and to his righteousness. If we are still living in sin, making sin our practice, and righteousness is not what we practice, then we have no life in us. We don’t have eternal life with God but a fearful expectation of God’s wrath. So, we have to participate with Jesus both in his death and in his life if we want to have eternal life with God and salvation from our sins.

Please read these Scriptures: [Lu 9:23-26; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

Praise the Lord

Lyrics by John Kempthorne (1775-1838),
Music by Lowell Mason (1841)

Based on Psalm 148:1-2

Praise the Lord! ye heav’ns adore him;
Praise him angels, in the height;
Sun and moon, rejoice before him;
Praise him, all ye stars of light.

Praise the Lord! for he has spoken;
Worlds his mighty voice obeyed;
Laws which never shall be broken
For their guidance he has made.

Praise the Lord! for he is glorious;
Never shall his promise fail;
God has made his saints victorious;
Sin and death shall not prevail.

Praise the God of our salvation!
Hosts on high his pow’r proclaim;
Heav’n, and earth, and all creation,
Laud and magnify his name.

Worship, honor, glory, blessing,
Lord, we offer unto thee;
Young and old, thy praise expressing,
In glad homage bend the knee.

All the saints in heav’n adore thee,
We would bow before thy throne;
As thine angels serve before thee,
So on earth thy will be done.

Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah!
Amen, Amen, Amen.

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