John 6:52-58 EATING THE FLESH OF JESUS AND DRINKING HIS BLOOD
In the last two texts which we have studied here in the
Book of John, Jesus placed emphasis on the fact that He is
the Bread which has came down from heaven. In this way, He
taught the people that He is the Savior of men.
In our text today, Jesus re-affirms that He is, indeed, the
true Bread from heaven and stresses that in order for one to
be saved, He must eat that Bread from heaven.
I. Strife among the Jews concerning Jesus
V. 52, "The Jews therefore strove among themselves..."
Note that at this point, the Jews were not striving with
Jesus. They were striving with one another. Also note that
this time the Jews were not just murmuring. They were
involved in a strong dispute among themselves. They were
engaged in a heated argument among themselves.
It appears that at least some among them must have
expressed approval of Jesus. They believed what Jesus had
said. They believed that He had come down from heaven about
as He said and they believed that He is the Brad from heaven
as He said. They must have expressed this belief to the
whole crowd, because others quickly rose up against them and
strove against them. For a little while the two sides were
engaged in a strong argument. Each side was strongly
expressing its views.
The voice of opposition, no doubt still objected to
Jesus being called "The Bread of Life" and must have still
objected to the idea that He had come down from heaven. But
instead of arguing those points, they brought up a new
complaint about Jesus. In verse 51 of their previous
conversation, Jesus had said, "I am the living bread which
came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he
shall live forever..."
The Jews took particular exception to that statement.
(V. 52), "...saying, How can this man give us his flesh to
eat?" They just did not like what Jesus said at all. They
did not understand that He was using figurative language.
They thought that He meant that men ought to literally bite
into His fleshly body and chew it up and swallow it.
Without waiting for an explanation to show that He was
speaking figuratively, they just got angry and they said so
in no uncertain terms to those who favored Jesus.
II. The necessity of eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking
As you might well expect, Jesus did not back away from
the discussion. He did not back down on His previous
statement that it is necessary to eat His flesh. In fact,
He repeats it more firmly than ever. V. 53, "Then Jesus
said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye
eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye
have no life in you." He not only re-affirmed that one must
eat His flesh in order to have eternal life, but He added
that they also must drink His blood. That must have really
turned them off.
Jesus said that unless they would eat His flesh and
drink His blood, they had no life within them. He was
talking about life from the spiritual point of view. What
Jesus mean was that unless they ate His flesh and drank His
blood, they would not go to heaven. He meant that unless
they would eat His flesh and drink His blood, they would go
In the next verse Jesus makes a great promise. V. 54,
"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal
life; and I will raise him up at the last day." Jesus is
saying that if one would eat His flesh and drink His blood,
that person would be saved. Jesus promised to raise him up
from the grave and take him to heaven.
III. Another promise which Jesus made
V. 55-56, "For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is
drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my
blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." There is a new
thought expressed in these verses. Jesus said that if one
would eat His flesh and drink His blood, that person would
dwell in Him. That is, he would dwell within the protective
keeping power of Jesus.
There is a lot of discussion in the religious world
today about how one gets into Jesus, that is, about how one
gets into the saving power of Jesus and into the keeping
power of Jesus. Some insist that the only way to get into
Jesus is through baptism. But in this text Jesus says that
if one eats His flesh and drinks His blood that He will get
into Jesus. So Jesus makes it clear that water baptism is
not necessary to get into Jesus.
It must have mystified the unbelieving Jews even more
when Jesus said, that one who eats His flesh and drinks His
blood is not only in Jesus, but Jesus is in him. That is,
the very nature of Jesus dwells within this person through
the Holy Spirit of God who produces the new birth.
By eating His flesh, drinking His blood, one gets into
Jesus. He gets into the saving power and keeping power of
Jesus At the same time, Jesus gets into him. The nature of
Jesus is born within him in the new birth.
IV. Life from the Father for the Son, and Life from the Son
for the sinner
In verse 57 Jesus makes a play on the idea of life. V.
57, "As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the
Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." He
speaks of God the Father who is the Living God. Jesus calls
Him "The Living Father." He speaks of His own physical life
on earth as having come from the Living Father through the
Holy Spirit. He was alive on earth because the Father had
sent Him to live on earth. Then He speaks of one who eats
His flesh as having life through Him. Jesus, Himself would
give that person life. The Father gave Him physical life on
earth. Jesus would give spiritual life to one who eats the
Bread from heaven.
In verse 58 Jesus again refers to Himself as the Bread
of Life. V. 58, "This is that bread which came down from
heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he
that eateth of this bread shall live for ever."
V. Interpreting what Jesus said about eating His body and
drinking His blood
In this text Jesus has made repeated reference to
Himself as the Bread of Life and has repeatedly said that in
order for one to be saved, one must eat His flesh and drink
His blood. I would now like to focus upon what Jesus meant
by what He said.
Some insist that the language which Jesus used here
should be taken literally. Such cannot be the case. There
is absolutely no record in Scripture of anybody literally
eating the flesh of Jesus nor literally drinking His blood.
If one had to literally eat the flesh of Jesus and literally
drink His blood in order to go to heaven, we would be forced
to conclude that nobody will ever go to heaven because
nobody ever literally ate His flesh nor drank His blood.
That would mean that not even the apostles would go to
heaven, because not even one apostle ever literally ate His
flesh nor drank His blood. This just cannot be what was
meant. We, therefore, will conclude that the language which
Jesus used was to be taken figuratively rather than
Some still insist that the language must be taken
literal and try to justify their position by saying that the
eating of His literal flesh and the drinking of His literal
blood is through taking the Lord's Supper. They say that in
the observance of the Lord's Supper, the bread literally
becomes the body of Jesus and the blood of the grapes
literally becomes the blood of Jesus. They say that when
one takes the Lord's Supper that he literally eats the flesh
of Jesus and literally drinks the blood of Jesus.
I cite you to two things which show the foolishness of
this argument. First I cite you to the time when the Lord's
Supper was originally observed. Jesus is the One who
instituted the Supper and He observed it with His disciples.
At that time, Jesus was with His disciples in person. He
was there physically and bodily. They could see Him and
touch Him. The bread which they ate was from the table was
not His literal body. His literal body was still separate
and apart from that bread. That bread did not literally
become the body of Jesus.
Neither did the blood of the grapes literally become the
blood of Jesus. The literal blood of Jesus was still in His
veins as they drank the juice of the grapes. That juice
only symbolized the blood of Jesus. So the original
observance of the Supper shows clearly that the bread and
the juice does not literally become the body and blood of
Jesus. If it did not do so in that original observance, we
can be sure that it never does.
But I cite you to another thing to show the fallacy of
this interpretation. If it were true that the bread and
juice in the Lord's Supper is the only way whereby men can
get to heaven then this would mean that nobody who ever
lived and died before the institution of the Lord's Supper
ever went to heaven. That would leave out such men as
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whom the Bible speaks of being in
heaven. That would leave out King David. It would leave
out the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel,
Amos, and all the others.
The truth of the matter is that Jesus was using Bread
symbolically to show that He is the Savior of men. He is
the One, the only One, who can give eternal life.
Jesus spoke of His own body as the Bread of Life because
He would give His own body in sacrifice so that lost sinners
might be saved.
Jesus spoke of the necessity of eating His flesh because
this act is symbolic of trusting in the sacrifice that He
made on the cross for lost men. When one trusts the
sacrifice of His body, which He made on the cross, as being
sufficient payment for his sins and He trusts Jesus to save
him from his sins, that is the equivalent symbolically to
eating the flesh of Jesus.
Listen again to what Jesus said back in verse 40, "And
this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which
seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting
life: and I will raise him up at the last day." Also listen
again to what Jesus said in verse 47, "Verily, verily, I say
unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life."
When one comes to Jesus and trusts in Him for salvation,
that is equivalent to eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking
His blood. One who comes to Jesus and trusts in Him gets
saved and goes to heaven.
Listen also to what Jesus said back in John 3:18, "He
that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that
believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not
believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
Listen again to John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son
hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son
shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
The way to be saved and go to heaven is to come to Jesus
Christ and place your faith in Him to save your soul and
take you to heaven. If you do that, you have -- at least
symbolically -- eaten the flesh of Jesus and you have drunk
The thing that determines where you will spend eternity
is whether or not you ever trust in Jesus as your Savior.
If you have already done so, then thank God! You are saved
and Jesus will take you to heaven.
But if you have not already trusted Jesus to save your
soul then you are still in grave danger. You are in danger
of spending eternity in the fires of hell. You will never
make it to heaven as long as you go on as you are. If you
want to go to heaven you must turn to Jesus and trust Him to
save your soul. And you must do so before it is too late.
You need to come to Jesus today and put your faith in Him
for the salvation of your soul.
If you are already save and you wish to unite with this
church, then we invite you to come and present yourself as a
candidate for membership. It you are not already saved
would you come and get this matter taken care of today?
Who will come today?