“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:54 (KJV)
How are you? I pray you are well, if not physically, then spiritually. Today’s verse may be difficult to understand. When one reads John 6:54, it might seem a bit cannibalistic. Whoever heard of eating someone’s flesh and drinking someone’s blood and having eternal life?
I can imagine that back when the words were written, many people were wondering just that. At least now, over 2000 years later, we have had time to get used to the idea that this is the Bible. It is God’s Word. And, those who believe in God, mostly believe that to be true. I can only imagine what were going through the minds of the people who first heard these words when Jesus spoke them. What do you think?
Now, let’s look at the meaning of John 6:54. As we know, Jesus often didn’t say things right out plainly. He often said things in parables or metaphors. The concepts He taught were difficult for people to understand. Not only that, but not everyone was meant to know and understand things right away.
The first part of John 6:54 says, “Whoso eateth my flesh….” Jesus wasn’t talking about physically eating his flesh, so what did He mean? I think the key to knowing that is in looking at some of the other metaphors Jesus uses about himself.
Earlier in the chapter, in John 6:35, Jesus says, “…I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 is similar to John 6:54 in that they both talk about taking Jesus in as nourishment. To me, John 6:35 states it a little more plainly in stating Jesus is the “Bread of life”. However, Jesus isn’t talking about physical nourishment, but spiritual nourishment.
Another metaphor that speaks about Jesus can be found in John 1:14, which says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” So, is Jesus physically the Bible? Again, I believe it is a metaphor. Jesus knows all that is in the Bible. He spoke the same words. He knows and taught the same truth. Just like the Bible contains the physical words of God’s will and is often considered to be like a road map to eternal life, Jesus spoke the words that lead to eternal life. Yet, this metaphor goes a little more in depth, because Jesus is the key or way to eternal life. If one doesn’t believe in Jesus, his words, his miracles, his death and resurrection, his being Christ, his being our Savior, or all he did for us, one won’t have eternal life.
So, how do we take Jesus in as nourishment? How do we benefit from the “Bread of life” and the “Word that was made flesh”? We get to know Him. We spend time with Him and build a relationship with Him. We read the Bible and learn all we can about Him and God’s will for us. We believe.
Let’s now look at the second part of John 6:54 where Jesus says, “…and drinketh my blood…” Again, Jesus isn’t talking about literally and physically drinking his blood. No. I believe that Jesus is talking about following in his footsteps and following his ways. Blood is often a symbol for sacrifice. I believe that Jesus is saying here that we are to be willing to not only believe in Him, but also to give our physical life (if necessary) to follow God’s will for us and for the good of others.
To me, John 6:54 is both similar to and points to Mark 12:30, which says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” If we spend time with Jesus, believe in Him, get to know Him, read the Bible, get to know God, and appreciate all that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit does for us, and be willing to follow Jesus even including sacrificing our physical life to do God’s will, then we are following this first commandment and will gain eternal life.
Thank you for loving us so much that you gave us Jesus as our brother and Lord and Savior. Thank you for giving us Jesus as the Word and Way to eternal life. Thank you for the love and salvation you have given us. Help us to love you and show you our appreciation. Help us to follow Jesus according to your will. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for John 6:54 (KJV):
*What does John 6:54 mean to me?
*What does Jesus mean when he says, “eateth my flesh”?
*What does Jesus mean when he says, “drinketh my blood”?
*Do I understand John 6:54 or should I research and pray more?
*How can I better live and follow the words in John 6:54?
Now, it is your turn.
Have I confused you yet? I feel like I John 6:54 is so in depth, that I could write a mini book or pamphlet on it. However, to me, the main point is that if we believe in Jesus and follow him with all that we have and do, if we love and appreciate what he did for us (all God does for us), then we will gain eternal life. What do you think?
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.