The Body and Blood of Christ
Deut 8:2-3,14-16 II:
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
53 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;
54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."
The giving of Jesus' flesh (v.51) alludes to his death. From the death of Jesus
and the bloodiness of his death by crucifixion suggests the inauguration of a new covenant through his sacrifice.
The repetition of the words "eat - flesh, drink -blood" emphasizes the sacramental nourishment, the source of eternal life, provided by the heavenly Son of Man.
"Bread from heaven"
16:4,15,32-34) is a gift of God, not from Moses. The manna came
down from the sky; it was like coriander seed, but white and tasted like wafers made with honey
16:31). Perhaps it was similar to a natural substance that is still found in small quantities on the Sinai peninsula. The Israelites ate this mana for forty years
This passage is a homily that Jesus preached in a synagogue at Capernaum (v.59). Homilies
explain biblical texts and apply them to life. The Jews quarrel because they take Jesus' words
on the literal level, they had been taught that God did not want flesh in which there remained any blood, or even worse the thought of drinking blood.
In John, the body of Christ is referred to with the word "flesh", not "body" as in the Synoptics
One Main Point
This passage clearly refers to Jesus' institution of the Eucharist. Eating his flesh and drinking his blood provides a salvation that has life (v.53), has eternal life (v.54), and unites with God (v.56).
- When I receive the Holy Communion, is it the flesh and blood of Christ? What makes
I believe so?
- I eat and drink everyday to live. What do I consume to lead me to the eternal life?
- Jesus was challenged by the Jews about this special food and drink. Have you ever
been challenged by others about your faith in "Jesus the bread of life?" What is your reaction?
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community