If you believe something is true, does that make it true? Truth is “never” based on what one believes. Truth is based on fact(s). Fact(s) should form the basis of what one believes. Facts from Holy Scripture should form our Christian faith. Otherwise, one has faith in what one believes rather than faith in the truth.
This free educational website is about helping people seek truth in some of the most important teachings in the Holy Bible. While there are many historical facts that support Holy Scripture as being the inspired Word of God, our focus here is on the Bread of Life Discourse in the Gospel of John chapter 6.
What was taught at this discourse are some of the most important teachings from Jesus about eternal life, that many people misinterpret. Based on facts, through a comprehensive analysis of Holy Scripture, we give our audience a complete and thorough understanding of why Jesus was “not” speaking symbolically at the Bread of Life Discourse. The importance of a correct interpretation is crucial to one’s Christian faith.
Jesus referred to “eternal life” more in the Bread of Life Discourse than any other chapter in the New Testament. The discourse was taught at the synagogue in Capernaum. Jesus was roughly two years into his earthly ministry and there were “many” disciples that followed him, in addition to the twelve.
Something big happened during the discourse that shook the faith of many disciples. Abruptly at the end of the discourse, after listening to new teachings from the Lord, many disciples left Jesus and returned to their former way of life, no longer accompanying him. 66
John 6:66 is the very first recorded Christian apostasy. Why did these disciples leave?
TABLE OF CONTENT – QUICK 30 MINUTE READ
- Setting the stage – 10 key points
- Old Testament foreshadow; Passover and the Manna in the Desert
- Who were “the crowd?” They were “not” disciples
- Many disciples gave up their “way of life” to follow Jesus
- New teachings from Jesus; something big happened!
- Disturbing and incomprehensible teachings are “hard to believe”
- The truth about John 6:63
- Jesus allowed many disciples to leave him; no compromise
- Supernatural faith vs. natural faith
- A miraculous virgin birth formed the flesh and blood of Jesus. “From a miracle comes a miracle”
- Forbidden Jewish Law
- Last Supper “remembrance” and the New Passover
SETTING THE STAGE – 10 KEY POINTS
1. This is about eternal life!
Jesus referred to eternal life “13 times” in the Bread of Life Discourse, more than any other chapter in the New Testament.
2. According to the Holy Bible, these were “disciples” that left Jesus and returned to their former way of life, no longer accompanying him. John 6:66
3. Disciples were believers and followers of Jesus. Scripture clearly defines “the crowd” as non-believers. Non-disciples.
4. There were three groups of people that traveled to Capernaum; non-disciples (the crowd); 12 disciples; and the other disciples.
5. The disciples were already taught about the requirements to obtain eternal life, which was (is) to believe in Jesus and obey his commands. John chapter 3 & 5
Jesus “coming down from Heaven” was not a new teaching (Jn 3&5). It was however new to those who did not follow him.
6. In less than 24 hours, from “Prophet” and “King” to arguments and disbelief.
7. This discourse was the greatest biblical “test of faith” for so many disciples.
8. Key point about John 6:63
The words Jesus spoke are spirit and life. What does he mean?
- Jesus said with his own words that you will “not die” if you eat this bread (50,51,58). What could Jesus be referring to since our physical mortal bodies die?
- He can “only” be referring to our spirit.
- According to facts, Jesus feeds your spirit which gives life. Spirit and life.
- Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. 27
9. Jesus connected this apostasy to Judas’ betrayal.
10. The Bread of Life Discourse took place roughly one year before the Last Supper. Jesus was about two years into his earthly ministry.
OLD TESTAMENT FORESHADOW
Jesus himself chose the time of when to present the Bread of Life Discourse teachings. What are the odds that this discourse (along with the Last Supper, one year later) would fall so close to the annual celebration of Passover?
The probability that Jesus did this on “accident” is roughly “one percent.” Meaning, “math” says Jesus did this on purpose. The Lord could have chosen any other week and month out of the year.
The Passover was near (John 6:4). The Israelites not only had to sacrifice lambs, but had to eat the flesh of lambs to be in covenant with God.
According to the Book of Exodus, the Israelites had to follow specific instructions from God in order for the “Angel of Death” (tenth plague) to “pass over” them. Exodus 12
To save the “firstborn,” three main commands had to be obeyed:
First: Sacrifice the lamb. Second: Apply blood of lamb to doorposts and lintel of house where flesh will be consumed. Third: Eat flesh of lamb.
The mark of blood was “only” allowed on houses where flesh of lambs would be consumed. Flesh could not be taken outside the house. 7,46
If the Israelites sacrificed lambs but “did not” apply blood to houses where flesh were later consumed, death would have entered those houses.
It was “real” flesh eaten and real blood that “saved.” Not a symbol of a lamb.
Jesus is the “Lamb of God”
- Your lamb must be a year old male and without blemish. Exodus 12:5
- But with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb. 1 Peter 1:19
- You shall not break any of its bones. Exodus 12:46.
- For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of it will be broken.” John 19:36
- For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. 1 Cor 5:7
- Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. John 1:29
- They will fight with the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and king of kings, and those with him are called, chosen, and faithful. Rev 17:14
- Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb. Rev 19:9
God commanded the Passover Statute to be celebrated by every generation, “forever.” Exodus 12
Old Manna vs. New Manna
Jesus as the New Moses
- Pharaoh had all male Hebrew babies killed but Moses was saved (Exodus 1-2). Herod had all male Bethlehem babies killed but Jesus was saved. Matt 2:16
- Moses did not eat or drink for forty days and forty nights (Exodus 34:28). Jesus did not eat or drink for forty days and forty nights. Matt 4:2
- Through blood, Moses was the mediator of the old covenant (Exodus 24:8). Through blood, Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant. Heb 12:24
- The laws of the Ten Commandments were received by Moses on a mountain, Mount Sinai. Jesus delivered the Beatitudes on a mountain, Sermon on the Mount.
- Moses is considered the greatest teacher in the Old Testament. Jesus is considered the greatest teacher in the New Testament.
The new manna is just a “symbol” from the New Moses?
According to the Book of Exodus, God rained down bread from Heaven to feed the Israelites while in the desert for forty years. Exodus 16
The bread was “not” symbolic. It was “supernatural” bread and miraculous gifts from God to feed the Israelites.
The Old Exodus set free the Israelites from slavery; 12 Tribes of Israel were led by Moses to the promised land.
Directly from Heaven, “Manna” in the morning and “Flesh” in the evening. 8
The Jews complained, murmured. Exodus 16
Manna was placed in a golden vessel in the tabernacle. 33; Heb 9:4
Jesus is referred to as the “New Moses” in the New Testament.
The New Exodus sets free humanity from slavery; sin and death. 12 apostles were led by Jesus to the promised land.
The Jews were anticipating a prophet like Moses to come into the world and do something greater.
Moses: A prophet “like me” will the LORD, your God, raise up… Deut 18:15-18; Acts 3:22
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the “Prophet,” the one who is to come into the world.” John 6:14
The Jews then requested something greater from the New Moses. They requested manna “always.” Not just for forty years, but forever so they can satisfy their physical bodies. 34
The Jews complained, murmured. 41
According to scripture, something greater is given that has to be consumed.
Directly from Heaven, “eat” of the new manna and you will not die:
- Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died. This is the bread that comes down from Heaven so that one may “eat” it and not die. 49,50
- This is the bread that came down from Heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever “eats” this bread will live forever. 58
- Jesus begins (49) and ends (58) his difficult new teachings connecting the “old manna” that was eaten (still died) with the “new manna,” that has to be eaten (eternal life).
WHO WERE “THE CROWD?”
In John chapter 6, some believe the “other disciples” were “part of the crowd”
This is not true.
This crowd attended both the “Multiplication of Loaves” and the “Bread of Life Discourse.” Understanding who the crowd was helps set the stage for a correct biblical interpretation of the Bread of Life Discourse.
Let’s first analyze what happened during the Multiplication of Loaves, the day before the discourse. This supernatural event is written about in all four Gospels…
When the word “disciples” is mentioned in the Bible, sometimes it is “not” very clear on whether scripture is referring to the “twelve disciples” or to “all disciples.” By logically analyzing the New Testament however, we can figure out “who” scripture is referring to.
Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. John 6:3
The crowd reclined on the grass. 10
Along with the twelve disciples, we know there were other very faithful disciples that accompanied Jesus during his “entire” earthly ministry, according to scripture. Acts 1:21-23
We also know Jesus had “many” disciples that followed him during this point and time of his ministry, in addition to the twelve. John 6:60,66
Massive crowd to feed
5000 men is a massive crowd!
Most biblical scholars however believe the size of the crowd during the “Multiplication of Loaves” was more like 10 to 15 thousand people since scripture did “not” include women and children in the count, who were there. Matt 14:21
According to facts, when it was “evening” and getting “late,” (Matt 14:15) this massive crowd was told to “sit down” on the grass in groups. Mark 6:39; Luke 9:14
The “disciples” were then ordered to “distribute the food” to the crowd (Mark: 6:41; Luke 9:16; Matt 14:19) and clean up the leftovers. John: 6:12
The crowd had as much as they wanted.
Would it make logical sense if “only” the twelve disciples were called on to serve such a massive crowd, with many “other disciples” in attendance?
The “twelve” had to do all the work?
The twelve “senior” apostles had to do “all the work” while the other disciples were in the crowd, reclining on the grass and eating until they were full?
Visualize the size of the crowd and the amount of food. We’re talking about a large stadium size crowd of people! The grass field where the crowd sat down in groups must have stretched hundreds of yards. Imagine the “size” of the piles of bread and fish that would feed that many people.
That’s a lot of work for twelve people! With little help, would anything get done?
We’re talking about thousands of loaves of bread and thousands of fish!
Serving people is a fundamental teaching from Jesus
According to facts, the “disciples” served the crowd. The “other disciples” were rarely mentioned in the Gospels. Does that mean they did not exist, or that they were just “part of the crowd?”
Matthias who accompanied the Lord during his “entire” earthly ministry according to scripture, and later became the “twelfth apostle,” (Acts 1:26) was never mentioned in the Gospels. Does that make him “part of the crowd?”
One of the biggest qualities of discipleship that Jesus taught was about “serving people,” not being served! This foundational teaching of “serving others” and putting others first is in “many verses” throughout the New Testament.
This interpretation that the “other disciples” were “part of the crowd” and therefore did not participate with serving the crowd contradicts the Lord’s teachings and it does not make logical sense.
By understanding what the crowd did not believe, further separates this crowd from “all” disciples…
This crowd did “not” believe in Jesus, according to Holy Scripture
Disciples were believers and followers of Jesus, according to scripture. Before any difficult and disturbing new teachings were taught, the crowd lacked faith in Jesus:
- This crowd did not follow Jesus because of the signs the Lord performed. John 6:26
- They followed Jesus for the wrong reasons. The crowd believed the “New Moses” would satisfy their physical hunger; similar to the “Manna in the Desert.” 26-27,34
- The crowd requested “another” sign from Jesus, due to their lack of faith.
- So they said to him, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do?” 30
- Jesus said to them, “but I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe.” 36
- The Lord described the crowd as sheep “without” a shepherd (Mark 6:34). How can a sheep have faith if there is no shepherd? Can a sheep without a shepherd be a Disciple of Christ? No!
It is evident from scripture that the “other disciples” were not “part of the crowd.”
Verse 22 through 59 was a discussion between the crowd and Jesus with regard to his new teachings. And yes, Jesus was teaching. 59
The disciples were “listening” during the Bread of Life Discourse. The only disciple that spoke was St. Peter at the end of the discourse. 68,69
It wasn’t until Jesus shifted the conversation “directly” to his disciples after “reading many thoughts of disbelief” from his disciples, following his difficult and disturbing new teachings. 60,61
DISCIPLES – WAY OF LIFE
Many Disciples Followed
Several times in scripture, Jesus told people to “follow” him if they wanted to be his disciple. In Greek, the word “Akoloutheo” was used for follow which means to accompany, to join and attend, to literally walk with him.
Along with the twelve, Jesus had other disciples that followed him “very early” on in his ministry. These other disciples accompanied the Lord during his entire earthly ministry. Acts 1:21-23
The day of the discourse, Jesus was roughly two years into his earthly ministry and there were “many” disciples that followed him, in addition to the twelve. John 6:60
Discipleship did not just mean, walking with Jesus and learning. According to Luke chapter 10, after the discourse Jesus assigned missionary work to 72 faithful disciples, which included traveling from town to town preaching, driving out demons, healing the sick, etc. According to Jesus, many prophets and kings did not have the privilege of seeing and hearing what these disciples saw and heard. 24
Whoever listened to these disciples, listened to the Lord. Whoever rejected these disciples, rejected the Lord. 16
Upon returning from their mission rejoicing, Jesus said to his disciples, I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. 18
The Lord gave these disciples “full power over the enemy.” 19
Jesus “guaranteed” Heaven to these 72 disciples!
According to Jesus, the names of the 72 disciples are “written in Heaven.” 20
With the Lord’s strict demanding rules and conditions of discipleship, for Jesus to guarantee Heaven can only mean that these 72 were very faithful and obedient disciples.
If you lose your life for his sake, you save it…
Conditions of Discipleship
Jesus was (is) a “tough” coach! The conditions were “not” easy for the disciples.
- His disciple said to him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But Jesus answered him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” Matt 8:21-22
- And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:61-62
- Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37
- Jesus commanded his disciples to renounce their possessions, deny themselves, pick up their cross daily and follow him. Matt 10:38, Luke 9:23; Luke 14:25-33
- Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Matt 10:39
Commitment and Belief
Conditions of Discipleship were mandates for all disciples, not just the twelve.
The Gospels of the New Testament clearly define the playbook of discipleship, and it was not easy back then! You could not just “Uber” or “GPS” it over to Jesus for Sunday church service. And Jesus did not stay in one location.
It is estimated that Jesus traveled over three thousand miles during his earthly ministry, and he called on his disciples to follow him daily…
Many disciples gave up their “way of life” to follow Jesus.
Strengthening of Faith
The disciples did have the luxury of speaking to and learning directly from Jesus, and witnessed miracles to help strengthen their faith.
In front of his disciples, just hours before the discourse, Jesus performed an unbelievable incomprehensible supernatural miracle of multiplying bread and fish to feed over 5,000 people!
This miracle demonstrated the Lord’s divine abilities to take what was “natural” and bring about the “supernatural.” Similar to the Manna in the Desert the Father provided, Jesus provided supernatural bread and supernatural fish to those in need, with abundance.
The “Bread of Life” can multiply.
After this miracle, many wanted to “make him king.” John 6:15
This definitely strengthened the disciples’ faith even more!
Jesus was preparing the disciples for very difficult incomprehensible supernatural teachings that would be taught the next day…
NEW TEACHINGS – SOMETHING BIG HAPPENED!
Whoever “believes” in the Son has eternal life. John 3:36
The disciples followed Jesus over a promise of eternal life, but they had to believe in what he taught. Believe means to “accept as truth.” Difficult and disturbing “new teachings” however took place that shook the faith of many disciples.
Jesus “surprised” his disciples with new strange teachings that were not only disturbing, but forbidden, like drinking blood.
Bread is his flesh
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from Heaven so that one may eat it and not die. John 6:49-50
I am the living bread that came down from Heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the “bread” that I will give “is my flesh” for the life of the world. 51
Angry arguments broke out at the Bread of Life Discourse.
Over a metaphor or symbolism? No way!
The Jews quarreled (heated arguments) among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 52
This was not a casual argument. Many people were upset and disturbed at the Lord’s surprising language.
While many were upset, Jesus “upped the ante” and gave a forbidden ultimatum!
While many were “upset” during the discourse, instead of rectifying a “misunderstanding,” Jesus “raised the bar” even higher by giving a forbidden ultimatum that included drinking his blood:
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” 53
Consumption of blood was strictly prohibited by the Jews. Lev 17
Jesus then intensified his vivid “literal” commands
- Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. John 6:54
- For my flesh is true (alethes) food, and my blood is true (alethes) drink. 55
- Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. 56
- Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. 57
- This is the bread that came down from Heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever. 58
In less than 24 hours, from Prophet and King to arguments and disbelief.
The Greek word alethes from verse 55 means “real” or “truly” and would only be used against someone doubting; lacking belief, like the Jews in verse 52.
Alethes is mentioned several times in the New Testament and is “always” used to describe the true meaning of something; literal. It is never used to describe something unreal or symbolic.
The Lord emphasized the miracle that his body1 (see note below) and blood is truthfully, food and drink.
The word “eat” in Greek graphically intensified
After the Jews expressed anger, Jesus graphically intensified the word “eat” from phago (to eat, consume; verse 51) to trogo – chew on, gnaw on, rip apart. 54,56,58
HARD TO BELIEVE
From Verse 60: Then many disciples that were listening said, this “saying is hard;” who can accept (hear) it?
Who can listen to it?
Just hours ago, the disciples witnessed Jesus perform an unbelievable incomprehensible supernatural miracle of creating bread and fish “out of nothing” to feed thousands of people! Many wanted to make him king!
Do you think these disciples were listening then???… Without a doubt!
From high to low, what a complete reversal of faith in Jesus!
Over a symbolic teaching? No Way!
After giving up their “way of life” to follow Jesus, many disciples chose to not believe in these disturbing and difficult new teachings.
Does this shock you?
From Verse 61: Jesus had another opportunity to correct a “misunderstanding.” Instead Jesus said to his disciples, does this shock (offend) you?
Is there “anything” shocking or offensive about a symbolic teaching? No!
What was shocking, difficult, disturbing to the human mind and incomprehensible was Jesus speaking literally!
Fly to Heaven
Even after the miracles Jesus performed, many disciples were in such “disbelief” that Jesus had to make a statement to legitimize himself that he is the Son of God and can do anything, like ascend to Heaven.
Verse 62: What if you see the son of man ascend to where he was before?
Is ascending to Heaven incomprehensible, supernatural? YES
So is bread becoming literal flesh!
It is of the miraculous; it’s supernatural.
The creation of miracles go beyond scientific understanding and laws of nature; like flying to Heaven. They are beyond our “limited” human comprehension.
Jesus clearly makes the point that these new teachings are supernatural.
Jesus is saying, these new teachings are incomprehensible and difficult for the human mind. It requires 100% faith!
THE TRUTH ABOUT VERSE 63
Based on facts, let’s analyze John 6:63…
Verse 63: It is “the spirit” that gives life, while “the flesh” is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
Some people claim that verse 63 supports a symbolic interpretation of the Bread of Life Discourse:
- It is obvious the crowd and disciples believed Jesus was speaking literally. However, some people believe verse 63 eliminates a literal interpretation.
- Some believe Jesus was referring to “his flesh” when he said, “the flesh is of no avail” – profiteth nothing, etc.
- They also believe the word “spirit” in verse 63 proves that Jesus was speaking symbolically.
By analyzing each sentence of this verse, we will clearly show you why a symbolic interpretation is “not” correct.
Analysis of the first sentence from verse 63…
According to scripture, the term “the spirit” represents being united with God. The term “the flesh” represents being separated from God, due to sin. This is taught many times in the New Testament. Here are a couple verses…
- Jesus said, “the spirit” is willing, but “the flesh” is weak. Matt 26:41
- The concern of “the flesh” is death, but the concern of “the spirit” is life and peace. For the concern of “the flesh” is hostility toward God; it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it; and those who are in “the flesh” cannot please God. Rom 8:5-8
- Now the works of “the flesh” are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds,… Gal 5:19-21
- In contrast, the fruit of “the Spirit” is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,… Gal 5:22
- Because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from “the flesh,” but the one who sows for “the spirit” will reap eternal life from “the spirit.” Gal 6:8
- For if you live according to “the flesh,” you will die, but if by “the spirit” you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Rom 8:13
Jesus referred to “the flesh” as “human sinful nature” in the Gospel of Matthew
According to Matthew 26:41, the Lord told his disciples to be vigilant and pray so that they do not enter into “temptation.” And then he said, “the spirit” is willing, “the flesh” is weak. Jesus was not talking about physical flesh and here is why…
- Temptations are based on human “desires” of wanting to do something wrong or unwise, according to its definition. Human temptations are what drives that internal battle between good and evil.
- The spirit is willing. Willing to do what? The spirit is willing to conquer (not enter into temptation) our sinful desires through prayer, when keeping this verse in context. The flesh is weak when battling temptations. What flesh is Jesus referring to? It is our human sinful “desires” that lead us into temptation, not our physical flesh.
- A desire may motivate our physical body to do something. We may also use our physical body when giving into temptations, but it is our internal sinful desires that drive us to do something wrong or unwise. If you live according to human sinful nature (the flesh), you will die according St. Paul. Jesus requested prayer as the weapon of choice when battling temptations, battling those human sinful desires.
- To add more context, right before this verse, Peter told Jesus that he would “not” deny him. Later that night, Peter chose the temptation (desire) to save himself and deny God three times rather than be arrested and possibly killed.
- Similar to St. Paul, it is clear that Jesus was referring to “the flesh” as our “human sinful nature” apart from God’s grace, that is weak against temptations. “Not physical flesh.”
Jesus was referring to the reward
These two terms are defined in Holy Scripture.
As we can see from scripture, when these two terms are grouped together, it is to show a comparison of each other. “The spirit” and “the flesh” are complete opposites.
The Lord described the reward between living in “the spirit” and living in “the flesh:”
Life or nothing:
- Those who live in “the spirit,” are given life – United
- Those who live in the sins of “the flesh,” profiteth nothing – Separated
Jesus did not say “my flesh.” He said “the flesh.” He was obviously “not” referring to his physical holy and sinless flesh.
The Lord’s flesh and blood conquered death. His flesh profiteth eternal life!
Analysis of the second sentence from verse 63…
What are the “words” Jesus just spoke that would be considered “spirit and life?”
From his own words:
- This is the bread that comes down from Heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (John 6:50) Whoever eats this bread will live forever. 51,58
- What does not die? What can live forever???
- What could Jesus be referring to since our physical mortal bodies die?
- He can “ONLY” be referring to our spirit.
- According to facts, Jesus feeds your spirit which gives life.
- Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. 27
These new difficult supernatural teachings are for your spirit. Though our physical bodies will later rise from the dead, only our spirit can escape death and not die.
Jesus feeds your spirit with his very own living heavenly resurrected body and blood. It is only by living in the spirit that you can have faith in God. And it is only your spirit that is fed. The flesh profiteth nothing.
It is your spirit that is fed, which gives you eternal life in Heaven – Spirit and Life
The body and blood of Jesus was miraculously created from a supernatural birth. His body and blood was formed through the power of the Holy Spirit, by way of a virgin birth.
No other human body has “ever” been created this way. The Lord’s body and blood are miraculous.
It is through the supernatural body and blood of Jesus that gives life to the spirit. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” 54,55
THEY LEFT HIM
Due to a misunderstanding?
Some people believe Jesus was speaking symbolically and that many disciples misunderstood the Lord’s teachings. Did Jesus allow many disciples to leave him based on a misunderstanding? If true, then Jesus “purposely” misled many disciples…
According to scripture, Jesus who is also divine knew everything before it happened:
From verse 64, Jesus knew who would leave him and he knew why they would leave him, all before it happened.
If our “perfect” God had to correct a misunderstanding about his exhaustive vivid literal teachings that shocked and angered many, he would have corrected his teachings before he taught them.
Our loving God would “not” mislead his disciples, especially about eternal life!
Facts clearly do not support this symbolic belief.
They left him
- As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. 66
- Jesus allowed many disciples that accompanied and followed him, that ate and drank with him, that traveled day and night with him, to leave him because they did not “believe” in these new teachings. 60,64,66
- He obeyed the Father’s will (40) and let them go…
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day. 40
Jesus did not call them back
He “did not” call them back. Scripture says, they returned to their former “way of life” and “no longer” accompanied him. 66
For Jesus to allow many of his disciples to leave him, after they gave up their own way of life to follow him, shows you how “important” these teachings are to Jesus in the Bread of Life Discourse and that there was no compromise.
This took place roughly one year before the Last Supper.
Jesus put years of ministry work “on the line” for these new teachings
He then asked if the 12 apostles were going to leave!
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” 67
Over a metaphorical symbolic teaching?! No Way!
Have faith in God and his plan
- Very little detail of how, when and why were given to the disciples at the Bread of Life Discourse.
- Do you think St. Peter had all the details and could comprehend how bread can become flesh? No!
- But he had “faith” in Jesus. He did not leave him:
- Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” 68,69
St. Peter highlighted the “lack of faith” of those disciples that left
To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe!
You apply human understanding and reasoning when possible, but supernatural teachings from God are beyond our mental capacity. Faith is the “bridge” that connects us to the supernatural. Faith connects us to God, who is supernatural.
Supernatural faith means to believe in God beyond scientific understanding and laws of nature; of the miraculous similar to the Lord’s supernatural birth and the multiplying of bread and fish; a faith from “the spirit;” a complete faith and trust in Jesus which allows you to believe in God “beyond” what you can comprehend; a faith without limits!
This faith has limits!
Each person inherits natural faith that allows you to trust earthly things, situations, etc. It is faith from “the flesh” that is confined to this world. Natural faith lacks faith in the supernatural. There is “no” bridge.
These new difficult teachings required the disciples to have supernatural faith from “the spirit.” (62,63) Instead of “fully trusting” Jesus like St. Peter did, many disciples leaned on their “human comprehension” rather than faith in God, which led to their disbelief and their difficult and disturbing thoughts.
Difficult and disturbing thoughts of eating human flesh and drinking human blood go against the core of human reasoning. Through human instinct, “mental barriers” are typically created when disturbing and unwanted thoughts go against logical human understanding. Though Jesus did state, “bread” is his “flesh” (51) and he referred to himself as bread “10 times” in this discourse, the mental struggle for many is clear and obvious.
Understanding vs. Faith
Jesus challenged his disciples to “go with him” beyond their “limited” human understanding. Beyond the barriers of human comprehension, like flying to Heaven (62). These supernatural teachings were “hard” for many disciples to believe, as scripture states (60). They were struggling mentally with his difficult and disturbing words. They could not listen to or accept them (60). The words that Jesus spoke offended and shocked many disciples. 61
The Jews mentally struggled as well. “How” can this man give us his flesh to eat? (52) They questioned the supernatural. How can this happen? They argued among themselves. This is impossible! How can he “give us” his flesh? The word “believe” is mentioned “nine times” in this discourse. Applying human “limited understanding” to teachings that are “beyond human comprehension” would be impossible to believe. Instead of applying human understanding, the Lord requires “faith” like St. Peter had:
“We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” 69
Does this sound like “human understanding” or faith? If St. Peter applied human understanding to these new teachings, he would have made similar comments and asked similar questions… This is hard; how can this happen? Who can accept it? Who can believe it?
Instead, St. Peter chose “faith” over limited human understanding. He was “convinced” (egnōkamen) through faith in Jesus. Instead of applying human mental barriers, he chose the bridge. Lord, I don’t understand, but you can do anything…
You are the Holy One of God!
Based on facts, many disciples did not take the bridge. They preferred “human understanding” over faith in the Lord (60,64,66). They could “not” get over their own human mental barriers so they applied “natural faith” to their “human way of thinking,” rather than faith in Jesus who is supernatural.
Due to their mental struggles with these new teachings that were disturbing, difficult and offensive to many disciples, many chose to not believe. This was the greatest biblical “test of faith” for so many disciples, and many failed. With no compromise, Jesus allowed them to leave.
According to Holy Scripture, many disciples left Jesus due to their “lack of faith” in the Lord.
Did I not choose you?
Jesus “accepted” St. Peter’s faith. Did I not choose the twelve? (70) Jesus knew one of the twelve was a devil though (70,71). Does a devil “ever” have supernatural faith in Jesus? Never! According to Jesus, neither did Judas.
Jesus connected this apostasy to Judas’ betrayal.
Faith and Patience
As time went on, Jesus revealed more and more details to those who followed him and believed.
What was disturbing and difficult then for many disciples, with faith and patience in Jesus, would reveal over time the connective mysteries with the Last Supper, the New Passover, the Sacrificial Crucifixion and the Lord’s Redemption for humanity by rising from the dead.
It’s just like life! God reveals the details of your life a little at a time. We want to know everything now, but he requires “strong faith” and patience.
FROM A MIRACLE COMES A MIRACLE
Someone once asked me, how can bread become the Body of Christ and still look like bread? I asked him, how can Mary give birth to a baby without receiving human male sperm?
- With the earthly ministry of Jesus, many people studying scripture recognize the Lord’s supernatural abilities but apply “natural limits” when they see fit (e.g., Last Supper). Even before he rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven, Jesus was supernatural. To apply natural limits to that which is supernatural is impossible.
- It is impossible for human beings that are limited to human comprehension and human abilities, to apply natural limits on Jesus who surpassed scientific understanding and laws of nature. Not only did he perform many miracles, his body “was” and is miraculous; supernatural.
- From a supernatural virgin birth, the body of Jesus was born beyond scientific understanding and laws of nature.
Jesus was (is) miraculous; supernatural
Jesus is fully human (body, soul) and fully divine. According to scripture, Jesus had supernatural abilities to heal physical, spiritual and mental illnesses, and he was able to resurrect people from the dead.
By the Power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was conceived. No other human body has “ever” been created this way. His body consists of flesh, blood, soul and “divinity.” His physical body could walk on water and his physical body changed “form” two different times, according to scripture. Matt 17:2, Mark 16:12
The Lord also had complete control over nature. Scripture shows us that Jesus could multiply, change substance and change appearance. He multiplied bread and fish. He also changed substance and appearance, like water into wine. (John 2:1-11) This natural food was multiplied and natural drink transformed to become supernatural food and drink.
If Jesus can multiply, change substance and appearance of the “natural” (fish, water) to “supernatural,” how easy would it be for him to change appearance and multiply that which is already supernatural; his body? That which has “no” limitations.
The birth of Jesus was supernatural, which is easier to believe then eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus. Many people today fall short of supernatural faith because they get caught up in their own “human difficult and disturbing thoughts,” just like the disciples did that left Jesus.
FORBIDDEN JEWISH LAW
The forbidden Jewish law of consuming blood was superseded by Jesus with his new commands, like “many” other old laws. The consumption of “fat” for example was condemned in the Old Testament, for it was presented as offerings; oblations to the Lord.
You shall not eat any fat or any blood. Lev 3
Jesus superseded the old Jewish law…
- In Mark chapter 7, the Pharisees and Scribes saw the disciples eating with “unclean hands.” They questioned Jesus about this and this is what the Lord said:
- Do you not realize that “everything” that goes into a person from the outside “cannot” defile,… Mark’s commentary then adds, “thus he declares all foods clean.” 18-19
- Though blood is considered food in many cultures, Jesus was not referring to just foods. The defilement discussion was not about foods. It was about unclean hands or unwashed hands; which includes anything… soil, dirt, etc.
- Everything that goes into a person from the outside “cannot” defile – per Jesus.
REMEMBRANCE & NEW PASSOVER
According to the Book of Exodus, God commanded the Passover day to be a “Memorial Day” (remembrance) and be celebrated as a statute “forever.” Exodus 12:14
This was “not” just a day for remembering. It was a day of sacrifice; memorial sacrifice.
The Old Covenant annual Passover celebrations were memorial sacrifices offered to God, where real lambs were sacrificed and real flesh were eaten.
These annual Memorial Days made “present” the “one and only” Passover that took place during the time of Moses.
This deeply rooted Memorial Day was “not” new to the twelve apostles. The Old Passover memorial sacrifice was considered a sacred celebration among all Jewish communities.
Why would the “Lamb of God” disobey the Father’s statute?
Roughly 20 years after the Last Supper and the sacrifice on the cross, St. Paul was teaching what the Lord taught at the Last Supper; a memorial “sacrifice:”
- The Last Supper was not just a memorial meal, according to St. Paul.
- It is by the action of “drinking blood” of the New Covenant that prompts us to have “remembrance” of the Lord, according to St. Paul. 1 Cor 11:25
- If this is only a memorial meal, why are we drinking sacrificial blood of the New Covenant that was shed for the forgiveness of sins?
- St. Paul also said, “for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” 26
- The death of Jesus was a sacrifice.
- If we are to proclaim the sacrifice of the Lord until he comes again by eating bread (body; 24) and drinking the blood of the New Covenant, then we are proclaiming a memorial sacrifice.
- According to St. Paul, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a “unworthy” manner, is “guilty” of the body and blood of the Lord. 27
- Guilty of blood, from a symbol?
- If you do “not” discern the Body of Christ as you eat and drink, this may result in damnation (krima) according to St. Paul. 29
- Over a symbolic teaching? No!
- Did some people of Corinth receive severe punishments or end up going to hell for not discerning a symbol?
- If these teachings are symbolic, why were people of Corinth becoming ill and infirm, and a considerable number of people were dying? 30
- According to facts, St. Paul was obviously not speaking symbolically.
The New Passover (Catholic Mass) memorial sacrifice does “not” re-crucify Jesus on the cross. The suffering and death of Jesus happened “once and for all.”
A sacrifice is a gift to God and does not always involve a killing. For example, Psalm 50:14 God commanded a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
The Greek word for Eucharist is “Eucharistia” which means thanksgiving.
The new memorial sacrifice truly makes “present” the “one and only” sacrifice in a unbloody manner, of bread (body) and wine (blood). Do this in remembrance of me.
The Lamb of God came to fulfill the Old Testament.
God always works through what he creates and it’s through his creation that we can be saved. According to Holy Scripture, eternal life is literally in the “body and blood” of the Lamb of God. His whole body, which included his flesh, blood, soul and divinity conquered death by rising from the dead.
With faith and obedience to all of what the Lord taught, by consuming the “living” heavenly “resurrected” supernatural body and blood of Jesus during celebrations of the “New Passover,” death will “pass over” the faithful as we enter Heaven through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen
We become the risen “Body of Christ.” 1 Cor 12:27
Jesus taught some very difficult teachings in the Bread of Life Discourse which many disciples chose to not believe. So Jesus allowed them to leave.
According to facts from Holy Scripture, the Bread of Life Discourse teachings are clearly “not” symbolic.
Do your research with an “open heart!” This discourse is about eternal life!
God Bless you on your journey!
1Jesus clearly described “bread” as being his “body” during the Last Supper:
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Matt 26:26
Drawn by the Father – John 6:44 & 65