Is the Bread of Life Discourse in John chapter 6 a symbolic teaching, where eating his flesh and drinking his blood means to “spiritually believe?” If so, why did many disciples stop following Jesus?

  • Why did angry arguments breakout if it’s just symbolic food and drink? John 6:52
  • Why did the Jews take Jesus’ words literally and say, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 52
  • Why did Jesus then give an “ultimatum” after the disciples argued over his teaching? “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
  • Why did Jesus say, “whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” 54
  • Why did the disciples say, “this saying is hard, who can accept it,” if it’s just symbolic food and drink? 60
  • Why did Jesus say, “does this shock (offend) you,” if it’s just symbolic food and drink? 61
  • Why did many of his disciples return to their former way of living and no longer accompany him? 66
  • If just symbolic food and drink, why did Jesus ask if the twelve apostles were going to leave too? 67
  • Why would the greatest teacher ever to walk the earth allow his very own disciples to leave him based on a spiritual symbolic teaching?

Was Jesus speaking symbolically in John chapter 6:63?

Some say this verse confirms that Jesus was speaking symbolically with regard to the Bread of Life Discourse in John chapter 6. Does this verse confirm that Jesus in fact was speaking symbolically?

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.”

  • What are the words he just spoke? Several times Jesus spoke, eat my flesh (7) and drink my blood (3) to obtain eternal life.
  • What does “no avail” mean? It means “no help or benefit.”
  • Did Jesus say “my” flesh is of no avail? No, he said “the” flesh is of no avail.
  • Is Jesus’ flesh of no avail? No!
  • The Lord is perfect and sinless. His flesh is holy and pure. His flesh and spirit rose from the dead. Was his flesh on the cross of no help or benefit? Jesus is referring to “our” sinful flesh. The Lord is saying, it is no help or benefit to feed “our” flesh that dies and withers away. “His” resurrected flesh and blood feeds our spirit (soul), which gives life.
  • Consuming his flesh and blood feeds our spirit (soul) which gives life, not our sinful flesh which is of no avail. We transform into the Body of Christ by spiritually being fed, so we too rise from the dead.

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