The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?"
Then Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats of My flesh and drinks of My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven--not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."
A thought came to me as I read/wrote these verses. Jesus never relented with His words. No matter how controversial, He kept it up. When we receive Christ we are called to do the same. He knew He was rankling these Jewish religious leaders. But He had to tell the truth. And the truths that He spoke then are truth today.
Now, what Jesus is describing above is merely an act of receiving Him. Acknowledging Him as the Son of God. Have faith in what He has done for us. This falls in line with our pastor's sermon yesterday on faith being an action verb. Receiving Him, confessing Him before men and other steps of faith walked out, after we receive Christ.
But I was also reminded of the scripture in Leviticus where God says:
‘And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ (Leviticus 17:10-11)
Wow. God said don't drink the blood. Jesus said eat and drink. What do we do? But I'm seeing something here. Bear with me. In the Old Testament Leviticus scriptures God was saying that life was in the blood, therefore it was unlawful to partake of that blood, to ingest it. And He was talking about all the animal sacrifices required by the people. The blood and flesh of those animals were sacrificed to God for the atonement for sins. "...for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul." That was a shadow of what Jesus would do for us. He gave of His body and blood as a sacrifice. However, He came that no more ongoing sacrifices were necessary. It was finished. It was done. Once for all.
Jesus tells these Jews though that eternal life comes from eating His flesh and drinking His blood. This must have been really hard to understand since I'm sure they recalled God's command in Leviticus. Receiving Christ by faith is taking in His flesh and blood. We become one with Christ. He is in us and we in Him...spiritually. I had a lot more written, but I think this about sums it up. It's a spiritual concept, one which the Jews in John 6 found hard to grasp. It's not about physically eating His flesh and drinking His blood.
Even communion today is no more than something done in remembrance of Him. (Luke 22:19) If we think we are literally taking in His body and blood, isn't that like having Him being sacrificed over
and over and over when scripture says He died once for all? Life is in the blood. Jesus's blood was shed for us once for all. We receive Christ by faith and we have received Him, His spiritual flesh and blood, once for all. No more sacrifices. No putting Him back on the cross.
It's just all about receiving by faith, then living out that faith, or as our pastor said one other time, putting feet to our faith, walking it out. We receive Christ and He comes to live in us. He takes the old person and makes it new, in Him. And in turn, He lives in us. We are one in the Spirit.
Gosh I hope this made sense!
Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.