In John Ch. 6, Jesus says, "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you," and that He has eternal life. Can you either give me a good explanation of what this means or point me toward some good resources to learn from?
Thanks for writing. Commentators from different denominations and traditions differ on what this passage means. Some believe that Jesus is here referring to participation in Holy Communion or the Eucharist. But I don't believe that this is His intended meaning, for it would clearly imply that eternal life is received purely through a ritualistic act - and this is quite at odds with the entire testimony of the NT. Indeed, in this very passage Jesus repeatedly emphasizes the necessity of faith (John 6:35, 40, 47).
I agree with one commentator who wrote, "Flesh and blood here point to Christ as the crucified one and the source of life. Jesus speaks of faith's appropriation of himself as God's appointed sacrifice...". In other words, through faith in Christ we participate in all the benefits of His substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. And through such saving faith we receive the free gift of eternal life.
If you haven't yet visited The Biblical Studies Foundation at http://www.netbible.com, I would highly recommend this site. They have loads of information about the Bible from a conservative perspective.
About the Author
Michael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University and a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.
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