What did Jesus mean when he said “Eat My flesh and drink My blood”?

From the Bible:
John 6:52 – 57
. So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day, flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your fathers, who ate the manna and died, the one who eats this bread will live forever.” 60 On hearing this, many of His disciples said, “This is a difficult teaching. Who can accept it?: 66 From that time on, many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him.…

The words ‘eat My flesh and drink My blood’ in the natural are extremely repulsive to us, so it is understandable why many of Jesus’ followers left Him after He spoke those words, since they did not comprehend that He was speaking of spiritual things.

So what exactly did Jesus mean by the words ‘eat My flesh and drink My blood’? I will go back to the very beginning (as referenced in my earlier study on the Nephilim). When God crowned the last of His creation with Adam and Eve who were made of flesh, He declared that ‘it was very good’.  The word flesh is ‘basar’ which has the root meaning – to bear news, bear tidings, publish, preach, show forth, to gladden with good news, to bear good news, to announce salvation as good news, preach, (Hithpael) to receive good news.

With that in mind; God’s mission for Adam and Eve was for them to live good lives through His presence with them resulting in righteousness and goodness for all who would have followed on afterwards, this would have been good news indeed if they had only communicated with their Creator. God had created them to live forever as there was no death in the beginning until they listened and communicated with Satan who enticed them into eating from the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’.  The consequence for this was that they were sent out of the garden and very soon after the first death took place. Mankind became more and more rebellious against God with the ultimate outcome resulting in His judgement in sending the flood and destroying everyone with the exception of Noah and his family who preached the ‘good news’ of righteousness. (Romans 1:17 righteous meaning ‘good news’ -)

In John 6:51 Jesus said: I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (the ‘good news’ of ‘eternal life’ through Him)

Jesus came in the flesh. His flesh was uncorrupted and everything He did was good (good news), why? Because listened and communicated only with His Father in Heaven and this resulted in the good news of salvation and and eternal life/life forever for the world.

Luke 4:43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose“.

Matt 4:23  And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel (good news) of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

THE BREAD AND THE WORD ARE TIED TOGETHER
The bible often shows us a physical picture of a spiritual truth.  For example when Jesus fed 5,000 people in Matt 14:13-21, He delivered the food of the WORD in a spiritual sense to all those who were hungry to hear it.  Jesus then demonstrates a spiritual truth to His physically hungry followers through the provision of a small boy’s lunch of two fish and five barley loaves. Miraculously the bread and fish were multiplied and the ‘bread/food did not run out’ as there were 12 baskets full left over.  Jesus says in Matthew 24:35 that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my WORDS will never pass away (never run out, “just as the bread didn’t run out” no matter what happens)

Here again the BREAD and the WORD are linked together. In the verse below Satan is tempting Jesus with physical food but Jesus replies by identifying the food of the word.
Matt 4:4 But Jesus answered, “It is written: Man shall not live on BREAD alone but on every WORD that comes from the mouth of GOD.

In the book of Matthew Jesus taught the disciples to pray:  ‘Give us this day our daily bread’.  The bread in this verse can be both physical, (to nourish the body) and spiritual, (to eat of the bread of the Word who satisfies our soul. Psalm 107:9).

John 6:31-32 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 2Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread from heaven

As the Israelites wandered through the desert God provided them with physical manna from heaven for every day When we ask our Father in heaven to ‘give us this day our daily bread’ He willingly provides the spiritual manna from heaven that never runs out which is available to us every day as we journey through this earth.

ABOUT THE BLOOD:
In the Old Testament the Israelites were forbidden to eat the blood of the sacrifice or they would be cut off from their people (meaning killed), so it is understandable why the Jewish person, when looking from a physical point of view would find Jesus message about drinking His blood to be totally unacceptable since it was against what God had commanded them to do and there would be the fear of being killed for doing such a thing; this teaching would have seemed so foreign to them. The verse below shows us a very important clue.

Leviticus 17: “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11 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.’

Jesus’ Flesh and Blood was pure; He was the only one that could make the payment (atonement) for us through His death for the forgiveness of sin because “His PURE LIFE IN THE FLESH, gave us ETERNAL LIFE through HIS BLOOD”.

Luke 22: 19 And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant (promise) in My blood, which is poured out for you.

1 Corinthians 11.”24 – 25 and when he had given thanks, (for the bread) he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me, as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s DEATH until He comes.

It is Jesus death that brings us together ‘as ONE’, ‘as the BODY of Christ’ as we lay down our lives for Him and do as He asks. Here on earth we remember what He did for us through His death and share in His promise of life through the bread and the wine (reflective of His flesh and blood given for us) until He the head of his body returns to ‘MAKE US FULLY COMPLETE IN HIM’.

Through His “Broken Body” we are made “Whole”
Through His “Blood given in Death” we receive “Life”

The wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12) provides another clue.  Remember how the water was turned into wine that never ran out?  In effect the water never ran out either since the wine was made of that water, which is reflective of John 4:14 where Jesus said “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  Jesus also displayed a similar picture when He feed the 5,000 with the bread that never ran out in Matt 14:13.

John 6:35  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Jesus said in Matthew 26:29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until the day when I drink it anew with you in My Father’s kingdom

We will not only physically eat of the bread and drink of the wine with Jesus anew in His Kingdom, but we will see the ultimate fulfilment of these symbols, as we eat of Jesus, (communicate with him face to face – Psalm 119:103 -104), share in the bread/food of His words that remain forever and fully partake in what He had  promised and gave to us through the shedding of His blood which released the Holy Spirit of God that was within Him on earth so that all who will believe and follow Him can drink in Life FOREVER!  Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Corinthians 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body–whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free–and we were all given the ‘ONE SPIRIT to DRINK’.

We the ‘Beautiful Pure Radiant Bride’ will at last be in ‘full communion’ with our Saviour and His Father through the Holy Spirit, living anew in the Kingdom of Heaven that NEVER runs out.

“The Kingdom that lasts for ever”!

Revelation 21: 1-4 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death ‘or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Is the Black Horse of Revelation about ‘famine’, or  an ‘Important Jewish Feast’?

This article and ‘Bread and Wine Image’ © D A Cleland.