17 July 2014

John 6:52-59

“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” (v. 56)


In John's Gospel a small number of miracles are seen as signs that point to truths about Jesus. The significance of the sign is opened up in a discourse given by Jesus. This passage is part of a lengthy discourse following the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-14).

Jesus makes no attempt to answer the question: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (v. 52). Rather he responds by reassertion of his point and the addition of reference to his blood: "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (v. 53).

It is difficult to read the words and not hear in them reference to the Last Supper (which is not recounted in John's Gospel, but is in the others eg Luke 22:14-23) and the Church's continuing practice of the Eucharist (Holy Communion).

The main thought running through these verses is of the mission of Jesus from the Father, and the reciprocal indwelling of Christ in the believer: "Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me" (v. 57).

To Ponder

  • When Christian worship includes the Eucharist, believers receive small amounts of bread and wine with the words "the body of Christ" and "the blood of Christ". What images or thoughts do you have in your minds as you receive the elements of bread and wine?
  • We need food (daily bread) to continue to live. What spiritual equivalent that nurtures your faith in God?

Bible notes author

The Revd Will Morrey

Will Morrey is a Methodist minister (presbyter) currently serving as Faith Communities Adviser for Action for Children, the children's charity of the Methodist Church. After appointments in Devon and Yorkshire, most of his ministry has been in Wales including university and RAF chaplaincies.