Welcome back to the “Verily, verily” series in the book of John. This passage found in John 6:52-58. Remember that these “verily, verily” statements as recorded by John are the teachings of Jesus as He we about the area proclaiming the news that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. In light of this, these 25 “verily, verily” statements gave us a greater understanding of what being in the Kingdom of Heaven means.
This passage is as follows:
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly (verily, verily in the KJV), I say unto you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever."
If someone were teaching a group and I walked up to the crowd to ascertain what was happening, I would be very perplexed as to what Jesus meant when He said to “eat My flesh and drink My blood.” How much more puzzled would be a Pharisee that knows and practices the Torah and all the laws therein. Jews are not to touch the dead or unclean. And Jews were strictly forbade to drink blood. However, Jesus isn’t merely speaking of the physical plane, but of the spiritual. The misunderstanding lies in the meaning that Jesus was leading them to.
Let’s take the blood for instance. In Leviticus 17:10-14, the main focus is on the ingestion of blood. God was again setting His people apart from all others, and it was a common practice among those that worshiped idols and false gods to cut themselves releasing their blood and to drink the blood other animals (and humans sometimes) in adoration of these idols. Here in verse 11, He gives two reasons for the prohibition against ingesting blood. First, back then, it was thought that the life of the creature is in its blood, meaning blood is inherently necessary to maintain animal life. So its blood is virtually identified with its life. Therefore, to refrain from eating blood is to show respect for the sanctity of life. Secondly, the blood makes atonement for one’s life. God has chosen sacrificial blood as the ransom price for a person’s life, so the life of a substitute is given up in death. Therefore, to refrain from eating blood is to show respect for its sacredness as a vehicle of atonement. The fact that God said, “I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar,“ rules out the view that blood was inherently what works. Its atoning value was only because God had “given it” for this purpose. He had chosen it as a fitting symbol of the reality of atonement and forgiveness, and it was to be on the altar. And if we remember, the altar was in the Temple. Now that the Temple resides within us only when we accept Jesus and the Holy Spirit enters in, the “altar” can be covered by the blood of Jesus where God instructed us to place it for atonement and forgiveness.
Drinking “His blood” is another bold figure of speech that Jesus knew would get the attention of the religious elite. They knew the scriptures, which is the Old Testament (Leviticus being a part of that), and they were strict adherents of the Law technically. (They followed what the words said not the underlying principle.) Jesus was using body and blood to represent everything needed to sustain and support life. Our lives will be supported so completely that we never will hunger or thirst. Our spiritual lives will be sustained so completely that they will endure until Jesus raises up on the last day. We are to go to Jesus and to Him alone for all the resources and the strength we need to live our new lives, which is the underlying principle. We can rely only on Him.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..