Jesus said many things that surprised and even shocked his followers. One of his more appalling statements was that we needed to eat his body and drink his blood. That’s a hard thing to swallow — literally and figuratively. Gross.
He asserted that those who ate his body and drank his blood would have eternal life. Jesus’ followers had trouble dealing with this and many stopped following him because of that. I would have had second thoughts, too.
Of course, Jesus wasn’t issuing a call for cannibalism, he was speaking metaphorically. However, ascertaining precisely what he meant is a bit challenging.
Just as we need food and drink for physical life, we need Jesus’ body and blood (his death) for spiritual life.
Eating his body and drinking his blood is a euphemism for accepting him and his death as the solution for the wrong things we have done.
Also, eating his body and drinking his blood foreshadows communion (aka the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist), which serves as a regular reminder of his sacrificial death for us.
Eating his body and drinking his blood was not a physical call to cannibalism, but a spiritual invitation to salvation.
[John 6:54-55 and John 6:60 & 66]
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.