What Did Jesus Mean When He Said “You Must Eat My Body and Drink My Blood”?

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Recently I had the opportunity to be a guest on the Basics of Life Podcast with Rob Salvato.

The Basics of Life is not only Rob’s podcast, but the episodes are broadcast on KWVE Christian radio in Southern California.

Rob is currently doing a series on that podcast on “the hard sayings of Jesus,” and he asked me to tackle John 6:52-55, which says:

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

John 6:52-55

Not Cannibalism Nor Communion

When people originally heard Jesus say these words, they thought he was talking about cannibalism – but he most certainly wasn’t!

Many readers since that time have assumed that Jesus is talking about communion, i.e. the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist. This assumption is understandable in light of the fact that Jesus called the elements for the Lord’s Supper his “body” and “blood” – and yet, that is not what he is talking about here either.

What Jesus is talking about here can be understood by reading the passages which come before and after (context is king!). I share what Jesus is talking about in the conversation with Rob, which is linked below.

Why Be Cryptic?

And yet, even if it can clearly be derived from the context what Jesus was referring to, the question remains: Why did Jesus speak in a way that was cryptic or hard to understand? Didn’t he want people to understand what he was saying? Why would he speak in a way that people could misunderstand, and perhaps even choose to not follow him because of their misunderstanding?

I answer this question in the podcast episode linked below, but this is something we see Jesus did on more than one occasion! For example, we see this from Jesus in John 9 and Matthew 13, where Jesus speaks in a way that those who want to understand will lean in and seek to understand, but those who weren’t willing to lean in and seek the truth could misunderstand or easily miss.

Clearly Jesus is communicating that a desire to understand is a prerequisite for spiritual understanding.

Listen to the Episode Here

Listen to the episode in the embedded player below or by clicking this link: The Basics of Life Conversations: Nick Cady | Jesus said to “Drink His Blood”?

Nick Cady | Jesus said to "Drink His Blood"? The Basics of Life Conversations

Pastor Nick Cady joins Pastor Rob Salvato to talk about what Jesus meant when He thinned out the crowds after the feeding of the five thousand. 

Rob Salvato

Pastor Rob is the lead pastor of Calvary Vista, in San Diego County, California. Calvary Vista is my wife Rosemary’s home church, which sent her out as a missionary to Hungary years ago. Later, after Rosemary and I met in Hungary and got married, Calvary Vista became our home base and one of our main supporting churches. We love Rob and his wife Denise, and he has been a faithful pastor over that wonderful congregation for many years. Right now the church is experiencing a time of growth and a real move of God. Pray for them during this exciting time!

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