“I assure you: Anyone who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
At that, the Jews argued among themselves, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat? ”
So Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, because My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives in Me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the manna your fathers ate — and they died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.” John 6:47-58
Jesus continues His discussion with the religious leaders about Him being the Bread of Life. He accentuates the fact that believing in Him (Who He is and Who He says He is) and “eating” or “partaking” of Him, produces eternal life (vs 47). This is, as opposed to decades of consuming the manna given to them in the wilderness, and having eventually died after eating it. Again He introduces Himself as the Living Bread, that produces LIFE!
Then Jesus says, “The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh” and “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day”. So the Jews began to question, (just like we probably are doing at this very moment) “How can this man give us His flesh to eat? ” That concept actually sounds a little weird–but Jesus was being serious. In order for us to partake of Jesus’ body and blood, He was going to have to die. In dying, He gave Himself for us. Partaking of Him produces eternal life, but Jesus died so that we’d have that privilage!
So, is He advocating holy cannibalism? Absolutely not! He’s speaking proverbially of sharing in His experience! In order to partake of His life, we must realize that without Him, we’re lifeless.(Eph 2:1) See, all of us are or were trapped in this cycle of sin and we shed that old life in order to experience His new life. To partake of life means to partake of Him!
Some sects of Christians believe this passage speaks of communion and that when we eat the waffers and drink the juice or wine of communion, those elimantes somehow transform into His literal body and blood. I believe that we celebrate communion to commemorate what He, His body and His blood have done for us in His death, burial and resurrection! (I Cor 11:24 & Luke 22:19)
Regardless, make no mistake-to partake of life means to find our life in Jesus!
Think about it!