John 6:56, Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.
The great reformer Martin Luther said, “The Hebrew language is the best language of all, with the richest vocabulary . . . . If I were younger I would want to learn this language, because no one can really understand the Scriptures without it. For although the New Testament is written in Greek, it is full of hebraisms and Hebrew expressions. It has therefore been aptly said that the Hebrews drink from the spring, the Greeks from the stream that flows from it, and the Latins from a downstream pool.” (Martin Luther, Tischreden)
How do you understand John 6:56?
The mainstream Christian understanding is this; if you are saved and partake in communion, you will have eternal life. The only problem with this understanding is twofold; first of all, what Jesus did in John 6 was nothing new. Being a devout Jew, he obeyed the Torah and held a seder meal. Second of all, we have to listen to the words of Martin Luther to understand what Jesus is saying here.
The expression “eat my flesh and drink my blood” is a Hebrew idiom referring to accepting what a person did AND what a person said. We see this throughout the Gospels how Jesus constantly refers to His teaching as life and bread contrary to the sourdough of the Pharisees who do not practice what they preach.
What exactly is Jesus trying to tell us?
He says in John 6:56 is this; those who listen to my teachings and obey them (eat my flesh) and believe in what I am about to do for them (drink my blood) will have eternal life.
What did Jesus teach us to do? Matthew 23:2-4, He taught us to obey the Torah (the law of Moses).
So what Jesus is actually saying here is this; if you want to have eternal life, you have to obey Torah AND believe in My sacrificial death.
Most Christians today have rejected His flesh and only partaken of His Blood; according to Jesus, you will not have eternal life if you only eat His Flesh or only drink His Blood. If you want eternal life, you have to do both, eat His teachings and apply the Blood of the cross as an atoning sacrifice.
Do you have eternal life?