John 6:22-7:1 (spring, AD 29)
Yesterday we thought about why it’s important to understand Jesus’ teaching here, and his instructions at the Last Supper, to be an important memorial and not a literal flesh-eating.
Today and tomorrow we will look at ten Biblical reasons (because they’re the only valid ones), that contribute to our certainty that Jesus was being metaphorical:
- ‘Eating his flesh’ was impossible to obey until the first Lord’s Supper had happened, and at this point it hadn’t. This was 12 months earlier. The literal command makes no sense and wouldn’t have been understood by anyone, which is why nobody took it that way. In verse sixty the objection wasn’t to a command they DIDN’T understand, but to a concept they DID – i.e. that Jesus had come from God. Jesus spoke in parables so that only some people would understand. Jesus NEVER said something that was literally nonsensical to everyone there. (And if he wasn’t talking about the Eucharist, he was either advocating cannibalism or he was being metaphorical.)
- Taking it literally contradicts verse forty (ref the wording of v.54 is so unqualified and absolute, e.g. regarding the Eucharist as being THE way, that it contradicts the notion of there being any other way)
- Taking it literally contradicts the whole of the New Testament’s teaching about salvation, for example:
- John 3:16, 18: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…Whoever believes in him is not condemned…”
- Matt 3:1: “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’”
- Matt 4:17: ‘From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’”
- Mark 1:4: “And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
- Luke 24:46-47;
- Acts 16:30-31: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
- Acts 20:21: “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”
All over the world, people want you to believe that in order to get to God, you first have to go through someone else. Whether that’s a priest, a teacher, a mentor, parent or guide. But you don’t. Jesus could not have been more clear, that everything you need from God for salvation comes directly to you, in his grace, through your faith in Jesus. Hold on to that promise, that certainty, that reality.