John 6:22-7:1 (spring, AD 29)
In Part Two, we looked at three reasons that contribute to our knowing that Jesus was being metaphorical in John chapter six about eating his body and blood. Here are another eight reasons:
- Eucharist is never coupled with repentance and faith in Scripture as being part of salvation. Elsewhere in Scripture, the same promises of salvation and relationship with God are made in reference to belief, not eating or drinking.
- Lord’s Supper is commanded only of Christians, not of non-Christians as a means to become a Christian or secure forgiveness (e.g. 1 Cor 11:17-34)
- Lord’s Supper was commanded by Jesus of his disciples “in remembrance” (1 Corinthians 11:25) of him. Not as a part of salvation itself.
- The Greek word translated ‘flesh’ (‘sarx’, meaning soft tissue) in these verses is not used in any New Testament references to the Lord’s Supper (e.g. instead they use ‘soma’ meaning body/the mass of something)
- The Eucharist doctrine teaches that every time we take the bread and wine it is a new sacrifice. This contradicts the finality of Christ’s sacrifice as per Hebrews 9:25-28 and Jesus own words, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
- It denies the significance of the curtain in the temple being torn in two, as under Eucharistic rules we still need the priest to officiate, so we still don’t get direct access to God.
- The doctrine rests in part on the testimony of notable church fathers such as Ignatius. However, Ignatius wasn’t an apostle, didn’t write any of the Bible, and isn’t an authoritative source. For example, Ignatius also believed that monarchical bishops should be political as well as religious rulers, and defined a church as being wherever a bishop was present.
- Jesus was being metaphorical throughout this part of John’s gospel, e.g.
- I am the true vine (15:1)
- I am the door (10:9)
- I am the gate (10:7)
- I am the shepherd (10:11, 14)
- I am the light (8:12)
- This cup is the new covenant (Luke 22:20)
For him to have been literal at this point would have put him out of step with everything else he was saying at the time.
Taking Mass (Eucharist) doesn’t disqualify you for heaven, any more than taking it helps to qualify you, so if you have then there is no cause for worry. Just understand that the gospel itself involves precisely zero qualifying rituals, and absolutely no human go-betweens who stand between you and God. Even Pope Francis this week admitted that if people couldn’t make it to confession due to COVID-19, they could pray directly to God instead. He’s right, except for the fact that they – we…you – always could and always can. God wants a direct relationship with you based on your faith in him, mediated by Jesus Christ.
When we receive forgiveness and relationship through faith, we go on to celebrate and remember Jesus through the Lord’s Supper, just as he told us to. It is a time of immense significance, depth of meaning, solemnity, grief over sin and gratitude for God’s blessings. It can be a time of tremendous closeness to God and sense of his presence. But you’re not eating Jesus’ body and doesn’t help you get to heaven. God’s abundantly clear about that.
 “The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated” https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a3.htm Para 1382