Discourse in Capernaum II
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. 60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” 61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.
What is the meaning of the two versus 61-62: Does this offend you? The flesh benefits nothing?
62 “What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?” Many of His disciples will leave Him because they could not accept His words on the Eucharist. Some of them are going to come back and see Him as He ascends to heaven, “After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once” 1Corinth 18:6. Some of those who had seen Him after His resurrection “doubted” “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted”. Matt 28:17. It was much harder for them to accept His resurrection than to accept His words on the Eucharist. Since our Lord had spilled all His blood through the flogging, crown of thorns, nails and eventually the spear, He had no blood left in Him. According to the Jewish definition, physical life depends on the blood. “But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood”. Gen 9:4. How can they understand the life of Christ’s risen flesh. In the new creation – the life of resurrection – the source of life is not the blood, but the Spirit of God.
63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.. We confess “ yes we believe in The Holy Spirit, The Lord, The Giver of Life” in the creed. It was the work of the life-giving Spirit on the flesh of Christ that raised His flesh from the dead. One of the symbols of the Holy Spirit is fire from heaven. In the consecration of the Old Testament church, we see the first burnt offering consumed by fire from heaven. The priests and Levites had to keep this divine fire alive by sacrifices, fat and wood. They were not to use a foreign fire. This happened at the dedication of the Tabernacle “ and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces. Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. 2So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD” Leviticus 9:24-10:2. The same thing happened in the dedication of the Temple; “When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.” 2nd Chr 7:1. The New Testament Church was consecrated with a more excellent Sacrifice. The slain body of Christ was lain on a stone in the tomb, the Holy Spirit (the fire of God) assuming the body transforming it to the new life of the resurrected body, to make of Christ’s body the first fruit of our future resurrection. He became the consecrating sacrifice of the New Testament Church.
“The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” The words that Christ spoke on that day carry the power of the Spirit. They are the words of Christ in the Last Supper that would transform the bread and wine. The first creation came into existence by the “word” and the “Spirit,” “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible”. Heb. 11:3
If the word of God to the first creation (to bless it with, “Be fruitful and multiply”) had an everlasting effect, so also the words “this is my body..this is my blood..do this” must have the same everlasting effect.
Did Jesus explain the word he said about the Eucharist?
He did not. Our Lord gave the words to be accepted and believed, not to be any more understood than how He multiplied the loaves and the fishes, walked on water, came from heaven, or resurrected from the dead. These actions are supernatural actions of the Holy Spirit and occasions for perfect faith on our part so we can say with saint Peter: “ Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 68,69
What are the three responses of the crowds to His talk on the Eucharist?
None of them understood: the first group did not believe and left; another group (eleven disciples) believed and stayed; and a third group made of a single person (Judas Iscariot) did not believe, but stayed with Christ, an act of hypocrisy that our Lord would highlight as the first sign of Judas’ betrayal.
How do you explain the Eucharist if you are asked?
I do not understand how it happens (manna). But I believe our Lord in that the Eucharist is His TRUE BODY AND BLOOD.