December 1, 1987 Issue
Ronny F. Wade

Does John 6:51-63 refer to the Lords Supper? (Ca.)

Verse 53 and 54 seem to be the basis for the assumption that the Lords supper is under consideration in these passages. "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." Because we eat the bread, which represents Christ's body and drink the fruit of the vine, which represents His blood some have made an association between such action and the preceding verses, which I feel is unwarranted. A simple illustration will help clear up the matter; Let us suppose that an individual comes forward for baptism at the Sunday morning service. That afternoon he is baptized into Christ. On Thursday of the following week the man is killed in an automobile accident. He has never eaten the Lords supper. Does he have any life in him? Has he any hope of eternal life? Surely he does. He had life (spiritual) when he completed his obedience to the gospel. The type of "life" spoken of in Jn 6:53 does not come from eating the Lords supper, but rather from an acceptance of and obedience to the Lords commands. A Hebrew idiom is used by Jesus in these verses. The eating and drinking denotes the operation of the mind in receiving, understanding, and applying the teaching and instructions given. Just as the body lives temporarily by eating bread, so the new life is nourished by feeding upon Christ in our hearts by faith. Thus except you feed on Christ in your heart and partake of his life, he have no life in you. Compare v. 47 and 40 with verse 53 and 54. This comparison shows that eating and drinking is equated with believing i.e. obeying the commandments and teachings of the Master. When does one receive spiritual life? The answer is: when he/she is born again. Life comes at the new birth. Textually, therefore, these passages cannot refer to the Lord's supper observance on the first day of the week.

Another false doctrine based on these verses and propagated by the Roman Catholics is the idea that the bread and fruit of the vine become the literal flesh and blood of Christ. This theory became official dogma in 1215 A.D. when Pope Innocent III declared it to be so. Such, of course, is not the case. In the Lord's supper the bread "is" i.e. represents the body and the fruit of the vine "is" i.e. represents the blood, but neither becomes the actual literal body or blood of Christ.

Other OPA article links:

Querist Column
Lord's Supper

Ronny F. Wade    1987    OPA Main Page    Home

Hit Counter