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“Eat my flesh and drink my blood.”

“My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”

“Eat my flesh and drink my blood. “

Who would say this kind of thing?  Who would say it over and over again?  We find it repulsive and react to the statement with revulsion.  Some mad man or raving lunatic must be be spouting off.  Best just to ignore him and get far, far away.

Until we realize Jesus said these strange words.  Wow. Now we need to take a step back and ask ourselves, “What on earth is he talking about?”

Jesus said these words to a bunch of Jews who were chasing him all over Galilee.  He had miraculously multiplied a few fish and some bread into enough food to feed a small army, and now the crowd who had stuffed themselves were after more food. They wanted another free lunch. Jesus wanted to give them much more. Food to nourish their souls and renew their spirits.

Jesus wanted change their perspective, to shake up their understanding of him, to rock their world, so he says to them in John chapter 6, ” Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life….My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink….Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them. “(verses 54-56)

If that sounds bizarre to us it would have sounded absolutely scandalous to the Jewish crowd who heard him utter those words.  Their law strictly prohibited any such thing as eating human flesh and drinking any type of blood.  It’s no wonder then that John tells us later on in the chapter that many of his disciples turned back and followed him no more. Jesus asked his 12 closest disciples if they wanted to leave him as well. Peter answers for the group saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

We are fast approaching Good Friday.  The evening before the crucifixion Jesus gathered with his dozen disciples to eat the Passover meal. It is at this dinner that we can better understand what Jesus was talking about – all that eating flesh and drinking blood stuff.

Jesus takes some bread and breaks it and tells the twelve that the bread represents his body, his flesh, and they are to take and eat.  He lifts a cup of wine and instructs his followers that the wine is his blood, the blood of a New Covenant, and they are all to drink it.

Two thousand years later we are still eating his flesh and drinking his blood, remembering his crucifixion and celebrating his resurrection. Living abundant, joyful, happy lives as a result.  I guess his words weren’t so crazy after all.

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