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From CCEF: Life in the Blood

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Jews in the time of Jesus were expected to follow many different dietary laws. One such law was that Jewish people were not allowed to drink blood. So when Jesus said that his followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood, they were understandably confused and uncomfortable.

In the passage from John, Jesus is trying to explain to his followers that in order to have eternal life, they need to consume his flesh and blood. He compares himself to food and drink, saying that his flesh is true food and his blood is true drink.

Many people interpreted this to mean that Jesus was asking his followers to eat his flesh and drink his blood literally, but that is not what he was trying to say. Rather, he was trying to explain that in order to have eternal life, they need to consume his flesh and blood.

The best way to understand this is to look at the similar use of this concept in the life of David. In 2 Samuel, David is on the run from his enemies and he thinks about how good it would be to drink from the wells of Bethlehem. But he knows that he can't because the Philistines are garrisoned there.

However, three of his mighty men risk their lives to bring him water from the well. David is not being ungrateful when he says that he won't drink it. He is honoring these men while also educating us about how Jews think about blood. In the Hebrew mind, life is in the blood.

So when Jesus invites us to drink his blood, he is saying that only in his endangered life can we find life. When he invites us to eat his flesh, he is saying the same thing. Only in him and his coming sacrifice will we have life.

This is why the Lord's Supper is so important. When we take the bread and grape juice, we are reminded that Jesus sacrificed his life for us. His blood is poured out for us, and his life is given to us through his Spirit.

We are also reminded that we are unworthy of such a sacrifice. But that is okay because we don't have to be worthy. We just have to be willing to receive his life and love.
Here is a brief excerpt from this article:

There are still many things Jesus said that I don’t quite understand. This one certainly stands out.

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (John 6:53–55)

Jesus is speaking to a diverse group of Jews—some believed, and some wanted to see if he would do a few more miracles like when he fed the five thousand. In such situations, Jesus c...

You can read the full article here