Will You Leave Me Too?
M. Jolaine Szymkowiak
We see in this section of scripture the ideal expounded by Jesus is being taken literally by the people to whom he is speaking. The Jewish people are accustomed to their Jewish leaders speaking in this way, however, this time they misunderstand. ''Manna'' has been used as a symbol of ''spiritual food'' many times meaning God's Law, or Word. Even though Jesus continues to speak of it all meaning to eternal life, it is not being understood.
Because of this misunderstanding, especially about ''eating my flesh and drinking my blood,'' many of his disciples were leaving him. It was too confusing to them. Yes, they ate the flesh of the lamb at Passover, but never drank the blood. Was this cannibalism? As far as the Roman and Greek people interpreting what Jesus said, it was cannibalism. Even in our day, there are certain ones who still think that is what it is and will not participate in a Christian faith structure because of the practice of communion.
Jesus, and his apostles, in their speaking and writing, often used the telling of a story, using pictures in the mind to explain and/or interpret an idea or belief. We see that being done here. Relating Moses and the daily giving of Manna in the Exodus, Jesus is talking about eternal life. He is saying that he is the Manna come from heaven, an eternal supply of support, healing, and belief in Him. He is speaking about the saving aspects of His life, His gift to us. His blood is life, His flesh is the way to life, eternal life.
Some of the disciples in their grumbling were not open to understanding, even after Jesus explains again in another way. To take their literal meaning and further explain what was meant by the literal eating of his flesh, he then speaks of his gift of the Spirit. . ''The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit, and they are life'' (vs. 63). We are to be open to what truth we have ...
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