6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, 1 unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, 2 you have no life 3 in yourselves. 6:54 The one who eats 4 my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 5 6:55 For my flesh is true 6 food, and my blood is true 7 drink. 6:56 The one who eats 8 my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him. 9 6:57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes 10 me will live because of me. 6:58 This 11 is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors 12 ate, but then later died. 13 The one who eats 14 this bread will live forever.”
6:59 Jesus 15 said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue 16 in Capernaum. 17 6:60 Then many of his disciples, when they heard these things, 18 said, “This is a difficult 19 saying! 20 Who can understand it?” 21 6:61 When Jesus was aware 22 that his disciples were complaining 23 about this, he said to them, “Does this cause you to be offended? 24 6:62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascending where he was before? 25 6:63 The Spirit is the one who gives life; human nature is of no help! 26 The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 27 6:64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus had already known from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 28 6:65 So Jesus added, 29 “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come.” 30
1 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”
2 sn Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. These words are at the heart of the discourse on the Bread of Life, and have created great misunderstanding among interpreters. Anyone who is inclined toward a sacramental viewpoint will almost certainly want to take these words as a reference to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist, because of the reference to eating and drinking. But this does not automatically follow: By anyone’s definition there must be a symbolic element to the eating which Jesus speaks of in the discourse, and once this is admitted, it is better to understand it here, as in the previous references in the passage, to a personal receiving of (or appropriation of) Christ and his work.
3 tn That is, “no eternal life” (as opposed to physical life).
4 tn Or “who chews”; Grk ὁ τρώγων (Jo trwgwn). The alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) may simply reflect a preference for one form over the other on the author’s part, rather than an attempt to express a slightly more graphic meaning. If there is a difference, however, the word used here (τρώγω) is the more graphic and vivid of the two (“gnaw” or “chew”).
5 sn Notice that here the result (has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day) is produced by eating (Jesus’) flesh and drinking his blood. Compare John 6:40 where the same result is produced by “looking on the Son and believing in him.” This suggests that the phrase here (eats my flesh and drinks my blood) is to be understood by the phrase in 6:40 (looks on the Son and believes in him).
6 tn Or “real.”
7 tn Or “real.”
9 sn Resides in me, and I in him. Note how in John 6:54 eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood produces eternal life and the promise of resurrection at the last day. Here the same process of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood leads to a relationship of mutual indwelling (resides in me, and I in him). This suggests strongly that for the author (and for Jesus) the concepts of ‘possessing eternal life’ and of ‘residing in Jesus’ are virtually interchangeable.
10 tn Or “who chews”; Grk “who eats.” Here the translation “consumes” is more appropriate than simply “eats,” because it is the internalization of Jesus by the individual that is in view. On the alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) see the note on “eats” in v. 54.
11 tn Or “This one.”
12 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”
13 tn Grk “This is the bread that came down from heaven, not just like your ancestors ate and died.” The cryptic Greek expression has been filled out in the translation for clarity.
15 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) is specified in the translation for clarity.
16 sn A synagogue was a place for Jewish prayer and worship, with recognized leadership (cf. Luke 8:41). Though the origin of the synagogue is not entirely clear, it seems to have arisen in the postexilic community during the intertestamental period. A town could establish a synagogue if there were at least ten men. In normative Judaism of the NT period, the OT scripture was read and discussed in the synagogue by the men who were present (see the Mishnah, m. Megillah 3-4; m. Berakhot 2).
18 tn The words “these things” are not present in the Greek text but are implied. Direct objects in Greek were often omitted when clear from the context, and must be supplied for the English reader.
19 tn Or “hard,” “demanding.”
20 tn Or “teaching”; Grk “word.”
21 tn Or “obey it”; Grk “hear it.” The Greek word ἀκούω (akouw) could imply hearing with obedience here, in the sense of “obey.” It could also point to the acceptance of what Jesus had just said, (i.e., “who can accept what he said?” However, since the context contains several replies by those in the crowd of hearers that suggest uncertainty or confusion over the meaning of what Jesus had said (6:42; 6:52), the meaning “understand” is preferred here.
22 tn Grk “When Jesus knew within himself.”
23 tn Or “were grumbling.”
24 tn Or “Does this cause you to no longer believe?” (Grk “cause you to stumble?”)
sn Does this cause you to be offended? It became apparent to some of Jesus’ followers at this point that there would be a cost involved in following him. They had taken offense at some of Jesus’ teaching (perhaps the graphic imagery of “eating his flesh” and “drinking his blood,” and Jesus now warned them that if they thought this was a problem, there was an even worse cause for stumbling in store: his upcoming crucifixion (John 6:61b-62). Jesus asked, in effect, “Has what I just taught caused you to stumble? What will you do, then, if you see the Son of Man ascending where he was before?” This ascent is to be accomplished through the cross; for John, Jesus’ departure from this world and his return to the Father form one continual movement from cross to resurrection to ascension.
25 tn Or “he was formerly?”
26 tn Grk “the flesh counts for nothing.”
27 tn Or “are spirit-giving and life-producing.”
28 sn This is a parenthetical comment by the author.
29 tn Grk “And he said”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
30 tn Grk “unless it has been permitted to him by the Father.”
31 tn Grk “many of his disciples went back to what lay behind.”
32 tn Grk “were not walking with him.”