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
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.