The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 66 of 210
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Those who see Him and believe in Him are the same as those who eat His flesh and
drink His blood, for they both have eternal life and will be raised by Christ at the last day.
Figures of speech are a vivid way of presenting facts, and the Lord Jesus uses them
here to strongly stress the need of coming to Him, believing in Him and appropriating
Him by faith. This language is not a prophetic forecast of the Lord's Supper. It is
absolutely untrue to teach that salvation comes through partaking the bread and wine of
the communion service. The words of the Lord Jesus here can only have a spiritual
meaning as He unfolds Himself as the true Manna. The fact is that the fourth Gospel has
no record of the institution of the Lord's Supper in the upper room.
"He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of
His disciples said, `This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?'." (6: 59, 60).
The verses that remain in this chapter are an appendix to this great discourse, giving
the reaction of many of those who claimed to be His disciples. They found the Lord's
language crude and hard to understand. Not only this, but His words implied that He was
greater than Moses whom they revered; in fact that He was equal with God.
"Aware that His disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, `Does this
offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before! The Spirit
gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and
they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe'. For Jesus had known from
the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him. He went on to
say, `This is why I told you that no-one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled
him'. From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him"
(6: 61-66).
From these verses it is clear that there were varied opinions about Christ, yet they are
all called "disciples" or learners. But what is the mark of a true disciple of Christ? He
Himself gives it in 8: 31, "Jesus said, If you hold to My teaching, you are really My
disciples". This is what many did not do, and thereby showed that there was no real
depth in their understanding or loyalty. They were disciples only in name.
As John 2: 24 assures us, the Lord knew the unspoken thoughts of those who were
listening to Him. He adds to His teaching. He had declared more than once of His
descent from heaven. Would they believe if they saw Him ascend back to heaven?
(vi.62). Doubtless the answer was `no'. If they were not feeding on Christ and abiding
solely in Him, then their profession would not last and they would turn aside. And so it
has always been.  Those who are the true disciples will hold fast to Christ
notwithstanding the difficulties and doubts that sometimes arise.
The Lord turns to the Twelve and says, "you do not want to leave too, do you?".
From the negative used in the Greek, the answer is `no' and this is confirmed in Peter's
"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and
know that You are the Holy One of God" (6: 68, 69).