How do you explain when someone says that last Sunday's Gospel conflicts with this Sunday's Gospel?


The first quote is from last Sunday’s Gospel and the second from this Sunday’s .

A Pentecostal friend says that this Sunday’s rules out the Catholic interpretation of last Sunday’s .

How would you explain to him that his understanding is incorrect ?

“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink…” (John 6:55)

“It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail .” (John 6:63)


The context is important. The verses around those verses have to be read just as closely.

Also, there is this, verse 51:
I believe it sets a good tone for the following verses.

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.


From a homily from St. John Chrysostom;

“It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing.”

His meaning is, “You must hear spiritually what relates to Me, for he who hears carnally is not profited, nor gathers any advantage.” It was carnal to question how He came down from heaven, to deem that He was the son of Joseph, to ask, “How can he give us His flesh to eat?” All this was carnal, when they ought to have understood the matter in a mystical and spiritual sense. “But,” says some one, “how could they understand what the ‘eating flesh’ might mean?” Then it was their duty to wait for the proper time and enquire, and not to abandon Him.

“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”

That is, they are divine and spiritual, have nothing carnal about them, are not subject to the laws of physical consequence, but are free from any such necessity, are even set above the laws appointed for this world, and have also another and a different meaning. Now as in this passage He said “spirit,” instead of “spiritual,” so when He speaks of “flesh,” He meant not “carnal things,” but “carnally hearing,” and alluding at the same time to them, because they ever desired carnal things when they ought to have desired spiritual. For if a man receives them carnally, he profits nothing. “What then, is not His flesh, flesh?” Most certainly. “How then says He, that the flesh profits nothing?” He speaks not of His own flesh, (God forbid!) but of those who received His words in a carnal manner. But what is “understanding carnally”? It is looking merely to what is before our eyes, without imagining anything beyond. This is understanding carnally. But we must not judge thus by sight, but must look into all mysteries with the eyes within. This is seeing spiritually. He that eats not His flesh, and drinks not His blood, has no life in him. How then does “the flesh profit nothing,” if without it we cannot live? Do you see that the words, “the flesh profits nothing,” are spoken not of His own flesh, but of carnal hearing?


Why not look at verses 28-29 in that chapter? :stuck_out_tongue:

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

So, what did Jesus spend his time drilling into the people in this chapter?

5 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

and then the Jews said:

41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

and then Jesus said “Stop grumbling.” And continued–

7 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life.


51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

and then the Jews start arguing in verse 52 about “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

and then Jesus sez:

53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.

and then the people say–

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

and then Jesus sez:

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.”

And then the people went all–

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

So Jesus had so many chances to say, “Oh, I’m so sorry, y’all totally misunderstood what I was saying. Come back over here and let me try to put it a different way.” But instead, he doubled down over and over and over and over again— seven times, I think.

So it looks like your friend is falling into the category of people in verse 64. :stuck_out_tongue: Because if Jesus takes the time to say a thing seven times in a row, and your friend decides to hop on one particular part of a verse that doesn’t even refer to what someone claims it refers to---- someone’s being deliberately obtuse.


“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink…” (John 6:55)
Our Lord was speaking of Himself as offered through the Eucharist

“It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail .” (John 6:63)
Here He is speaking of our flesh not His.

He who drinks the blood and eats the flesh of Christ (the Eucharist) will have life, life after death of the body, life as in eternal life in spirit until the resurrection.

No contradiction just Truth as you’d expect.


I would tell him that verse 63 has to be understood in such a way that it does not contradict any of Jesus’ prior words in that sermon. For example,
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;”

Jesus does not contradict Himself; He never speaks falsehood.


“The spirit gives life” does not equal, “I was speaking symbolically”, and I don’t know of any protestant who would suggest that Jesus’ flesh is of no avail.


It was the previous verse 62 (“Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?”) that I used to find puzzling - like how is that connected to His next words in verse 63, and all the previous words in His Bread of Life teaching? My thought was perhaps He was letting the apostles know He was referring to His (soon to be) resurrected and immortal body in heaven - not the mortal flesh He had here on earth. Thanks to this thread, I decided to check out the Lapide commentary and found it very good. Here’s just a portion:

… For by My ascension into heaven by My own power ye will be able to know that I came down from heaven, and that I return whither I was before, and therefore that I am not only true and a prophet, but that I am also God, and the Son of God, to whom all things are possible, yea easy, and therefore that I am able to give My Flesh for food, and by It to raise the dead. From the miracle of His ascension into heaven Christ rightly proves His Divinity and omnipotence, and from them the mystery of the Eucharist. For to the Deity nothing is impossible, nothing strange, nothing paradoxical. Yea, it is becoming to Deity to do things strange ( nova ) and paradoxical, which are above nature and human reason.

For any who are not familiar with it, the Lapide commentary is so good.


John 6:63 isn’t referring to the Eucharist or his own body, but to our corporeal vs spiritual faculties. Compare to “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” in Matthew 26. Or in Galatians 5: “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

Trying to understand “how this man can give us his flesh to eat?” is something that cannot be understood on a purely rational, material level. It requires the spirit to have faith in.


How did God create the world? By saying, “Let there be light.”

How did God give life to Adam? By breathing on him.

The Hebrew word for “spirit” is “ruah.” The Greek word for “spirit” is “pneuma.” They both have the connotation of “breath,” while “ruah” also has the connotation of “wind.”

Jesus, Who is God the Son and the Word, and Who created all things (together with the Father and the Holy Spirit) is telling people about eating His flesh, by talking – by using His breath – by putting His Spirit into His God-breathed words.

He is God. What He says is true. What He commands the world to do, becomes real. When He tells the sea to be quiet, it calms down despite wind and storm. When He tells someone to live, that person lives. When He says that a piece of bread is His Body, it happens. When He tells the Apostles to do the same thing, it gives them the power to make bread His flesh, and to pass that power on.

So because He says so (literally!) and because He is God, His flesh gives us life. Random cannibalism of other people, or chewing our own hangnails, does not give life. It is the Deity of Jesus and the power of the Word that gives life; ordinary humans saying this about themselves would not make it true. If He had just human flesh alone without His godhood being incarnate within His body, that flesh would have no power to give life eternal. (And indeed, it is only by becoming part of His Body, including by eating His Body, that we can have eternal life.)

So yes, His Flesh is true food, and His Blood is true drink.
And it is His Spirit, His Word, that gives life to His Flesh, which is our Communion.

“And the bread which we break – is it not the partaking in the Body of the Lord?”
(1 Cor. 10:16)


Interesting explained .context is important


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