John 6:60 - as are many anti-Catholics today, Jesus’ disciples are scandalized by these words. They even ask, “Who can ‘listen’ to it (much less understand it)?” To the unillumined mind, it seems grotesque.
John 6:61-63 - Jesus acknowledges their disgust. Jesus’ use of the phrase “the spirit gives life” means the disciples need supernatural faith, not logic, to understand His words.
John 3:6 - Jesus often used the comparison of “spirit versus flesh” to teach about the necessity of possessing supernatural faith versus a natural understanding. In Mark 14:38 Jesus also uses the “spirit/flesh” comparison. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We must go beyond the natural to understand the supernatural. In 1 Cor. 2:14,3:3; Rom 8:5; and **Gal. 5:**17, Paul also uses the “spirit/flesh” comparison to teach that unspiritual people are not receiving the gift of faith. They are still “in the flesh.”
John 6:63 - Protestants often argue that Jesus’ use of the phrase “the spirit gives life” shows that Jesus was only speaking symbolically. However, Protestants must explain why there is not one place in Scripture where “spirit” means “symbolic.” As we have seen, the use of “spirit” relates to supernatural faith. What words are spirit and life? The words that we must eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood, or we have no life in us.
**John 6:66-67 **- many disciples leave Jesus, rejecting this literal interpretation that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. At this point, these disciples really thought Jesus had lost His mind. If they were wrong about the literal interpretation, why wouldn’t Jesus, the Great Teacher, have corrected them? Why didn’t Jesus say, “Hey, come back here, I was only speaking symbolically!”? Because they understood correctly.
**Mark 4:34 **- Jesus always explained to His disciples the real meanings of His teachings. He never would have let them go away with a false impression, most especially in regard to a question about eternal salvation.
**John 6:37 **- Jesus says He would not drive those away from Him. They understood Him correctly but would not believe.
John 3:5,11; Matt. 16:11-12 - here are some examples of Jesus correcting wrong impressions of His teaching. In the Eucharistic discourse, Jesus does not correct the scandalized disciples.
**John 6:64,70 **- Jesus ties the disbelief in the Real Presence of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist to Judas’ betrayal. Those who don’t believe in this miracle betray Him.
**Psalm 27:2; Isa. 9:20; 49:26; Mic. 3:3; 2 Sam. 23:17; Rev. 16:6; 17:6, 16 **- to further dispense with the Protestant claim that Jesus was only speaking symbolically, these verses demonstrate that symbolically eating body and blood is always used in a negative context of a physical assault. It always means “destroying an enemy,” not becoming intimately close with him. Thus, if Jesus were speaking symbolically in John 6:51-58, He would be saying to us, “He who reviles or assaults me has eternal life.” This, of course, is absurd.
John 10:7 - Protestants point out that Jesus did speak metaphorically about Himself in other places in Scripture. For example, here Jesus says, “I am the door.” But in this case, no one asked Jesus if He was literally made of wood. They understood him metaphorically.
John 15:1,5 - here is another example, where Jesus says, “I am the vine.” Again, no one asked Jesus if He was literally a vine. In John 6, Jesus’ disciples did ask about His literal speech (that this bread was His flesh which must be eaten). He confirmed that His flesh and blood were food and drink indeed. Many disciples understood Him and left Him.
**Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18 **– Jesus says He will not drink of the “fruit of the vine” until He drinks it new in the kingdom. Some Protestants try to use this verse (because Jesus said “fruit of the vine”) to prove the wine cannot be His blood. But the Greek word for fruit is “genneema” which literally means “that which is generated from the vine.” In John 15:1,5 Jesus says “I am the vine.” So “fruit of the vine” can also mean Jesus’ blood. In 1 Cor. 11:26-27, Paul also used “bread” and “the body of the Lord” interchangeably in the same sentence. Also, see Matt. 3:7;12:34;23:33 for examples were “genneema” means “birth” or “generation.”
Rom. 14:14-18; 1 Cor. 8:1-13; 1 Tim. 4:3 – Protestants often argue that drinking blood and eating certain sacrificed meats were prohibited in the New Testament, so Jesus would have never commanded us to consume His body and blood. But these verses prove them wrong, showing that Paul taught all foods, even meat offered to idols, strangled, or with blood, could be consumed by the Christian if it didn’t bother the brother’s conscience and were consumed with thanksgiving to God.