John 6:47. A anabaptist interpitation


#1

I have a friend who is a Baptist pastor and he says John 6:47 shows that Jesus was only speaking symbolically in John 6:53. And it not even talking about bread at all but faith only.

I am going to forward him this link. If people could expand on this in the contexted of catholic teaching

Here is the passages

New International Version. John 6:47
Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

New International Version. John 6:53
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.


#2

Yes and no…truly a good verse to consider - and kudos to you for asking the question! Verse 47 is an explanation/recapitulation of the statement in v. 46, “…not that anyone has seen the Father except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.” We are taught by these words, that it is, when we believe in Christ that God is made known to us. Then do we begin to see, as in a mirror, or as in a bright and lively image, God who was formerly INvisible. Condemned, then is everything that declared to us concerning God if it doesn’t lead us to Christ. What it is to believe in Christ must not deprive Christ of His power (and truly can’t). The reason why we obtain life by faith is that we know that all the parts of our life are contained in Christ.

The inference which some draw from this passage — that to believe in Christ is the same thing as to physically eat Christ, that is, His flesh — is not well founded. For these two things differ from each other as former and latter & likewise is to come to Christ and to drink Him, for coming to Him (a gift of His) is 1st in order. Acknowledge that Christ is not eaten but by faith. The reason is, because we receive Him by faith, that He may dwell in us & that we may be made partakers of Him & be one with Him. To eat Him, therefore, is an effect or work of faith, not like a physical act of cannibalism, as some may believe.

In v. 53, Christ denounces eternal perdition against all who refuse to seek life from His flesh; as if He had said, “If you hold My flesh in contempt, rest assured that there remains for you no other hope of life.” The vengence that awaits all despisers of the grace of Christ is, that with their *pride *they will perish. The reason thay have to be urged with the plain strictness is that they may not continue to flatter themselves. He’s repriving/rebuffing them for their contempt & the meaning Christ is saying is: “Despise Me as much as you please, on account of the mean and despicable appearance of my flesh, still that despicable flesh contains life; and if you are destitute of it, you will nothng else that satisfies.” Basically, only Christ eternally satisfies that from which sin requires payment.

God shall supply all you need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Phil. 4:19-20)


#3

[quote="Adamski, post:1, topic:338882"]

New International Version. John 6:47
Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

[/quote]

The next line goes with it.

**Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.* (John 6:47-48)*

Verses 47 and 48 go together. They form a single statement.

-Tim-


#4

[quote="Adamski, post:1, topic:338882"]
I have a friend who is a Baptist pastor and he says John 6:47 shows that Jesus was only speaking symbolically in John 6:53. And it not even talking about bread at all but faith only.

[/quote]

That's certainly NOT the way those present understood Christ.

Who's in a better position to understand what Christ was saying, that minister or those who were actually there, who spoke the language & understood the idioms, who say His body language and heard the inflections and tone of His voice?

Those who were present, ALL of them, understood Christ to be speaking literally. Many of the followers left. But even the Apostles understood Him to be speaking literally. See vs 67ff.


#5

4most4christ

Sorry I wasn't looking for a Protestant point of view but one that is in line with the catholic church


#6

So, if that verse "proves" Christ was speaking only symbolically, then why does it not "prove" He only symbolically died for us on the Cross? After all, Christ says that this Bread He will give is His Flesh for the life of the world.

"If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world." (Jn 6:52)

Think about it. "the bread I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world". How can Christ give His Flesh for the life of the world symbolically? Remember, Christ just equated "this bread [come down from Heaven, v.51] with "my flesh, for the life of the world". Does eating bread and grapejuice give us eternal life for the world? Are we given life by eating bread and juice? No. Christ gave His REAL Flesh, LITERALLY on the cross for our salvation. And Christ equates this with "this bread". Either He was speakign literally in John 6, or HE only symbolically died on the cross. No way around it. And all the Jews present KNEW He was being literal. That's why they grumbled and left Him...even though they were His Disciples who had believed in Him. Did Christ correct their error of literal interpretation? Nope. He rebuked them for trying to understand it in the flesh instead of understanding in the Spirit. Does Spirit = symbolic? No. The Spirit is more real than we can imagine...unless you are prepared to profess "I believe in the Father and the Son and the Holy Symbolic". :)


#7

This excerpt below is from John Salza. I think he sums it up very well.

*John 6:53-58, 66-67 *
So Jesus said to them, ‘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; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.’ After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Will you also go away?’”

Most Protestants believe that the bread and wine offered by the Catholic priest in the Holy Mass are only symbols of Christ’s body and blood. They do not believe that Christians have to actually eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ to have eternal life. They do not believe that Christ’s flesh is actual food, and His blood actual drink. Why, then, does Jesus repeatedly say in these verses that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood or we have no life in us? Why does Christ say that His flesh is food indeed, and His blood is drink indeed, if His flesh and blood really aren’t food and drink indeed? This teaching of Jesus on the Eucharist is the most profound in all of Scripture, and these verses are very problematic to the Protestant contention that the bread and wine of the Mass are just symbols.

When John 6 is prayerfully read, we see how Jesus gradually teaches the faithful about the life-giving bread from heaven that He will give to the world (through the multiplication of the loaves, the reference to the raining manna given to the Israelites, and finally to the bread that Jesus will give which is His flesh). When the Jews question Jesus about how he could possibly give them His flesh to eat, Jesus becomes more literal in His explanation. Jesus says several times that we must eat (in Greek, “phago”) His flesh to gain eternal life (which literally means “to chew”).

When the Jews further question the strangeness of His teaching, Jesus uses an even more literal verb (in Greek, “trogo”) to describe how we must eat His flesh to have eternal life (which literally means “to gnaw or crunch”). The word “trogo” is only used two other times in the New Testament (Matt. 24:38; John 13:18) and it is always used literally (physically eating). Protestants are unable to provide a single example of where “trogo” is ever used in a symbolic sense. To drive His point home, Jesus says that His flesh is real food indeed, and His blood is real drink indeed (Jesus says nothing about the bread being a symbol of His body and blood).

What is perhaps most compelling about the foregoing passages is what happens at the end of Jesus’ discourse. We know that the Jews understood Jesus as speaking literally. This is demonstrated by their question, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” They could not conceive of why consuming Jesus’ flesh was life-giving and how they could possibly do such a thing. We also know that Jesus responds to their question by being even more literal about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. But we learn at the end of Jesus’ discourse that many of His followers, because of the difficulty of His teaching, decided to no longer follow Him – and Jesus let them go. Then He turned to His apostles and asked them, “Will you also go away?”

Would Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God who became man to save humanity, allow his followers to leave Him if they misunderstood His teaching? Of course not, especially when the teaching regarded how they were to obtain eternal life which was at the heart of Jesus’ mission. Jesus always explained the meaning of His teachings to His disciples. Mark 4:34. Jesus did not say, “Hey, guys, come back here, you got it all wrong.” He didn’t do this because they did not have it all wrong. They understood correctly – we must eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood, or we have no life within us. The Protestant who contends that the Catholic offering of bread and wine in the Mass is just a symbol (and does not miraculously become the body and blood of Christ through the actions of the priest acting “in persona Christi”) must address John 6:53-58, 66-67 – why Jesus used the words He did, and why Jesus allowed His followers to leave Him if they understood Him correctly (which is the only time in Scripture where Christ allows His disciples to leave Him based upon a doctrinal teaching).

When we meditate upon this mystery with an open mind and heart, we come to believe and know that the Eucharist is the way the Father gives us His Son in the eternal covenant of love by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist is an extension of the Incarnation. If we can believe in the Incarnation (that God become a little baby), than believing that God makes Himself substantially present under the appearance of bread and wine is easy. The Church has thus taught for 2,000 years that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian faith – the consummation of the sacrificed Paschal lamb, by which we are restored to God and share in His divine life. Thus, Saint Paul says, “our Paschal lamb has been sacrificed; therefore, let us celebrate the feast.” 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.


#8

But his disciples, and presumably the Jews, did fail to understand him. Yes, he was talking in a literal sense, and they understood that; what they failed to understand is the mode of application.

Haydock commentary bible.

" Are spirit and life. By proposing to you a heavenly sacrament, in which you shall receive, in a wonderful manner, spirit, grace and life. These words sufficiently correct the gross and carnal imagination of these Capharnaites, that he meant to give them his body and blood to eat in a visible and bloody manner, as flesh, says St. Augustine, is sold in the market, and in the shambles;[3] but they do not imply a figurative or metaphorical presence only. The manner of Christ's presence is spiritual and under the outward appearances of bread and wine; but yet he is there truly and really present, by a change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of his body and blood, which truly and really become our spiritual food, and are truly and really received in the holy sacrament. --- The flesh[4] of itself profiteth nothing, not even the flesh of our Saviour Christ, were it not united to the divine person of Christ. But we must take care how we understand these words spoken by our Saviour: for it is certain, says St. Augustine, that the word made flesh, is the cause of all our happiness. (Witham) --- When I promise you life if you eat my flesh, I do not wish you to understand this of that gross and carnal manner, of cutting my members in pieces: such ideas are far from my mind: the flesh profiteth nothing. In the Scriptures, the word flesh is often put for the carnal manner of understanding any thing. If you wish to enter into the spirit of my words, raise your hearts to a more elevated and spiritual way of understanding them. (Calmet) "


#9

In the sixth chapter of John, Jesus makes the following statement: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If a man eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Jn 6:51 (all scripture quotations from the NIV)

Just exactly what did Jesus mean when he said, “this bread is my flesh”? Ironically, Protestants who claim that the bible is literally true from Genesis to Revelation refuse to accept the literal meaning of this passage because it conflicts with what they want to believe. However, the true meaning of Jesus’ words can be illustrated from the reaction of the crowd who heard his teaching with their own ears, from the infallible word of God contained in the New Testament, and from the writings and teachings of the early Church.

In John 6:52 we read: “Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’” Why were they arguing? If they understood Jesus to be speaking metaphorically, then there would have been hardly an eyebrow raised. For example, on other occasions, Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep” (Jn 10:7) and “I am the true vine” (Jn 15:1) but the listeners easily discerned that Jesus was using metaphors in these examples. By contrast, an argument did break out when Jesus said, “this bread is my flesh,” indicating that those in the crowd held different opinions about what he meant. Some said, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat? He’s crazy!” while others may have responded, “Of course he can’t do that…his words must have a symbolic meaning!” The one group rejected Jesus’ ability to give us his body and blood as real food and drink while the other missed his true meaning altogether. Either way, the crowd was divided.

Of course, Jesus knew what they were saying amongst themselves, and if it was merely his intent to draw a symbolic parallel between his flesh and the bread of heaven, he could have put an end to their misunderstanding immediately. Instead, Jesus further clarified and emphasized the true meaning of his words by declaring,

“I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Our forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever. He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.” (Jn 6:53-58)

Rather than quieting the crowd which had broken out into arguments about what he had just told them, Jesus pressed his point home even more emphatically: “my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” In fact, whereas he had initially said positively, ”If a man eats of this bread, he will live forever,” now he has just stated the negative result of failing to do so: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” Thus, Jesus has clarified his meaning by stating what happens if we do – and do not – eat his flesh and drink his blood.

The next verse is particularly revealing: “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (Jn 6:60) Notice that it was not Jesus’ typical enemies, the Pharisees and Sadducees, who rejected his teaching on this occasion but his disciples – those believers who followed him from place to place and hailed him as the Messiah. They had seen Jesus perform many miracles and heard him teach wondrous things. But this was too much even for them.

“Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said this 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.” Jn 6:61-64

The gospel continues: “From this time, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “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.” Jn 6:66-69

There is a lot going on in these three verses; let’s look at them closely. After hearing Jesus declare that his flesh is real food and his blood is real drink, his disciples, his followers, could not accept his words and no longer followed him. Of course, if they had understood that his body and blood were being used as symbols, they would have had no complaint. It was precisely because they understood exactly what Jesus meant that they refused to follow him any longer. Therefore, there can be no doubt as to what the eyewitnesses understood Jesus to be saying.

(cont.)


#10

Now, imagine the scene: Jesus has been teaching a crowd, and many of them have gotten up to leave because they could not or would not accept his words. In rejecting his teaching, they rejected the one who gave it and turned their backs on the savior of the world. Thus, their souls were at risk of eternal separation from God. Jesus came to seek and save what was lost; therefore, if these disciples had a simple misunderstanding of the metaphorical language he had used that might cause them to spend eternity in Hell, Jesus would have corrected their error. But we do not see him following them out the door and down the street saying, “Wait, everyone. I think there’s been a misunderstanding … let me explain what I meant.” Jesus could not correct a misunderstanding because there had been none.

Instead, he watched sadly as they departed and then turned to the Twelve, the closest of his disciples, and put the question directly to them: “What about you? Are you leaving too?” In doing so, Jesus was risking everything he had been working for since he had first called Simon and Andrew to follow him by the shore of the Sea of Galilee. If the Twelve had abandoned him at this crucial moment, Jesus would have had to begin again with a new group of Apostles to whom he would entrust his teachings and upon whom he would build his church. By God’s grace, Simon Peter, the first among the Apostles, responded in faith acknowledging that Jesus is the Holy One of God and accepting this difficult teaching.


#11

Here is an interesting point to ask him about. Specifically the word used in those verses for "eat" in John 6. The author changes verbs. The first means to "eat", but the second means to "gnaw" or "munch". Doesn't sound very symbolic to me. I would be curious his response.

Here is a note about that verb used:

[6:54–58] Eats: the verb used in these verses is not the classical Greek verb used of human eating, but that of animal eating: “munch,” “gnaw.” This may be part of John’s emphasis on the reality of the flesh and blood of Jesus (cf. Jn 6:55), but the same verb eventually became the ordinary verb in Greek meaning “eat.”


#12

If Jesus was only speaking symbolically, then he wouldn't have lost any followers on the day that he uttered those words.

"This is too hard to take" is not a response given to a symbolic teaching. I've never seen any Protestant explanation get around that, either.


#13

[quote="Adamski, post:1, topic:338882"]
I have a friend who is a Baptist pastor and he says John 6:47 shows that Jesus was only speaking symbolically in John 6:53. And it not even talking about bread at all but faith only.

I am going to forward him this link. If people could expand on this in the contexted of catholic teaching

Here is the passages

New International Version. John 6:47
Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

New International Version. John 6:53
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.

[/quote]

If it was merely about faith then what was the big deal? Why did the crowd walk away?


#14

Most likely the pastor will come back and say the people misunderstood Jesus for taking his words to eat his flesh and drink his blood literally. If he says this go back and ask when was the last time Jesus allowed his followers to misunderstanding him? As a good teacher Jesus ALWAYS made sure his followers understood his teachings.

Jesus said to them, "Look out, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees”. They concluded among themselves, saying, "It is because we have brought no bread." When Jesus became aware of this he said, "You of little faith, why do you conclude among yourselves that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand, and do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many wicker baskets you took up? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up? How do you not comprehend that I was not speaking to you about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that he was not telling them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees - Matthew 16:6-12


#15

Thanks for everyone’s help Im going to forward this to him


#16

In John 6 wherein Jesus spoke of the Old Testament manna the Jews knew what He was talking about. They knew the story of how God provided food for His people. So they understood Jesus to be speaking literally about a material food. So when Jesus then speaks of the New Testament manna, His Body, the Jews are still understanding Him to speaking literally about a material food. That is why they and some of Jesus' followers, are so aghast. Jesus is teaching them here and he knows they are misunderstanding Him. This is no parable so He owes them an explanation. And so He gives them one. He says, "My words are spirit..." He does not say His words are figurative. 'Spirit' is not the opposite of literal. Spirit is the opposite of material. Jesus says nothing about the literalness of His words. He only corrects their understanding that He is speaking literally about a spiritual food. This is the New Test ment manna that is come down from heaven. The OT manna was a literal material food. That is why Jesus says that those who ate of it still died. But the NT manna will be a literal spiritual food and those who partake of it will not die but live forever.
Couple this with the events at the Last Supper and you have the total picture.


#17

[quote="Adamski, post:15, topic:338882"]
Thanks for everyone's help Im going to forward this to him

[/quote]

Great - please let us know how it went ;)


#18

Just as an aside of interest... the idea of flesh sacrifice within a sacrificial meal has been present in man since the dawn of time. In his most primitive and uncomplicated state, man has a deep longing for a true and real relationship with his 'Maker'. That 'communion' between man and Maker, is ritually and reverently shown by the varying forms in ancient times through (quite horrifically) human sacrifice and animal sacrifice (as the host for human sacrifice-more civilised).

It is not unreasonable to accept that this longing for communion with our Maker still stirs in the very essence of the human being and that by transubstantiation, a 'host' takes on the real presence of the human sacrifice as per that long known and practiced natural instinct of men.


#19

[quote="Adamski, post:1, topic:338882"]
I have a friend who is a Baptist pastor and he says John 6:47 shows that Jesus was only speaking symbolically in John 6:53. And it not even talking about bread at all but faith only.

[/quote]

Have you had any further discussions with your friend? How'd it go?


#20

[quote="ezeekl, post:16, topic:338882"]
In John 6 wherein Jesus spoke of the Old Testament manna the Jews knew what He was talking about. They knew the story of how God provided food for His people. So they understood Jesus to be speaking literally about a material food. So when Jesus then speaks of the New Testament manna, His Body, the Jews are still understanding Him to speaking literally about a material food. That is why they and some of Jesus' followers, are so aghast. Jesus is teaching them here and he knows they are misunderstanding Him. This is no parable so He owes them an explanation. And so He gives them one. He says, "My words are spirit..." He does not say His words are figurative. 'Spirit' is not the opposite of literal. Spirit is the opposite of material. Jesus says nothing about the literalness of His words. He only corrects their understanding that He is speaking literally about a spiritual food. This is the New Test ment manna that is come down from heaven. The OT manna was a literal material food. That is why Jesus says that those who ate of it still died. But the NT manna will be a literal spiritual food and those who partake of it will not die but live forever.
Couple this with the events at the Last Supper and you have the total picture.

[/quote]

wow, just WOW:thumbsup:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.