John 6:63?


I do believe as Jesus said in John 6:55 - “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” But a little bit further down is where I am having trouble. In John 6:63, He says, “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” It seems that our Lord is saying that His flesh and blood should be thought of spiritually. Maybe there is somebody out there that can see where my confusion is coming from and help me understand it where both John 6:55 and 6:63 can be seen as compatible because, at the moment, it really doesn’t. Thanks in advance and God bless you all.



In 6:63 Jesus is speaking of ‘the flesh’ generally, not referring to His own flesh.

Clearly HIS flesh avails everything, otherwise He would not have given it up for us on the cross, for it would have been neither necessary nor profitable to do so.


Grasping at Straws: John 6:63

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken are spirit and they are life.”(John 6:63)

These words were spoken by Jesus shortly after delivering his teaching on the Eucharist, and some people claim that they indicate that Jesus was speaking figuratively when he commanded us to eat his body and drink his blood. However, this would be a misunderstanding of what Jesus meant when he said,“the flesh counts for nothing.”

First, notice that whenever Jesus referred to his own body and blood, he said"my flesh"or"the flesh of the Son of Man". Here are the examples:

“This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

"Jesus said to them, “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.” (John 6:53-56)

At this point, the narrative explains that the disciples were on the verge of revolt over this teaching. Jesus tells them that they cannot understand this teaching with their natural minds. Here is the verse in context: “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ 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.’” (John 6:60-63)

In John 6:63, Jesus uses the phrase “the flesh” instead of “my flesh” or “the flesh of the Son of Man” because he is not talking about his own body; he is referring to man’s natural, unenlightened rational intellect.

Jesus tells the grumbling Jews (who can’t understand how he would give them his flesh to eat) that they cannot grasp it with their natural minds because it is a mystery beyond the ability of “the flesh” to understand. This is the same manner of speaking used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 2 & 3 when he is distinguishing between fleshly or carnal Christians and those who are discern the things of God with their spirits.

Second, it might be worth noting the obvious fact that Jesus cannot be saying that HIS own flesh “counts for nothing” otherwise his death upon the cross would be meaningless. Instead, we know that his own body, his flesh, was broken and pierced for our sake; no Christian would deny that. Therefore, since HIS flesh does count for something, he must have been referring to “flesh” other than his own in v. 63.

Thus, the one verse that many Protestants cling to as an argument against the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist does not mean what they falsely claim it means. Ironically, their “proof text” points out precisely why they cannot understand the Eucharist: they are using their flesh instead of their spirits to discern the things of God. Unfortunately, their flesh “counts for nothing”.


My :twocents: …
I think Jesus’ words in John 6:63 describe the Sacraments. Each Sacrament has an outward sign that conveys spiritual grace. For instance, Baptism has the outward sign of a triple washing in water and the Eucharist has the outward sign of blessed bread and wine, etc. The unspiritual man, the man of the flesh, sees only ordinary water and only ordinary bread and wine, etc., and does not profit from the Sacraments. The spiritual man, the man of the spirit, believes that with the washing in water comes forgiveness of sins and with the outward appearance of bread and wine comes the substantial presence of the Body and Blood of Christ, etc., and greatly profits (obtains eternal life) from the Sacraments.

The words Jesus spoke in his Bread of Life discourse concern the Sacrament of the Eucharist, a spiritual reality, a reality not apparant from its outward sign alone, that will profit those who believe unto eternal life.

St. Paul seems to take up this same theme in 1 Corinthians 2:12-14:Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. 14The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Jesus is not saying that his presence in the Eucharist is only spiritual but that his Real Presence in the Eucharist is spiritually discerned, can only be discern by a spiritual man.


YES … His flesh should be though of spiritually.
But … some make the mistake of thinking this means symbolically.
Equating these two (spiritually, symbolically)have odd consequences. We do not baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Symbolic.

It seems to me that some people see the spirit as a shadow of our fleshy reality.
I tend to think it is just the opposite.
The spirit is more ‘real’ than our flesh.
I think this is what Jesus is talking about.
I think when (if) we get to heaven we will be MORE alive than we are now.
We just cannot, with our earthly minds, fully understand the reality of our spirit.

Do not make the mistake of equating ‘spiritually’, with ‘symbolically’.



Michael’s point in the post above is the crux of the issue: nowhere in Scripture is “spiritual” used to mean “symbolic.”


Hi !
Interesting to note, at the last supper Jesus did not use the meat of the lamb, but bread when He said this is My body; and this falls right in line with John 6.

Peace, OneNow1


Jesus uses a similar construct in Mt 16:17:

“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”

Flesh and blood (“the flesh”) is of no avail in discerning the truths of the faith, or in attaining eternal life. Only by the grace and power of God can we do either.


Cool! The Lamb of God using the bread to give us the Bread of Life, the flesh and blood fo the Lamb of God! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Do you find it perplexing that John never says anything in his last supper accounts about eating it leading to eternal life?


John recorded what happened at the last supper.
No perplexification going on.

I do, however, find it very interesting that John’s gospel includes what we see in Chapter 6, while the synoptic gospels do not.

John’s gospel was written later than the synoptics, right?
It seems that he includes this in what we call Chapter 6 to be sure it was understood… like it was a clarification.
His Chapter 6 gives ‘meat’ to the discussion of the Eucharist.
(sorry for the pun)



No, I don’t. Do you find it perplexing why the Holy Spirit didn’t inspire any of the authors of Scripture to tell us what books are to be in the Bible, an inspired “table of contents”?


This is exactly what I was thinking. We have to have faith in order to believe the words Jesus Christ said and take them at their face value. That faith comes from above. That faith comes from the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was not talking symbolically at all. Otherwise the disciples who were murmuring among themselves wouldn’t have been so troubled over this teaching. Why would anyone walk away from a teaching like this if it was just symbolic? That would be nonsense. And notice, Jesus did not stop those who walked away.

Curtis, please watch my video “Jesus Christ in the Eucharist - The Real Presence.” [size=](same as the one in my siggy) It’s simple and to the point. A child could understand this.[/size]


Since John is the only one who mentions the bread of life discourse you would think that he would tie it in with his last supper account since it is such an important teaching.


I don’t get your comment. Are you saying that eating the flesh of Jesus Christ does not lead to eternal life? Then explain these passages to me:

John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

John 6:53-58 “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. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on 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 whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread [size=]will live forever.”[/size]

Do you realize that the anti-Christ (mark of the beast, 666) is the one who denies God come in the flesh. And that’s not just the fact that Jesus was born into this world, not just that the Word was made flesh. But also the fact that Jesus remains with us in the flesh here in every tabernacle of every Catholic Church in the world.

John 6:66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
Don’t walk away from Jesus in the Eucharist.


Following the same reasoning, you would think the canon of Scripture, a very important Christian doctrine, would be mentioned in Scripture, instead of being developed over the first 350 years of Christianity.


Thanks for the link…I’ll try not to take the “a child could understand this” comment as a personal insult lol Thanks again.


John 6:66 always struck me as the true mark of the beast. If that verse doesnt stick out to you, I dont think any would. They denied the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and believed no longer. That epitomizes the mark of the beast in my opinion.


Oh my goodness, that was not an insult to you or to anyone for that matter. I’m sorry you took it that way. I said that because one of my YouTube subscribers said that about the video. I just wanted you to know that this explanation of the teaching is very simple that a child could understand it. It was not meant as an insult to anyone.


I know it wasnt…you were just trying to help and I thank you for that…just a little good-natured ribbing :slight_smile: If there is anything that truly needs clarification, it is the Holy Eucharist. If you truly understand the Eucharist and the Real Presence, other church doctrines are easy to understand by comparison.

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