John Chapter 6 - proof of our Eucharist! but here a protestant argument


Someone asked me earliest today, what my favorite Bible passage is – and as a person growing in my faith, I’ve started to have “favorites” which is great. After attending a Scott Hahn retreat on the Lamb’s Supper, Heaven on Earth etc, I’ve really enjoyed Chapter 6 of the Gospel John …“For my flesh is true food, and my blood true drink…” – its beautiful.

So while searching on the internet, that untamed wild source of information, I came across an anti-catholic website, that brings up another part of chapter 6. I was wondering if anyone else would like rebut this anit-catholic’s arguement. This is the
… The person quotes John 6:63
*Aren’t you forgetting to read the last verse of this passage (John 6:63) which shows [Jesus] didn’t mean this literally?

It is the SPIRIT that quickeneth; THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING: THE WORDS I SPEAK ARE SPIRIT, and they are life.
In His knowledge that the Catholic religion would twist this, He made it clear that He was not speaking literally.
Personally, I’d have a hard time arguing that point if brought up to my face, but I’d love to hear some apologists take a swing :slight_smile:


Whoa that is a horrible website.(I went to the home page of that site)…we should pray for them. I don’t think I’ll ever go to other websites like that.


The New American Bible has it (Chapter 6 in context of statements immediately before and after questioned text):

Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

His words were spirit AND life- I don’t see the inconsistency here.

In fact, as the passage continues on to say: the words of our Lord were so radical that many followers quit right there. I agree with the disciples- those words are “hard”- but Christ refused to back down even if it meant losing a large portion of his crowd.


This is actually easy to refute because the scriptures are very clear.

The Eucharist IS Scriptural

[FONT=Verdana][size=3]Simply look at the other passages about the Eucharist and the writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch (which shows us plainly that he was taught the Eucharistic Real Presence by St. John the apostle himself.) and that St. Paul obviously believed in it

That website is garbage. I’d steer clear of it unless you have a lot of headache meds in your house. :rolleyes: They misrepresent so many things…

BTW, check out the notes from that passage in the Douay-Rheims Bible.
[/size][/FONT]64 “The flesh profiteth nothing”… Dead flesh separated from the spirit, in the gross manner they supposed they were to eat his flesh, would profit nothing. Neither doth man’s flesh, that is to say, man’s natural and carnal apprehension, (which refuses to be subject to the spirit, and words of Christ,) profit any thing. But it would be the height of blasphemy, to say the living flesh of Christ (which we receive in the blessed sacarament, with his spirit, that is, with his soul and divinity) profiteth nothing. For if Christ’s flesh had profited us nothing, he would never have taken flesh for us, nor died in the flesh for us.

64 “Are spirit and life”… By proposing to you a heavenly sacrament, in which you shall receive, in a wonderful manner, spirit, grace, and life, in its very fountain.


Hi jmoburg !

This objection has been several times refuted on the forum, and you can be confident you would not have hard time with that.:slight_smile:

Consider eg this way some problems with using 63 to put into a supposedly figurative perspective the whole “bread of life” speach in 48-58.

In 63 the Lord is saying “the flesh”, while in the speach in every single case you have “MY flesh”. Now, we know that the expression “the flesh” is used elsewhere by Jesus to mean mere human thought or our weaknesses. Remember eg “Blessed are you Simon … . For flesh and blood …” in Matthew 16.
(And in every time, for example, “by the flesh” only, we cannot accept that eucharistic bread is His Body :slight_smile: )

In the bread of life passage you have “my flesh”. The Lord’s own flesh, not “the flesh” of human thought and weakness.

It is “His Flesh” ! If we do not forget the centrality of Incarnation we know (differently from the disciples in THAT stage)
that The Word, the Logos, became flesh. So the Lord’s flesh, which is flesh indeed, not figuratively so ( unless we go back to complete docetism and reject Incarnation), is **the **Word.




It is the SPIRIT that quickeneth; THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING: THE WORDS I SPEAK ARE SPIRIT, and they are life.

*Protestants in general, and anti-Catholics in particular, will insist that “THE WORDS I SPEAK” mean every word Jesus spoke in the Gospels. This is not true for two reasons.

  1. It is obvious to Catholics that Jesus is refering to the words He just spoke in the Bread of Life Discourse. Jesus is not refering to all his words he ever spoke, but to the words he just finished speaking. What needs refuting is scriptural nearsightedness by one-verse-theologians.

  2. They walked away (John 6:66) Jesus asks, “Will you walk away too?”, Peter says, "To whom shall we go, Lord, you have THE WORDS of eternal life. What words did Jesus just use in reference to eternal life?

  3. FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING. does a great job with this one.

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.”

THE WORDS I SPEAK ARE SPIRIT, and they are life.
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.

IMHO, all arguments opposing the Real Substantial Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist are based on Gnosticism.


If someone says this tell them to read 65-68

6:65. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that did not
believe and who he was that would betray him.
6:66. And he said: Therefore did I say to you that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father.
6:67. After this, many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him.
6:68. Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away?

Tell them that Jesus is now talking to them directly in these verses. Jesus knew that THEY would NOT believe, that THEY would no longer walk with Him. It is THEY who have given up their full faith in Christ by rejecting the belief in the Real Precence of Christ in the Eucharist.


So well put everyone. I always feel that to take an anti-Catholic stab takes little effort, but to explain our position is often involved. I love that we have the depth, and other Bible scriptures to help us show consistency. It takes true conversion of the heart, and a forfeit of pride for many people to start looking at everything the Catholic Church is, vs trying to prove what it isn’t or shouldn’t be.


Fundamentalist are basically fearful people. They want quick one-liner buzz-phrases and formulas that they can cling to as fear pacifiers. These are always fractional truths and become just like superstitious charms.

So, one must confront the fundamentalist with a more ostensibly potent jingoistic trinket than the one they are holding. They must be progressively forced to replace one with the other to eventually come to realize that their entire belief system of one-liner theology is just wrong.

What I am proposing is shock therapy. It is a last resort when reason fails. It should only be used with emotionally stable individuals and in extreme cases where the person is so blinded by hatred and bigotry of Catholics that this is the only way to get their attention. I hate personally to stoop to the fundamentalist level but sometimes this is the only way to engage certain individuals. Its like ‘fighting fire with fire’ and it invokes a benevolent behavioral change through stress adaptation. The objective is to awaken a small corridor of objectivity within a subjective mind. If we can do that then a person has a chance of being enlightened to truth by God’s workings through the Holy Spirit.

A fundamentalist principal fear is they will go to hell if they do not ‘truly, truly, truly, truly, truly, really, not-kidding… believe that Jesus will save them.’ Their 2nd biggest fear is that we are in the end-times and the anti-christ is possibly lurking under every rock, government leader or neighborhood Catholic Church in the world. Their 3rd biggest fear is they are going to miss the rapture buss (which they equate with not being saved) and will have to live through all the anti-christ’s tribulations. Their 4th biggest fear is that The Catholics (and what their own inner-conscience tells them) just might be right; there might really be no free-lunch to sin and OSAS just might really be a doctrine of man. Fear number four scares them since it means they might really need to repent for each sin and make restitution or face the consequence of hell; and in the bliss of OSAS they totally lost count of all their sins.

So when reason fail, fight fire with fire; fear against fear.

Just tell these people to take a bigger bite of The Word and read all of John 6:41-6:66. Then tell them that Jesus marks those that rejected His teaching about Eucharist with the sign of the beast just like he did in the verse number used in John 6:66 that condemns them! :smiley:
You may have to go to confession after this one though. :blush: To avoid the possibility of that reframe it as a rhetorical question : “Did John mark those people who rejected Jesus’ word just like He did the number of the beast in John 6:66”?

This will immediately force them to simultaneously confront their top four fears and through panic create a real opportunity for them to reevaluate their entire fundamentalist philosophy (which is a false religion of man).

The only danger here is if one of them really is anti-christ - so better have your blessed religious medal on when you do it. :wink:



Spirit. Life. The Blood is the Life. The Blood gives Life to the Body. Of course, Jesus is Divine, and so we come back to Jesus’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.


… The person quotes John 6:63
*Aren’t you forgetting to read the last verse of this passage (John 6:63) which shows [Jesus] didn’t mean this literally?

It is the SPIRIT that quickeneth; THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING: THE WORDS I SPEAK ARE SPIRIT, and they are life.
In His knowledge that the Catholic religion would twist this, He made it clear that He was not speaking literally.

Heck, that’s not an argument against the Eucharist. That’s an argument against Christianity. If Christ’s flesh didn’t profit the world then we all need to change religions.

Just another case where a Protestant argument against the Church looks more like an atheist argument against Christianity. That seems to happen a lot.


That’s a fascinating observation, but also a potentially risky approach - if the person you’re questioning is aware that the chapter verse divisions were not added until much, much later, then their next question is probably going to be “Do you consider the table of contents and the footnotes to be sacred scripture also?”

There is a wealth of support for the eucharist in the text, old testament as well as new. For example there is a great Jewish commentary on the book of Genesis by a Rabbi Gottlieb, which goes into the significance of certain phrasings in biblical hebrew - one of the conclusions he draws is that there are two commandments given in the garden of Eden, not one: “Eat you shall eat” referring to all the other trees in the garden, and “Die you shall die” referring to the tree of good and evil (double verb usage indicates emphasis in hebrew). From this, the Rabbi concludes, God was telling them to eat of the other trees in a prayerful manner, not merely giving them permission to eat, and speculates whether, had they done as he commanded, they would have been imbued with spiritual strength and grace to resist temptation and prevent what happened next.

So from the first engagement between God and man, God expresses a desire for man to literally consume his spiritual bounty - the advent of Christ renews that original plan. Of course Rabbi Gottlieb does not recognise this final point or he wouldn’t still be Jewish :slight_smile: Don’t forget to tell your protestant friend that this source for the eucharist comes from Jewish tradition though - as we know from the history of the deuterocanonical texts, the protestant movement has more faith in Jewish tradition than it does in our Catholic tradition.


Thanks for the Jewish insights - that adds some interesting texture and dimension to the whole Eucharistic tie in with Genesis. This adds directly to my own private exegesis of Eucharist as salvific fruit from the Tree of Life to remedy the poison of the fruit stolen from the Tree of Good-and-Evil. If Protestants ever made a conscious connection to this they should be standing in line at their nearest Catholic Church banging to door down to get catechised and accepted into our faith. It’s clear that Jesus was not kidding when He said ‘if you do not eat My Body you have NO life in you’. The implication is very clear - you go to hell for two reasons 1) Directly disobeying Jesus’ explicit commandment and 2) Perishing by being cutoff from the restorative and transforming divine graces received only through Eucharist.

On the matter of the chapter-verse designations being added in much later. Yes, of course I agree. The rebuttal approach was intended to be a layered one that compels these individuals away from a fundamentalist mindset. If a person has enough insight to know that the verse and chapter references are not added in to “the bible” until around the 1550s this brings us to near to the time of Luther’s tinkering with the bible. From there I think somone could simultaneous with asking them why they don’t partake of Eucharist as Jesus commanded also make a case that the chapter-verse breakouts for academic usage may have encouraged an inappropropriate fundamentalist microscopic scriptural view that directly contributed to Protestantism. At any rate it opens the door to intelligent dialog rather than a shouting match of “it says this” and “no it says that”.



I might be wrong, but aren’t they arguing that Jesus’ flesh is His word?

If so, wouldn’t that mean that Jesus’ word profits nothing?

Obviously not.


Ryan :slight_smile:


Never thought about that, but it’s a brilliant observation.

In a similar vein, if Jesus’ “flesh” was God’s teaching, why at the Last Supper didn’t Jesus hold up the Scriptures when he said “This is my body” etc?


I think my off the cuff response would be: “Since when does Spirit imply symbolic or not literal. The Bible says that God is a spirit does this mean He is merely symbolic or that we should not take the existence of God literally? Further does this mean that the Holy Spirit is merely symbolic?” If they still wanted to press the issue then the other posters have done an excellent job dismantling the standpoint in detail.


Jesus is saying that it is impossible with the human mind (carnal/flesh) to understand what He means because He is speaking about spiritual realities:

13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. 14 The 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. 1 Cor 2:12-14

We know He is not saying it is not real flesh, because if He is speaking about “symbolic” flesh, then it follows that His own flesh on the cross is of no avail, which we know is not right. Jesus did not give His “symbolic” flesh for the life of the world.


The test of sincerity that any Protestant or non-Catholic owes herself is to simply ask which crowd of people do they most identify with in John’s account about The Bread of Life. Do they see themselves in the crowd who departed Jesus while saying ‘who is this man who tells us we must eat his body (symbolically :rolleyes: or not )’ or do they identify with the crowd who stays with Jesus to hear Him say ‘and will you to depart from me?’.

To this most Protestants and others will say to themselves symbolically in protest ‘Lord, Lord, how can we leave you when you have the words of everlasting life!?’. Yet, it is clear by their protest and currently embraced teaching that they have only a symbolic representation of Jesus and DO NOT have the words of everlasting life since they blatantly refused to partake of it literally and physically. This is why Jesus said ‘not everyone who calls me Lord Lord will enter into my Kingdom’.

Jesus wants more than lip service obedience to His commandments and knows that no can claim that they love Him without doing what He commands. Jesus commands that we take him at His literal word and put aside our pride in hearing only what we want to hear and being disobedient to His appointed leadership on earth.

I don’t imagine how Jesus could have said any clearer that ‘my body is real food’. One more question for Protestants, how would YOU have made Jesus to say this to know it was truth and if He made it more clear would you still reject His teaching like the people did in John 6:66? If Jesus had said ‘anyone who does not eat my body present only at the altar of my Church built on the Rock of Peter’ would you still depart from Jesus teaching to follow the traditions and false teaching of a man named Luther and his lessor demi-gods 1500 years later? Is eternity not even worth the benefit of the doubt?

If not bye (I can’t say goodbye here), because you part company with eternal Life in this disbelief and purposely choose to walk down to the pit; there is no good to be had in this decision. You have judged yourself as unworthy of eternal life and have self elected hell over heaven; disbelief over belief, pride over obedience, self love, over selfless love.

But if you deem the benefit of the doubt worthy of consideration - pray as if your eternal life depends on it to come into a full belief. Then come into the Catholic Church - the ONLY apostolic church in existence for 2000 years that has been breaking the Bread of Eternal Life, The Body of Christ on God’s Altar since the day Jesus first gave His commandment to “Eat My Body”.



I see your point, but a good Catholic would say “the NT scriptures weren’t written yet”. :smiley:

Your post has me thinking about another senario that wouldn’t make sense to us.

[quote=OP’s website]To believe is to accept, internalize, and absorb which is what eating is–allowing an outside substance to come inside of you. But unlike physical bread which is eaten and cast out through the digestive system, the spiritual bread, the word of God, is eaten/internalized through belief and never cast out.

It is the SPIRIT that quickeneth; THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING: THE WORDS I SPEAK ARE SPIRIT, and they are life.

“This is my word, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my spirit, which will be shed for you.:confused:

I’ve never actully heard anyone suggest that, but what other conclusion is there? Wouldn’t the last supper PROFITETH NOTHING otherwise? :shrug:


Ryan :slight_smile:

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