What does the "flesh and blood" of Christ refer to, for non-Catholic/Orthodox Christians?

Simple question for non-Catholic/Orthodox Christians. What does the “flesh and blood” of Christ refer to when he said,

“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.” (John 6:53-56)

For Lutheran, eating Christ’s Body and drinking Christ’s Blood is for the forgiveness of sins. From Luther’s Small Catechism:

As the Head of a Family Should Teach It in a Simple Way to His Household
What is the Sacrament of the Altar?
Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.
Where is this written?
Answer: The holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul, write:
Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”
In the same way also, He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?
Answer: That is shown us in these words, “Given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” This means that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.
How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?
Answer: It is not the eating and drinking, indeed, that does them, but the words, which are given here, “Given … and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” These words are, beside the bodily eating and drinking, the chief thing in the Sacrament. The person who believes these words has what they say and express, namely, the forgiveness of sins.
Who, then, receives such Sacrament worthily?
Answer: Fasting and bodily preparation are, indeed, fine outward training. But a person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words, “Given … and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
But anyone who does not believe these words, or doubts, is unworthy and unfit. For the words “for you” require hearts that truly believe.

I recommend the section from His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk’s Catechism. It sums it up rather nicely. :slight_smile:

In Christ,

I believe it refers to what Jesus said it refered to.

27Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that **ye believe on him whom he hath sent. **

33For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

34Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and **he that believeth on me shall never thirst. **

36But I said unto you, That **ye also have seen me, and believe not. **

40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

47Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

48I am that bread of life.

49Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

50This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

**56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. **

57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: **so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. **

58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Jesus came to this earth that we might have faith in Him and thereby gain eternal life. We find out who He is by the words He spoke.

63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

This is confimed by Peter

68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou **hast the words of eternal life. **

We find out who Jesus is by hearing His words and we gain eternal life by accepting Him as our Lord and Savior.

Just like how we physically need bread and water to survive, we spiritually need Jesus’ flesh and blood to survive.

Oh. Perhaps I was not careful in my wording of the question. The question is directed towards non - (Catholic or Orthodox) Christians, i.e. those Christians who are neither Catholic nor Orthodox! But thanks for the link!

Oops! My apologies. :smiley:

In Christ,

From the Eucharist service in the Book of Common Prayer, the prayer of Humble Access gives a good idea how we understand this:

WE do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, Trusting in our own righteousness, But in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy So much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, Whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, So to eat the Flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, And to drink his Blood, That our sinful bodies may be made clean by his Body, And our souls washed through his most precious Blood, And that we may evermore dwell in him, And he in us. Amen.

I see RK has been intentionally skipping verses and I wonder why.

OP, Catholics and Orthodoxs have valid eucharist, meaning that the church have valid clergy to consecrate bread and wine. Many denominations also believe in the real pressence, but not the Catholic version (i.e. Jesus’ actual body and blood under the appearances of those species) and/or they don’t have valid clergy to minister the eucharist, such as Luthereans, Anglicans, etc.

:confused: I’m not sure what this has to do with the OP?

For Lutherans, is means is.

Given that the Catholic Church herself says the Orthodox have valid Sacraments, that already tells us what they refer to when they say “flesh and blood” of Christ.

So the flesh and blood refer to the real flesh and blood of Jesus, now under the species of bread and wine. Correct?

You mean his real human flesh and blood? No?

So you’re saying that the flesh and blood of Jesus are his words?

Yes. Though “real” is one of those words that can be very slippery when you dig down into it.

But do you worship the bread and wine now turned into the body and blood of Christ?

Well, normally we eat it, but I think it would be accurate to say that includes worship.

That is the view of your church, but that is not the view of the LC-MS, is just as valid as yours, our Sacraments are just as valid as RC Sacraments.

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