Berean Baptist Church > Blog > Eating His Flesh and Drinking His Blood

Recently we looked at John 6:53-54.

53 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. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

Let’s recap how we should understand these two verses. The words “truly, truly” emphasize how important these words are to Christian theology. Christ promises eternal life to whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood. These words are so plain that the Roman Catholic Church created within the Lord’s Supper a doctrine that the Eucharist is transformed into the flesh and blood of Christ, such that Catholics can know they are eating his flesh and drinking his blood and can be assured of having eternal life.

Baptists and Protestants reject this interpretation of John 6:53-54 as unorthodox. The wafer of the communion does not metaphysically change—it does not become the flesh and blood of Christ. Instead, Jesus’ references to flesh and blood take us to the heart of the gospel. Jesus was born with flesh and blood. Christ suffered for the sins of humanity in His flesh. His flesh died. Read Hebrews 2:14. Blood represents the life of a living being. Christ’s blood represents His life. Drinking Christ’s blood takes us directly to His death. Flesh and blood unite to take us to the heart of the Gospel. And the heart of the Gospel is that Christ died for my sins. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb 9:22). The shedding of blood in this context is not merely the pouring out of blood from Christ. Christ had to die. His death in the flesh and blood is what makes the forgiveness of sin possible.

So how do I eat Christ’s flesh? How do I drink His blood if it isn’t through the Lord’s Supper? Eating and drinking start with believing. In John 6:47, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” Since those who believe have eternal life and those who eat His flesh and drink His blood have eternal life, there must be a relationship between believing and eating/drinking.

I eat the flesh of Christ and I drink the blood of Christ when I believe in what Jesus accomplished on the cross for me. When I rely on Christ’s cross work for the forgiveness of my sins I am drinking his blood. When I sing praise of God for the Gospel of Jesus I am eating His flesh. When I meditate on the sufficiency of the Son of God’s eternal sacrifice, I am drinking from the eternal blood of the new covenant. When I reject obedience to the law for righteousness and trust in God’s grace, I am eating the flesh of Christ. Each and every time I remind myself of Christ’s substitutionary atonement, I am nourished from the flesh of Christ, and my thirst for assurance of eternal life is satisfied.

Are you feeding on the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ?