Aside from the obvious Biblical applications about atoning blood, I find another worth mentioning. John 6 is not about the Lord’s Supper. John 6 is about commitment.
A sizable crowd had begun following Jesus on a regular basis. They had been hanging around long enough to see several miracles, hear several parables, even be fed at his hand from five small loaves of bread and a couple of fish. It was time, Jesus decided, to ask them to be more than hangers on, more than groupies enamored with the publicity of the local celebrity.
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. 6:53-55.
Far from believing he meant this literally, I think when they said things like, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they were just trying to avoid the obvious. They were not in this for the long haul. They didn’t want to get that involved. They just wanted something fun and interesting to do for a few days.
Jesus forced them to a decision. This is not something you can do half-heartedly. This is not something you can do while giving a lot of yourself to something else too. I must be your sustenance, he was saying to them. Nothing else should matter to you.
And they knew exactly what he meant. After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him, v 66.
I am afraid some of us are not even that honest. We want to pretend we are living off the Lord, eating and drinking him night and day, when it is merely a pleasant pastime on the weekends, a source of comfort should a family member become ill, and a handy group for wedding and baby showers. (Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves, v 26.) The Lord tells us we might as well leave with the rest of the crowd.
Why? Because when we are running a quart low of Jesus, we will be too weak to withstand temptations and trials. When we are running a quart low, our zeal will eventually grow cold. We need as much of him as we can hold to overcome, to grow, and to change our characters, ready to live faithfully even to the point of death. We cannot do it any other way.
Lev 17:11 says, “The life of flesh is in the blood.” I have a new appreciation of that fact since that long summer of anemia. Don’t make yourself spiritually anemic, and then expect God to reward you with eternal life.
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 will live forever." John 6:57,58.