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Thursday, July 21, 2011

8 Reasons Jesus was being literal in John 6

The Eucharist, or communion is the source and the summit of our Catholic faith, but many people believe that Jesus’ words at the last supper and John 6 should be taken symbolically, not literally.

There may be more, but I found 8 Reasons that Jesus meant John 6 literally.
Remind out listeners the part of John 6 that we are talking about.
John 6:53-58 Jesus therefore 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 yourselves. "He who eats 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. "He who eats 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 he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me. "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever."
Let’s go through the reasons

1. Context of four other eating events – Passover, multiplication of the loaves, manna, tree of life.
John 6:4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.
- Jews eat Lamb on Passover.
John 6:13 And so they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten.
- Crowd ate bread and fish.
John 6:31-32 "Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.'" Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.
- Israel in the desert ate manna.
John 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh." - Adam and Eve were kept from eating of the tree of life in Genesis 3:22 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever "--

2. Repetition of command and instruction that Jesus is to be eaten.
John 6:35 I am the bread of life;
John 6:41 I am the bread that came down out of heaven
John 6:48 I am the bread of life.
John 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh."
John 6:53 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 yourselves.
John 6:54 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life
John 6:55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
John 6:56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

3. Change of vocabulary from eat to gnaw.
Fago – 11 times – can mean eat, consume, devour
To trogo - 4 times – gnaw, crunch, eat – gets more explicit.

John 6:5 Jesus...said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat (FAGO)?"
John 6:23 There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate(FAGO) the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate(FAGO) of the loaves, and were filled.
John 6:31 "Our fathers ate(FAGO) the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat(FAGO).'"
John 6:49 "Your fathers ate(FAGO) the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
John 6:50 "This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat(FAGO) of it and not die.
John 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats(FAGO) of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh."
John 6:52 The Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat(FAGO)?"
John 6:53 Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat(FAGO) the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
John 6:54 "He who eats(TROGO) My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
John 6:56 "He who eats(TROGO) My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
John 6:57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats(TROGO) Me, he also shall live because of Me.
John 6:58 "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate(FAGO), and died, he who eats(TROGO) this bread shall live forever."
s before?

4. Symbolic doesn’t make sense – persecution.
Some people say that when Jesus said - eat my flesh and drink my blood - that he was speaking in a symbolic or metaphorical sense. Yet this interpretation would not make sense because in the Jewish mind they had two interpretations of -to eat flesh and blood - the literal and the symbolic which meant to persecute someone.
Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.
- Is this woman in Revelation literally drinking blood of saints - no she is persecuting them. Besides you can't get drunk on blood.
Micah 3:2-3 "You who hate good and love evil... who eat the flesh of my people.
- Were God's people literally getting eaten up? No, they were getting persecuted.

So Jesus is either being literal when he says - eat my flesh and drink my blood - or he is being metaphorical and he was us to persecute him to have eternal life, which make no sense.

5. Symbolic doesn’t make sense – no correction of scandal.
The Catholic interpretation is to take Jesus literally which is still scandalous today. The protestant interpretation of these words means that we should believe in Jesus. Who has been scandalized at a protestant church interpreting these words symbolically? I have never heard of such a case.

6. We take him at his word – believe.
Jesus just meant what he said - John 6:55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." - Dear reader, ask yourself this question. Is Jesus' flesh true food and his blood true drink? if your answer is no then you are disagreeing with Jesus.

7. Early Christians interpreted it literally
"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" (Ignatius of Antioch - Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).
FOR MORE QUOTES SEE -
http://www.catholic.com/library/Real_Presence.asp

8. Eucharistic miracles.
I read that there are 120 approves Eucharistic miracles. Miracles that either deal with the Eucharist Himself, like the host turning to flesh during consecration in Lanciano, Italy in the 700’s which you can still go and see today.
Some miracles surround the presence of the Eucharist. St. Anthony of Padua once challenged an atheist to not feed his donkey for three days and then see if the donkey would come to his Lord God in the Eucharist or food from his master. When the donkey starved donkey knelt before the Eucharist the atheist converted.

FOR MORE STORIES SEE http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/engl_mir.htm

15 comments:

Eric Pinola said...

Great article!

Eric Pinola

Anonymous said...

Great article.

One question on one of your reasons. I'm asking this as the devil's advocate. Couldn't Protestants look at the symbolic interpretation of eating and drinking as persecution to mean that Jesus meant in order to have eternal life you have to persecute me, another words, his betrayal, crucifixion, and death? To me, I could understand that Protestants would like this interpretation - it was hard for many to accept this - you will have to persecute me and I will have to die in order to have eternal life.
Let me know what you think.

michaeladdison said...

Yeshua is not always to be taken literally. Should I worship a door or a vine, like you do with the host, since He said that He was a door, vine, etc? Anyways, remember, it is written: "Not one of His bones shall be broken." Now if the eucharist was to be taken literally, then His bones would be broken every time your teeth crush the host and pass it down the digestive system. That said, isn't it interesting how John 6 was around the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Jews ate matzo? Matzo is a picture of:
1.] He was bruised for our inequities (bread being browned from being cooked)
2.] by His stripes we are healed (rows of piercings in the bread)
3.] He was pierced for our transgressions (piercings in the bread)
4.] He was wrapped in linen (2nd piece of matzo (Jesus, the second person of the Trinity) being wrapped in linen in Jewish tradition of the Passover meal)

Anonymous said...

from Bill Foley

Wonderful 8 Reasons; all so true.

Addison is one of those people who troll the Catholic blogs attempting to destroy or weaken the faith of Catholics. Christ's presence in the Holy Sacrament is real, physical, but substantial and mysterious.

Anonymous said...

Jesus' disciples knew that He was speaking metaphorically and not literally when He referred to Himself as a "door" in John 10:7 and as a "vine" in John 15:1,5. In these situations, the disciples did not scoff at or question Jesus' words. Contrast that with the murmurs and questioning in John 6:41,43,53,61. Ultimately, many disciples stopped following Him because they knew He was telling them to literally eat His Body and drink His Blood (John 6:67). Did any disciples stop following Jesus because He called Himself a "door" or a "vine"?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Eagan:

Thank you for the thought and the work that you put into this Post. How interesting that some still walk away from Jesus because his word's shock them. He knew then and he knows now those that do not believe. We really aren't that different from the people of Jesus' time are we? How much pain do we continue to inflict on our Lord Jesus Christ when instead of our trust and hearts we give him our backs. God Bless you!

Ruben Aguilar

Daniel Egan said...

Wow, there are a bunch of comments - thanks for the interest. Eric - thanks.anonymous - That would make Jesus commanding them to kill him, which would be kind of sinfull.

Michael Addison - I agree that Jesus is not always to be taken literally. Yet other than the 8 reasons that I mentioned and 1500 years of consistant interpretation, Scripture has even more to offer. When Jesus multiplied the loaves. Both times he takes (the bread) breaks (it) blessed (it) and gives (it). Now these 4 verbs are used not only here but at the last supper and with the disciples on the road to Emaeus(sp). So the first 2 are miracles but the last supper is symbolic? miracle, miracle, symbol? - no. Everything Jesus does prefigures even greater works. Like Lazarus' resurrection from the dead - amazing, but Lazarus did die again later. BUT JESUS' resurrection is even greater because he will die no more. Jesus is preparing the apostles and us with the multiplication of the loaves to prepare us for the even greater miracle of the Eucharist. Another place where he was literal - This is my body - this is my blood. It would have been very easy to say - this means my body. Considering also that he knew that for the first 1500 years of the church that it would only be interpreted literally.

I had heard something about the matzo - that is cool.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply - that is a good point, that Jesus would be asking them to commit sin. Thanks for clearing up my confusion.

Melissa G said...

May I share a link to this blog post on my Facebook page? This is excellent!

Daniel Egan said...

if you are asking - can I tell more people about this blog - certainly! - Thanks

Dave Armstrong said...

Superb. I shared it on my Facebook page. Nice seeing you at the Michuta bash.

Sheridan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Good research and presentation of the Catholic position. One problem that I see in a "discussion" I had with two Catholic friends awhile back related to John 6:53... "Jesus therefore 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 yourselves."

The implication of their argument seemed to be that because I did not "eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood" I did not have Christ in my life. We are restored back to God through our faith in Christ, not our participation in communion.

Daniel Egan said...

It is not up to me to decide your relationship with Christ. Here is what I know. Communion IS Jesus, this is the teaching of Scripture and the constant teaching of the church from the beginning. There might be a deeper issues here with "how are we saved". Communion isn't for restoring our relationship with Christ. It is for maintaining and growing in our relationship with Christ.


Here may not be the place for it - if you wish to email that would be fine - but seeing as how the context is piinting to Jesus' literalness, and the constant interpretation of the church has understood it the same - how else is there to interpret the words - John 6:53... "Jesus therefore 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 yourselves."?

Anonymous said...

Catholic Apologists and the Greek Word Trogo (“Eat my flesh” John 6)“Catholic Answers” says the following about the Greek word trogo :”The Greek word used for “eats” trogon is very blunt and has the sense of “chewing” or “gnawing. This is not language of metaphor. Bob Sungenis says “There is simply no logical reason to switch form the more generic phago (eat) to the more praphic trogo (chew). Apparently, Rome's apologists believe the word “chew” cannot be the language of metaphor because it is simply too graphic or vivid to be anything other than the literal truth. Not so the more mundane “eat,” which as Sugnenis points out, can be used metaphorically. Keating himself simply asserts—without proof—that such is “not the language of metaphor.” But why not? Is there something intrinsically literal about the word “chew” in English or in Greek? If you think it through, virtually any word in any language can be used metaphorically no matter how graphic or vivid it may be. In fact, the more vivid and evocative the word, the more it lends itself to being used as a metaphor. Apparently they don’t know well what a metaphor is. Metaphor: “A picture is a thousand words”. In a metaphor real objects or physical events represent something else. A metaphor is a colorful expression used for literary effect which may be a word or phrase that departs from literal language. The purpose of metaphors is: add color and vividness, attract attention and make abstract or intellectual ideas more concrete. All things being equal, one could just as easily make the case that Jesus chose the more vivid “chew” precisely because it was more conducive to metaphor. “Chew” may simply be a more graphic metaphor than “eat.” Some say contextual rather than non-contextual usage is the primary criterion for determining whether or not trogo is metaphorical in John 6.