In the sixth chapter of John you can find some of the most controversial words that Jesus ever spoke,words that without a proper understanding,appear on the surface to be both shocking and disgusting.In fact they appear so offensive,again without a proper understanding,this is what happened when Jesus spoke them,"Because of what Jesus said, many of his disciples turned their backs on him and stopped following him." (JOHN 6:66)
A few controversial remarks shouldn't be a concern to us in this day should they? OH YES THEY SHOULD WHEN THESE WORDS ARE USED TO CREATE THE BASIC PURPOSE AND MEANING FOR SOME CHURCH SERVICES.
I'll copy the remarks from John chapter 6 and then,in caps I will print what I believe is the correct interpretation of Jesus' seemingly shocking words.
48.I am the bread that gives life (JESUS GIVES LIFE TO THE BELIEVER) 49.Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, and later they died. 50.But the bread from heaven has come down (HERE JESUS IS REFERRING TO HIMSELF), so that no one who eats it (REFERS TO A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE RESULTING IN A UNION WITH HIM) will ever die. 51.I am that bread from heaven. Everyone who eats it will live forever. My flesh is the life-giving bread that I give to the people of this world.(THIS SENTENCE REFERS TO JESUS SACRIFICING HIMSELF ON THE CROSS ) 52.They started arguing with each other (EVIDENCE OF UNBELIEF THEN AND NOW !!) and asked, "How can he give us his flesh to eat?" (THIS INDICATES THEIR MINDS WERE FIXATED ON THE PHYSICAL WHICH IS TRUE OF MANY CHRISTIANS TODAY.HOWEVER JESUS WAS TALKING IN SPIRITUAL TERMS.IT'S EXTREMELY DIFFICULT FOR HUMANS TO THINK LIKE JESUS !!)53.Jesus answered: I tell you for certain that you won't live unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man.(HERE JESUS IS REFERRING TO HIS AGONY ON THE CROSS DURING WHICH HIS BLOOD WAS SPILLED AND HIS FLESH SHREDDED.JESUS WAS TEACHING THAT THE CROSS AND HIS SUFFERING ON IT FOR OUR SALVATION MUST BE ONE OF OUR CORE AND MOST PASSIONATELY HELD BELIEFS.IF WE FAIL IN THAT,WE WILL NOT BE GRANTED SALVATION) 54.But if you do eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will have eternal life, and I will raise you to life on the last day.(HERE JESUS COMES UP WITH STILL ANOTHER IN A LONG LIST OF REQUIREMENTS THAT MUST BE MET BEFORE SALVATION IS GRANTED)55.My flesh is the true food, and my blood is the true drink.(THIS IS A CALL TO "TAKE UP YOUR CROSS DAILY" JUST AS YOU EAT AND DRINK DAILY) 56.If you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you are one with me, and I am one with you.(THE WAY TO INSURE THAT WE WILL REMAIN CLOSE TO JESUS AND THAT HE WILL REMAIN CLOSE TO US IS TO KEEP THE CROSS ON WHICH JESUS' BLOOD WAS SPILLED AND HIS FLESH DESTROYED AT THE CENTER OF OUR THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS ABOUT HIM)
Until I stopped attending two churches because the ministers literally refused to display any crosses in their buildings,I did not realize that these verses threatening hell to those who do not keep Jesus' suffering on the cross at the center of their beliefs,were even necessary teachings for today's church.If you could have seen all the seemingly dedicated Christians who flocked to these hidden cross churches (I actually found the storage area where one of the churches keeps its one and only cross concealed) you would instantly develop a new appreciation for Jesus' admittedly harsh teaching on this subject.
The principal problem however is that there are some churches that teach that Communion, which Jesus taught should be observed not to obtain salvation but only to remember Him, is the prime purpose for all of their worship services.They believe this because they teach that participation in a Communion service is the way to obtain salvation.Taking the physical interpretation rather than a spiritual interpretation of the verses above,they then teach their members that the wine that is served mysteriously changes into Jesus' blood, while it continues to taste like wine, and the bread that is served mysteriously changes into Jesus' skin while it continues to taste like bread.
There are several reasons why this practice and belief are so wrong.Of course taking a sip of wine and popping a piece of bread into ones mouth will not save anyone.Salvation does not come from filling our stomachs but rather by filling our minds with faith and then allowing God to fill our souls with His Holy Spirit.The drinking of blood or even thinking you are drinking human blood and the eating of flesh or even thinking that you are eating human flesh is an evil act of cannibalism that is ritually practiced in Satan worship services and by witchcraft covens (groups).
BOTTOM LINE:Obviously pagan blood drinking rituals and the cannibalistic eating of a body is NOT the way to find your way into heaven and of course no way to honor the Son of God and His astonishing sacrifice for us on the cross. This needs to be remembered periodically through a purely symbolic Holy Communion ceremony as the difficult to interpret words in John 6 teach us.
Dr. Dean Crosby is a published author,instructor in New Testament studies, and Christian therapist. He holds a bachelors degree in communication,a masters degree in counseling,and a doctoral degree in psychology.He is the founder and director of the Christian Caring Center,a non-profit internet counseling agency.Dr. Crosby can be personally contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org but information about his counseling center should be requested at email@example.com
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