52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 
Jesus’ words about eating his flesh and drinking his blood were quite jarring to His hearers. Not only does He seem to be promoting cannibalism, He is also inviting them to drink blood, something explicitly forbidden in the Levitical law. It’s not quite as jarring to us, because our minds may quickly go to the Lord’s Supper, but at this point in the gospel account, the last supper had not yet happened.
But let’s talk about that. What Jesus says here about his flesh and blood certainly fits the Lord’s Supper very well. But it is also clear, even from our after-the-fact perspective that He is speaking of something that, while including the supper, is bigger. Jesus’ words here, if taken to refer exclusively to the supper, suggest that life in Jesus is only found through partaking in the sacrament. But we know that’s not right. Jesus gives Himself through other means as well.
Jesus is speaking of the importance of being connected to Him as intimately as can be imagined. Life is found in Jesus, and so we can have this life on insofar as we are connected to Jesus. This is beautifully illustrated and given in the Lord’s Supper, but is not limited to it. We also “eat” and “drink” of Jesus through other ways of “communing” with Him – through His Word, through prayer, through the fellowship of other believers. The point is that life is found in Jesus, the bread of life, and we are to seek that life, to grow in that life, through our relationship with Him.
Lord Jesus, I praise You for the life that I have in You. Keep me connected to You through Your Spirit, through Your Word, through my time in prayer and meditation, through the Sacrament, and through the fellowship of believers.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?
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