Abiding in Christ, Christ Abiding in You (John 6:48-59)

On Sunday, April 19, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “Abiding in Christ, Christ Abiding in You,” from John 6:48-59.

Introduction–This passage lends itself to easy comparisons with the Lord’s Supper, and in fact, it is a proof text for the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.

Protestants disagree with the RC view, but how are we to understand what Jesus means when he says we are to feed on his flesh and drink his blood if he isn’t talking about the Lord’s Supper?

We feed on him by believing in him, and thereby are united to him.

Proposition–Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ feeds upon Jesus Christ, and so is eternally united to Jesus Christ

1. The Bread Is My Flesh
The context of this discussion is the Passover Feast, so when Jesus says in verse 51 that the bread he has been talking about is his flesh, he is making reference to himself as the Passover Lamb, “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Just as the Israelites ate the flesh of the lamb after it was sacrificed, so we are to eat the flesh of Jesus Christ our Passover Lamb, who was sacrificed to atone for our sins. But how?

2. Believing Is Feeding
Comparing verse 40 to verse 54 helps us to understand what Jesus means when he says we need to feed on his flesh.

Verse 40: “…everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

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

D.A. Carson: “The only substantial difference is that one speaks of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking Jesus’ blood, while the other, in precisely the same conceptual location, speaks of looking to the Son and believing in him.” (The Gospel According to John, Pillar New Testament Commentary, p. 297.)

St. Augustine: “Believe, and you have eaten.” (In Johannis evangelium tractatus xxvi. 1)

3. In Christ/Christ in Us
Food that is eaten becomes a part of a person—“You are what you eat” has some truth to it. Eating food provides insight into what it means to have Christ in you and you in Christ.

Just as the death of plants and animals is necessary for humans’ physical life, so the death of Jesus Christ was necessary for humans’ spiritual life.

The only way to live forever is to eat of the Bread of Life, and the only way to eat that bread is to believe in the One whom God has sent, Jesus Christ.

Listen to “Abiding in Christ, Christ Abiding in You” (John 6:48-59) at mcopc.org.

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