Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Aug 19th)

Pastor's Summary of John 6:51-58

John does not include the story of the institution of the Last Supper; he assumes that his readers know it. He teaches what it means.

John uses the word "flesh"(Greek: sarx) while the synoptic gospels and Paul use the word "body" (Greek: soma). Paul contrasts the spirit and the flesh. One scholar suggests that John used a more primitive account as a basis for these verses. Perhaps soma was adopted for its wide range of meaning and to avoid confusion with spirit vs. flesh. John never tells us that the "flesh" and the "blood" are received under the forms of bread and wine in the Lord's Supper.

There is an obvious parallel here to the words spoken by Jesus over the bread at the Last Supper, as recorded in I Corinthians 11:24 and in Luke 22:19, although allowance must be made for the characteristically Johannine substitution of : flesh: for body and the expansion of for you to "for the life of the world".

The separation of blood from flesh emphasized the reality of Jesus' death.

The readers know that the Father sent the Son to give life (see:3:16-17). The life the Son has is his Father's own life, which he has given to the Son ( see 5:26). V. 57 extends the type of relationship which exists between the Father and the Son to believers who take part in the Lord's Supper. the pattern of relationships is like that in the Farewell Discourses: see 14:20-21 and 17:21a.  This verse takes up the theme of v. 26, where Jesus answers the crowd with: "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves".

This passage speaks of salvation many times, sometimes in the present (a present reality) (in vv. 53a, 54a) and sometimes in the future (vv. 54b, 57b, 58b). Salvation through participating in the Lord's Supper is happening now, and will happen in the future. While this is obvious in John, it can also be found in Matthew.

This chapter begins with the Feeding of the Five Thousand.  By recording this discourse here, John clearly intends us to understand the Feeding as taking the place of the Last Supper, as the occasion in the ministry of Jesus with which the Church's celebration of the Supper was to be connected. Consistently, while John does tell us of the Last Supper (in Chapter 18), he gives it no eucharistic significance.

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