What is “bread of life” and flesh and blood in John 6. This can be confusing to many Christians. It is why Christians have differences in understanding Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion or the Eucharist. The theology of the Catholic and Orthodox churches take a literal understanding of “bread of life,” and eating and drinking Jesus’ flesh and blood. The theology of most Protestant and Evangelical churches take a symbolic and metaphorical approach to understanding the eating and drinking Jesus’ flesh and blood. As an Evangelical Protestant, I hold to it being symbolic. Why? “Remain in me, and I in you” is referenced both in the contexts of Jesus being the “bread of life“, body and blood (Jn. 6:56), and also as the vine (Jn. 15:5). This commonality may be an indication that Jesus was speaking metaphorically in both instances because in the case of Jesus being the vine, there is no biblical linkage to a sacramental practice.
Some of my Christians friends believe the real presence of Christ is manifested in the Eucharist; and some friends see the Lord’s Supper as simply a memorial. Struggling through this issue is not so simple. In some cases, as a Christian, I read things literally, and in some cases, I like to read things metaphorically. Let’s face it, we do pick and choose.
Note: Jesus claimed to be the bread of life four times in vv. 35, 48, 51, 58.
-ref. eating his flesh seven times in vv. 51, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58.
-ref. drinking his blood five times in vv. 53, 54, 55, 56, 57.