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. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. *Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.* 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. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!
The Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words I have spoken to you they are spirit* and they are life.
The flesh – Your carnal views and desires, and the literal understanding of my doctrine. By this Jesus shows them that he did not intend that his words should be taken literally.
Profits nothing – Would not avail to the real needs of man. The bread that Moses gave, the food which you seek, would not be of real value to man’s highest wants.
They are spirit – They are spiritual. They are not to be understood literally, as if you were really to eat my flesh, but they are to be understood as denoting the need of that provision for the soul which God has made by my coming into the world.
Are life – Are fitted to produce or give life to the soul dead in sins.
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.
1 Corinthians 11:26-31
Since Jesus clarified that by eating of his body and drinking of his blood were both symbolic of spiritual communion with him, and not literally intended, then it is worth noting that when the Apostle Paul warned that those who eat of the bread and drink of the wine in an ‘unworthy manner’ would not only befall sickness, but also ‘fall asleep,’ he meant spiritual sleep.
In other words, like zombies or the walking dead, a man can appear to have life to others – who really has no communion with God at all; this can even be made further indiscernible to ‘self’ since God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
It can be displayed in no conviction of sin; no desire for holiness; no love for the lost; no integrity nor faithfulness in your words; bitter resentment; un-forgiveness; no understanding of your spiritual state; or worldliness.
You say, ‘I am rich;* I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ *But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
Therefore with godly sincerity and reverence let us labor to ‘discern the body of Christ,’ as we partake of communion with him, recalling to mind that he died to take our punishment for sin, so that we might find the freedom and power to live for God!