The Bread of Life
The verse below has created a lot of controversy.
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
- John 6:53-55 (KJV)
Are Christians cannibals?!? No, of course not.
To find out what Jesus meant consider this verse.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
- John 6:35 (KJV)
Here we learn that:
Eat = to come to Jesus
Drink = to believe in Jesus
It's a figure of speech.
Jesus is merely saying that everything he has done must be understood (consumed), and believed.
Also, "flesh and blood" is another way of saying "body", and Jesus' body was a sacrifice for all of us.
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
- Hebrews 10:10 (KJV)
Ellen White has this to say:
To eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God means to study the Word and to carry that Word into the life in obedience to all its precepts.
- Ellen White, The Upward Look, p. 78
You need not only to be more enlightened, but quickened, that you may see the banquet that is before you, and eat and drink the flesh and blood of the Son of God, which is His Word.
- Ellen White, That I May Know, chapter 88
To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ is to receive Him as a personal Saviour, believing that He forgives our sins, and that we are complete in Him. It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. What food is to the body, Christ must be to the soul. Food cannot benefit us unless we eat it, unless it becomes a part of our being. So Christ is of no value to us if we do not know Him as a personal Saviour. A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life. His love, His grace, must be assimilated.
- Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 389
A difficult teaching indeed.
Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
- John 6:60 (KJV)
Many of Jesus' disciples left, because they didn't understand it.
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
- John 6:66 (KJV)
It separated the chaff from the wheat.
This was one of the times of purging. By the words of truth, the chaff was being separated from the wheat.
- Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 392