John 6:41-59 NKJV
41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
Jesus said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven”; and the people complained—they grumbled—just like the people in the wilderness (Ex 15:24). So, Jesus therefore answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (43-44).
How does the Father draw people to Christ? Luther explains: “When God draws us, He is not like a hangman, who drags a thief up the ladder to the gallows; but He allures and coaxes us in a friendly fashion, as a kind man attracts people by his amiability and cordiality, and everyone willingly goes to him. Thus God, too, gently draws people to Himself, so that they abide with Him willingly and happily. Thus He wants to show that we do not come to Him through our wisdom, for that would make you really unwilling. But you come to Him when the Father shows you His great mercy, when He assures you that He will reveal Himself as having sent His Son into the world out of paternal love, as is written John 3:16, ‘that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.’ Then you hear that God is not hostile to you, but is your gracious and merciful Father, who gave His Son for you, let Him die for you, and raised Him again from the dead. He directs you to the Son and has Him proclaimed to you. And if this is correctly taught, then we come to Him. That is meant by the expression ‘to be drawn.’” (86-87)
As we are drawn to Him in faith, we are also fed in Him: “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (54-56). While this is not a direct reference to the Lord’s Supper (because He has not instituted it yet) it does point us to the same thing—namely, Christ Himself. In Him, we have life, eternal life.
Let us pray: O God, by the humiliation of your Son you raised up the fallen world. Give your faithful people constant gladness, deliverance from the danger of eternal death, and make us partakers of eternal joys; through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.