This message is on video here.
In case you wanted to read further, here are the notes for the sermon.
JOHN 6:55 = The first of the seven great I AM sayings in John’s Gospel. Followed by some words which are harder to understand
vv53-55 What did Jesus mean ?
Specifically – is this eucharistic language? Relating to the Lord’s Supper or communion, C.f. Matthew 26:26-29 ?
I think John 6 is NOT Eucharistic language, not referring to communion, for a number of reasons.
1 John doesn’t record institution of the Lord’s Supper. Instead in the Upper Room John 13 describes Jesus washing his disciples feet.
2 Word in Matthew 26 at last supper is body soma, Jesus’s physical body
Word in John 6 is flesh – sarx – referring here to Jesus’s life on earth
3 Whatever Jesus said in John 6 would need to make some kind of sense to disciples at the time Jesus said it, which was BEFORE the Last Week and the Upper Room. So the disciples would not hear Jesus talking about “eating his flesh” and immediately think of taking communion, because Jesus had not yet instituted the Lord’s Supper.
V 52 Jews misunderstood – as if Jesus was suggesting literally eating his flesh = cannibalism. That was universally condemned at that time. Although later on, probably around the time John was writing his Gospel, the Romans would make the same mistake and accuse the early church of cannibalism because they misunderstood what they heard about the Lord’s Supper. But that does not mean that was what Jesus was saying or intending.
Vv 54-56 “Drinking his blood” was not only a universal taboo. In addition, for Jews the drinking of the blood of any animal was forbidden in the Old Testament. You might remember how that prohibition was one of just four Old Testament regulations imposed on Gentile Christians by the church at Jerusalem in Acts 15. Even more than that in Leviticus 17 the Israelites were specifically prohibited from drinking the blood of the Passover Lamb.
So whatever “eating his flesh and drinking his blood” would mean, Jews would know that it was a metaphor and not to be taken literally.
57-58 Jesus talks about feeds on me, and feeds on this bread from heaven. This feeding must be a metaphor, symbolic language, in the same way as the claim “I am the bread of life” is a metaphor.
V27 = food that endures for eternal life.
V32-33 = true bread from heaven is not the Manna that Moses gave to the Israelites in the wilderness, but Jesus who is himself the Bread of Life
V 35 Jesus is the Bread of Life
Vv39-40 The heart of Jesus’s work of salvation was to bring eternal life, which itself was an anticipation of the Resurrection of the Dead on the last day.
Vv48-51 Eating the Bread of Life, feeding on Jesus, whatever that means, is what brings a person eternal life. But this is not referring to cannibalism. Nor is it referring to receiving the bread and wine in a communion service.
So how do we feed on Jesus?
V29 – we feed on Jesus by believing in Jesus. In John’s Gospel believing in Jesus means believing that He is indeed the Son of God and putting our trust in Jesus as our Saviour.
V35 – we believe in Jesus.
V40 we come to Jesus, we look to Jesus and we put our trust in Him.
V47 Truly, Truly I say to you
The one who believes has eternal life!
V51 And what we are putting our trust in, is his flesh, the human life of Jesus, given up on the cross for us all.
So let us hear these amazing words of Jesus JOHN 6:35
Here is the promise we can all claim for ourselves JOHN 6:40