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Does the Body of Christ vivify us during Holy Communion?Why did Jesus say: “Flesh is of no benefit"?
Patristic quotes for the interpretation of John 6:63: "It is the Spirit Who quickens; flesh is of no benefit: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life".
Source of Patristic passages : “Memorandum on the Gospel according to John v.63” - by P.N.Trembelas
In two previous (Greek) articles on this topic, we provided the Orthodox interpretation of John v. 63, which is maltreated by various Protestant religions in their attempt to convince that the Body and Blood of Christ are only symbols and not the true Body and Blood of the Lord (even though He Himself had clearly stated it).
We intend to present Patristic passages here, which evidence that the Church has always perceived this passage correctly – and in the same manner – as early as the first years of the ancient Church.
We remind the reader of the verse being examined (highlighted in red), in its context:
“54 Whoever eats of My flesh and drinks of My blood has
eternal life, and I will resurrect him on the last day. 55 For My
flesh is truly food and My blood is truly drink. 56 He who eats of
My flesh and drinks of My blood lives in Me, and I in him. 57 Just
as the living Father sent Me and I live through the Father, thus he
who eats of Me will live through Me. 58 This is the bread which has
come down from heaven—not as your fathers, who had eaten the manna
and died; he who eats of this bread will live forever.” 59 These
things He said in the synagogue while teaching in Capernaum. 60 Many
of His disciples when hearing this, said, “This is a hard speech;
who can listen to it?” 61 When Jesus perceived within Him that His
disciples were muttering about it, He said to them, “Does this
scandalize you? 62 What, then, if you were to see the Son of Man
ascending to where He was before? 63 It is the
Spirit Who vivifies; flesh is of no benefit. The words that I
speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
Having taken this last phrase literally - that the reference supposedly pertains to Christ, Whose flesh (Body) is supposedly NOT beneficial – the Protestants have claimed that the reference is merely a symbolism. They have brazenly ignored Christ’s preceding words, where He clearly says: “For My flesh is truly food and My blood is truly drink… he who eats of Me will live through Me…”
So, are we to assume that our Lord Jesus Christ is contradicting Himself? Or is it they who can’t understand what they are reading?
From P.N. Trembelas’ tome: “Memorandum on the Gospel according to John”, we shall now quote the following Patristic excerpts, which evidence how, even back then, they had interpreted those words of the Lord:
In conclusion :
As evidenced in both of our previous relevant articles, but also in this one, Christ’s Church has perennially interpreted the words of our Lord in the same, spiritual manner.
Christians know that Christ – having clearly stated that eating of
His flesh and drinking of His blood is LIFE-GIVING, and that His
Body and His Blood are TRULY food and drink – then afterward, when
His audience became scandalized, He clarified things in the following
“Do not try to perceive in the flesh the things that I
said, because your flesh will not be of any benefit to you.
furthermore did NOT imply that any, common flesh can vivify you. It is the
Holy Spirit Who can give life, and because the Holy Spirit is inside
My flesh, you will be vivified by partaking of My flesh and My Blood.
The Lord Jesus Christ – as the Logos of God – has in His words a Creative and Life-giving energy. His words are not a mere expression of His mind, such that can be comprehended by our flesh. They are the incarnating and the imparting of Spirit and Life.
Translation: E.M. & A.N.
Article published in English on: 3-4-2018.
Last update: 3-4-2018.