In His lengthy teaching about His being the Bread of Life, Jesus repeatedly asserted His key role in a future resurrection of the dead:
“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39).
“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (6:40).
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (6:44).
“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (6:54).
In these four statements, He taught truths that all people must heed.
First, Jesus highlighted that He was the Agent of the Father. He did so in several ways. He declared three times that He had been sent by the Father. Furthermore, He said that the people whom He would raise up would be those whom His Father had given to Him and had drawn to Him. Finally, he spoke twice that He would effect their resurrection because it was His Father’s will that He do so.
Second, the people whom Jesus would raise up at the last day would be those who were enabled to come to Him because of the Father’s work in them. Saying this, Jesus taught that coming to Him is something that people cannot simply choose to do of their own ability. For them to come to Him, the Father must work in them that they would do so.
Third, these people would be those who had seen the Son and believed on Him. Their doing so would thus manifest the Father’s work in them to put their faith in Jesus as His Son whom He sent. Their faith in Him as the Son thus would not just be faith in Him as Deity Himself; they would believe in His unique relationship to the Father and His role as the Father’s agent.
Fourth, Jesus would raise these up who had received eternal life because of their faith in Him. With this teaching, Jesus declared that eternal life was not something inherent to all people—all people must believe in Him in order to receive eternal life.
Fifth, they would be those who had received eternal life because they have eaten His flesh and have drunk His blood. This statement points to their belief in His atoning work that involved His giving His body and His blood for His people.* It also revealed that eternal life would be the present possession of those who had eaten His flesh and drunk His blood.
This analysis of Jesus’ statements points to the necessity for us all to consider the following points to determine whether we will be among those whom Jesus will one day raise up:
–Have I come to Jesus and believed in Him not just as being God Himself but also in Him as being the Son sent by the Father to do the Father’s will?
–Have I partaken of Jesus’ flesh and blood by putting my faith in His atoning work (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3-5; 1 Thess. 4:14)?
–Have I believed in the future resurrection of the dead and am I confident that Jesus will raise me up at the last day?
(For more about the resurrection see this important article)
*”What is meant by eating this flesh and drinking this blood, which is so necessary and beneficial; it is certain that is means neither more nor less than believing in Christ. As we partake of meat and drink by eating and drinking, so we partake of Christ and his benefits by faith: and believing in Christ includes these four things, which eating and drinking do:-First, It implies an appetite to Christ. This spiritual eating and drinking begins with hungering and thirsting (Mt. 5:6), earnest and importunate desires after Christ, not willing to take up with any thing short of an interest in him: ‘Give me Christ or else I die.’ Secondly, An application of Christ to ourselves. Meat looked upon will not nourish us, but meat fed upon, and so made our own, and as it were one with us. We must so accept of Christ as to appropriate him to ourselves: my Lord, and my God, ch. 20:28. Thirdly, A delight in Christ and his salvation. The doctrine of Christ crucified must be meat and drink to us, most pleasant and delightful. We must feast upon the dainties of the New Testament in the blood of Christ, taking as great a complacency in the methods which Infinite Wisdom has taken to redeem and save us as ever we did in the most needful supplies or grateful delights of nature. Fourthly, A derivation of nourishment from him and a dependence upon him for the support and comfort of our spiritual life, and the strength, growth, and vigour of the new man. To feed upon Christ is to do all in his name, in union with him, and by virtue drawn from him; it is to live upon him as we do upon our meat. How our bodies are nourished by our food we cannot describe, but that they are so we know and find; so it is with this spiritual nourishment. Our Saviour was so well pleased with this metaphor (as very significant and expressive) that, when afterwards he would institute some outward sensible signs, by which to represent our communicating of the benefits of his death, he chose those of eating and drinking, and made them sacramental actions” (From comments by Matthew Henry on John 6:28-59).
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. These words are at the heart of the discourse on the Bread of Life, and have created great misunderstanding among interpreters. Anyone who is inclined toward a sacramental viewpoint will almost certainly want to take these words as a reference to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist, because of the reference to eating and drinking. But this does not automatically follow: By anyone’s definition there must be a symbolic element to the eating which Jesus speaks of in the discourse, and once this is admitted, it is better to understand it here, as in the previous references in the passage, to a personal receiving of (or appropriation of) Christ and his work” (NET Bible comments on John 6:53).
“Notice that here the result (has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day) is produced by eating (Jesus’) flesh and drinking his blood. Compare John 6:40 where the same result is produced by ‘looking on the Son and believing in him.’ This suggests that the phrase here (eats my flesh and drinks my blood) is to be understood by the phrase in 6:40 (looks on the Son and believes in him)” (NET Bible comments on John 6:54).