John 6:51 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 6:51, NIV: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.'"

John 6:51, ESV: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”"

John 6:51, KJV: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

John 6:51, NASB: "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats from this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I will give for the life of the world also is My flesh.'"

John 6:51, NLT: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.'"

John 6:51, CSB: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.""

What does John 6:51 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

As the people begin to complain about Jesus' claims to have come from heaven (John 6:38), He gives a deeper explanation of His meaning. In the wilderness, God sent physical bread from heaven to meet a physical need. That manna symbolically represented Jesus. In particular, the manna had to be accepted as a gift or simply walked on. Now, according to Jesus, God has sent the "true bread from heaven" (John 6:32), in the form of a person (John 6:33). This is Christ Himself (John 6:48). Eternal life is only for those who believe in Christ (John 6:40). This explanation came after the people repeatedly misunderstood the symbolic nature of the "Bread of Life" (John 6:26; John 6:34).

This verse contains the statement which truly derails Jesus' worldly popularity. Prior to this conversation, the people were ready to make Jesus king—by force, it necessary (John 6:15). Showing that His ministry is spiritual, not physical, has taken some of that enthusiasm away (John 6:41). Now Jesus refers to the real role of the Messiah: to suffer and die for the people. The offering which will grant eternal life to those who believe is Jesus' body: His flesh.

This comment not only contradicts the prevailing Jewish view of Messiah as a warrior-king, it also suggests cannibalism to those who are still fixated on material things. As the next passage shows, when Jesus makes this claim, it pushes the crowd from complaining to outright fighting.