This is an excellent and the answer will be two-fold for the Lord spoke in two different occasions of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Let’s begin by reading the Lord’s words in John 6:53-56, “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” The Lord was speaking with the Jews, explaining to them that He was the bread of life, that He was the true manna which came down from Heaven and by which the Jews in the wilderness were fed. He said in verse 51, “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.” How is it that a man can eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Lord? Notice that the Lord says that is you do not do this, “ye have no life in you.” So, we see this is something that is required to be saved!

The thought here is that we ‘appropriate’ the death of the Lord Jesus for ourselves. We accept it as for us, and we ‘take in’ the Lord Jesus as our savior. It is not given in a literal sense, but in a spiritual sense. This happens when a person realizes the truth of Galatians 2:20, that Christ, “loved ME, and gave himself for ME.” It becomes very personal, and rather than say generally that Christ loves and died for EVERYONE, we can say that Christ loved ME and gave Himself for ME. When we do that, we are in a figurative sense, eating the body and drinking the blood of the Lord Jesus.

Now let’s consider the words of the Lord in Luke 22:19-20, “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” I think most of will recognize that this is the scene in the upper room when the Lord Jesus instituted the remembrance feast with His disciples, asking them to “do in remembrance of me.” In this situation, do we really eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus? Again, this is not to be taken literally, but figuratively. Notice here that the Lord doesn’t say that if you do not participate in the remembrance meeting that “ye have no life in you” as we read in John 6:56. This has nothing to do with appropriating the death of the Lord Jesus for our salvation. This has to do with remembering the One who “loved ME, and gave himself for ME.”

It was after eating the Passover meal that the Lord took a loaf of bread and a cup of wine and asked His disciples to remember Him by partaking of these two things. These are symbolic of the body and blood of Christ, and in partaking of these precious emblems, we honor the Lord in His request to be remembered. In both these instances that speak of eating His body and drinking His blood, we should remember that we are not cannibals. We would never be asked to literally eat flesh or drink blood. The portion in John 6:53-56 shows that we are saved by appropriating the death of the Lord Jesus for ourselves, owning that it was for us that He died. The portion in Luke 22:19-20 shows that we figuratively eat His flesh and drink His blood as a way of remembering Him, keeping Him, His death, and the value of His death ever fresh in our minds. (231.4)