Gnaw

Rabbi Yokhanan quotes Rabbi Yeshua as using the familiar Greek word for “eat” during His initial proclamation, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat [phagete] the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” Jn 6:53. But then he switches to a more emphatic and precise Greek word, trogon, chew or gnaw: “He who eats [trogon] my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” Jn 6:54. Rabbi Yeshua continued, “He who eats [trogon] my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” Jn 6:56. “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats [trogon] me will live because of me” Jn 6:57. Then, in the last sentence of His bread of life discourse, Jesus makes the distinction crystal clear by using both words in the same sentence: “This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate [ephagon] and died; he who eats [trogon] this bread will live for ever” Jn 6:58.

We can gnaw only solid food, not milk. Rabbi Yeshua told us what “solid food” is. “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” Jn 6:55. St. John’s original Greek word for “indeed” describing his flesh and also His blood is alethes, which literally means “true.” Rabbi Paul explained the distinction to the Corinthians. “I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it … you are still of the flesh” 1 Cor 3:23. The Author of Hebrews was even more specific: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food; for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil” Heb 5:1214.

Receiving the living Rabbi Yeshua into our body is a serious matter with eternal consequences. Received worthily, is eternal life. Recall: “He who eats [trogon] my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” Jn 6:54. Rabbi Yeshua used trogon to show that only the spiritually mature can receive His sacramental body and blood worthily. Rabbi Paul warns, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” 1 Cor 11:2729.

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