Jesus sure had some shocking, gruesome things to say sometimes. For example, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them” (John 6:54-56).
(This is a brief, meandering meditation on John 6-7, btw…)
Seriously, for devout Jews to hear something like this would be akin to showing a clip from The Walking Dead in the middle of a lecture to fundamentalist Christians in the 1950s.
But of course Jesus isn’t simply going for shock value here, he is seeking to help people understand and embrace something crucial about himself. Earlier he proclaimed (after multiplying bread to feed a massive crowd), “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…”