"The staff of Aaron . . . sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms." (Numbers 17:8)
Is there a good argument for John 6 NOT being sacramental?
The only exegetical argument one might make is that a passage like John 6:53 could then be taken to mean that one cannot be saved apart from receiving the Supper. (Of course, the same could be said about John 3:5 wrt to baptism. And I don't want to get into the topic of infant communion, either.) In any event, I don't think the passage requires that interpretation. Luther, as I recall, sometimes argued against an explicit sacramental understanding, but he was fighting a faith vs. ex opere operato battle if I'm remembering the context correctly, which imo colored his exegesis. And there are some places where he does speak of John 6 sacramentally. In any case,the so-called "spiritual eating" (faith) and the literal eating go together. I think Herman Sasse was right on the money when he saw the spiritual eating of faith going on in verses like 6:35 or 6:50, but a transition to the literal sacramental eating taking place in 6:51 when the "flesh" terminology is used. And I don't know how anyone can argue against 6:55 being a literal eating. To say that faith eats, that is, believes in the flesh and blood incarnate Jesus _to the exclusion of_ receiving His body and blood in the Sacrament is just wrong.Anyway, I take all of John 6 as commentary on the meaning of the feeding of the 5000. That's why I preached this passage as I did. (That's probably a lot longer answer than you were looking for, but I couldn't help myself.)
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