The bearing, then, of our Lord's sacred words would seem to be as follows, if one may venture to investigate it. At Capernaum, in the chapter now before us, He solemnly declares to His Apostles that none shall live for ever, but such as eat and drink His flesh and blood; and then afterwards. just before He was crucified, as related in the other three Gospels, He points out to them the way in which this mystery of grace was to be fulfilled in them. He assigns the consecrated Bread as that Body of which He had spoken, and the consecrated Wine as His Blood; and in partaking of the Bread and the Cup, they were partakers of His Body and Blood.
It is remarkable, too, considering that our Lord's institution of His Supper took place just before His betrayal by Judas, and that Judas had just partaken of it, that in the discourse before us He alludes to Judas. "Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" as if He had before His mind, in His divine prescience, what was to take place when He instituted the Sacrament formally. Observe, too, at the time of that last Supper, He recurs to the idea of choosing them. "I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen." [John xiii. 18.]
When, then, Christ used the words of the text and of other parts of the chapter containing it, He was describing prospectively that gift, which, in due season, the consecrated bread and wine were to convey to His Church for ever. Speaking with reference to what was to be, He says, "I am that Bread of Life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. 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."