This figure that Jesus Christ presents to us under the image of food is itself very full and beautiful, being founded on an almost infinite number of comparisons or relationships that there are between the body and blood of our Savior in regard to our spiritual life and food in regard to our bodily life. At this point, I will not make an exhaustive list, it will be sufficient to notice three that can serve as a door to the others.
First, food is something naturally outside of ourselves that changes into our substance when we partake of it, and it is so absolutely necessary that without it we cannot exist so that the desire for food is violent and insatiable. In the same way, Jesus Christ is a principle of life which is outside of us, but being received by devotion and faith, communicates Him to us in such a way that we are filled with the power of His death and resurrection. Further, this is so necessary for the rest and peace of our consciences that without Him we cannot have any holiness, consolation, hope, or even the least spark of joy or spiritual life. That’s why the anxieties of a soul deprived of this great support are compared by Jesus Christ to hunger and thirst. “Blessed are those,” He says, “who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled” (Mt. 5).
Second, just as there is delight in taking food, since nature wanted to join pleasure to the usage of something so necessary and just as the body feels established and a certain tranquility after eating, so is it with Jesus Christ. The Christian soul cannot meditate on Him without an indescribable pleasure nor receive Him without enjoying a perfect rest.
Third, in order to experience the advantages from food that we desire, we must first prepare it and give it the form that makes it appropriate for the nourishment of the body. Then, we must cook it and digest it, and it must then be distributed throughout our body so that all the parts of it may profit. Thus it is with Jesus Christ, for it is by the sufferings of His death and by the glory of His resurrection, that He was made a food for the nourishment of our consciences. But, besides that, it is still necessary for our faith to meditate upon Him, and, if I dare say it, cook Him and digest Him by a deep meditation of His cross and the exaltation that followed it. Finally, after having observed the mystery of His love, it is distributed to all the powers of the soul. Thus, all our desires, plans, feelings, and hopes, that is, all the principles of our thoughts, words, and actions might be filled with Him so that we can pull all the nourishing juice and power that is there and so from now on have no power, life, or movement than that which He communicates to us.
Consequently, there has never been a metaphor more beautiful or appropriate than that which He used in this sixth chapter of John. That which we at first find strange and difficult comes only from our lack of knowledge or, more accurately, from the lack of appreciation that we all have for Jesus Christ and His life-giving power.
This excerpt was taken from a book by Huguenot pastor and theologian Jean Claude on the subject of the Lord’s Supper.