The key verse in this paragraph is the last one: “I am the living bread . . . If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Now what did Jesus really have in mind here? The Jews wanted to understand him literally: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” But this wasn’t really the point. The bread was a metaphor to help explain a spiritual reality in earthly terms. Just as Man needs bread to nourish him for a day, so does Man need Jesus to nourish him for eternity. The point is not that we need to eat Jesus on a weekly basis, but rather that we need to believe with the kind of commitment that is manifest in the commitment we make to ingesting a piece of bread.