The whole purpose of the narrative and discussion in John 6:26-60 is to use the feeding of the 5000 on literal physical food as a metaphor for the need to feed on spiritual food, namely Jesus. The passage abounds in metaphor as follows:
- the manna is a metaphor for Jesus
- Jesus is the bread of life
- eating food is a metaphor for eating Jesus' flesh
- remaining physically alive is a metaphor for eternal life
This is made abundantly clear in the opening verses:
V26, & 27 - Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, it is not
because you saw these signs that you are looking for Me, but because
you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that
perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of
Man will give you. For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of
The whole teaching of Jesus is part of the broader theological subject of consecration to Jesus which involves:
- a developing, growing and deepening belief/trust in Jesus
- looking to Jesus (Heb 12:2, 2 Cor 3:18, etc) in order to develop that relationship with Jesus
- doing the will of heaven/the Father/Jesus, see John 14:15, 15:10, etc.
- Jesus is the only source of eternal life, Acts 4:12, John 5:19-26, 1:4.
- abiding in Christ = eating His flesh, John 15:1-10.