51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
51 I [emphatic] am the living bread which came down from heaven.
This is the fifth time Jesus claimed to be the bread that came down from heaven (vv. 33, 35, 48, 50). The “I” in this sentence is emphatic— “I [and no other] am the living bread which came down from heaven.”
Some interpret this sentence as referring to the Lord’s Supper or some form of sacramentalism. However, the Lord did not introduce the Lord’s Supper until a year later.
If anyone eats of this bread,
The “if” here is conditional upon an individual’s volition about Christ. Maybe this person will receive Christ or possibility not, the choice is up to him (third class condition). Not all will receive Jesus as Savior. If he or she does eat, then it will change his or her eternal destiny.
Eating the bread that Jesus offered is a metaphor or figure for believing in Jesus. The human responsibility is to eat or believe what this bread will do.
he will live forever;
To believe in Christ is to live forever in eternity with God. Food has no value unless we eat it. Spiritual truth has no benefit unless we internalize or believe it. Knowing something without believing it will do nothing for our soul. Believing in Christ will give us eternal life.
No one can believe for us by proxy.
The individual must personally believe in Christ. No one else can do that for him. God saves no one by proxy. If we are to be nourished, we must nourish ourselves. Watching others believe will not save our souls. No one else can believe for us.