57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
There is an ordering of relationships in verses 57 and 58: (1) the ultimate source of eternal life is the Father, (2) the Father mediates His life to us through Christ, and (3) union with Christ enables us to share His eternal life.
This verse has two analogies, an “as”/”so” relationship. The two analogies are between the Father and Jesus, and then Jesus and the believer.
the living Father
The Father is Jesus’ authority for the statements of the bread of life discourse. The “living” Father has life in Himself.
Christ here spoke of Himself in terms of His mediatorial work on earth, not in terms of His essential being as the Son of God. Speaking as the God-man, Christ made it clear that His ultimate authority comes from the Father.
and I live because of the Father,
Verse 56 indicates that there is a mutual indwelling between the believer and Christ. The basis for this union is the Father. Christ’s life and the Father’s life are one. The living Father established that Christ would have life in Himself.
Jesus lived on earth as a man because of the Father. He lived this life in closest union with the Father. The Father was the center of the life of Christ. They lived in harmony as a bond.
There is a correlation between the absolute living Father and Christ who was sent by Him. The Father lived in Him. Christ had His own life given by the Father living in Him. He lived for the Father’s sake. He lived in dependence upon the Father.
so he who feeds on Me
The person who “feeds on” Jesus or believes on Him has eternal life.
will live because of Me.
The person who believes on the death of Jesus to pay for his sins will possess life eternal. Believing on Christ gives life in Him but not life in oneself. God always mediates eternal life through Christ.
The bond between the Father and Christ is manifested in the bond between Christ and the believer.
Christ, who derived His life from the Father, has authority to impart eternal life to those who believe on Him. Jesus had life in Himself, but we have life in Him. Eternal life is God’s life imparted to the believer.
The ultimate source of eternal life is from the Father. Union with the Son enables us to share His life. As Christ lived for the Father, believers are to live for Christ. The intimacy that Christ shared with the Father is similar to the intimacy between the Lord and His disciples.