|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:28-35 Constant exercise of faith in Christ, is the most important and difficult part of the obedience required from us, as sinners seeking salvation. When by his grace we are enabled to live a life of faith in the Son of God, holy tempers follow, and acceptable services may be done. God, even his Father, who gave their fathers that food from heaven to support their natural lives, now gave them the true Bread for the salvation of their souls. Coming to Jesus, and believing on him, signify the same. Christ shows that he is the true Bread; he is to the soul what bread is to the body, nourishes and supports the spiritual life. He is the Bread of God. Bread which the Father gives, which he has made to be the food of our souls. Bread nourishes only by the powers of a living body; but Christ is himself living Bread, and nourishes by his own power. The doctrine of Christ crucified is now as strengthening and comforting to a believer as ever it was. He is the Bread which came down from heaven. It denotes the Divinity of Christ's person and his authority; also, the Divine origin of all the good which flows to us through him. May we with understanding and earnestness say, Lord, evermore give us this Bread.
Verse 28. - They say unto him, What must we do, that we may work the works of God? The works of God might be, either works like those which are wrought by God the Father, but this would be a very improbable demand; or "the works of God" may be those which God has assigned to man as the conditions of his favour. There is a breadth about the question that may cover the ground involved in Christ's declaration, but it reveals, at the same time, the self-complacency, the carnal conception on the part of these Galilaeans of their being able, competent, to fulfil along certain lines to be specified, all the required conditions. But we must not be too hard on these Galilaeans, brought up as they were to believe in the efficacy of certain rounds of specific and arbitrary duties, methods of purification, forms of service and of abstinence, pilgrimages and fastings and feastings, as well as obedience to a specific moral code. They ask quite rationally, "What must we do?" and in various forms the same question bursts from the heart of all who have, starting from utter indifference, made any progress towards, or in the direction of, holy living or of Divine pleasing.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then said they unto him,.... Understanding by what he said, that they must labour and work, though not for perishing food, yet for durable food; and as they imagined, in order to obtain eternal life by working:
what shall we do that we might work the works of God? Such as are agreeable to his will, are acceptable to him, and well pleasing in his sight: they seem to intimate, as if they desired to know whether there were any other works of this kind, than what Moses had directed them to, or than they had done; and if there were, they suggest they would gladly do them; for this was the general cast and complexion of this people; they were seeking for righteousness, and life not by faith, but, as it were, by the works of the law.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
28-31. What shall we do … the works of God—such works as God will approve. Different answers may be given to such a question, according to the spirit which prompts the inquiry. (See Ho 6:6-8; Lu 3:12-14). Here our Lord, knowing whom He had to deal with, shapes His reply accordingly.
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