John 10

The Ideal Shepherd

1 "I assure you: Anyone who doesn't enter the sheep pen by the door but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber.
2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 The doorkeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice.
5 They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don't recognize the voice of strangers."
6 Jesus gave them this illustration, but they did not understand what He was telling them.

The Good Shepherd

7 So Jesus said again, "I assure you: I am the door of the sheep.
8 All who came before Me [a] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn't listen to them.
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.
10 A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.
11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12 The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and doesn't own the sheep, leaves them [b] and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and scatters them.
13 [This happens] because he is a hired man and doesn't care about the sheep.
14 "I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me,
15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.
16 But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd.
17 This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life so I may take it up again.
18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from My Father."
19 Again a division[c] took place among the Jews because of these words.
20 Many of them were saying, "He has a demon and He's crazy! Why do you listen to Him?"
21 Others were saying, "These aren't the words of someone demon-possessed. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"

Jesus at the Festival of Dedication

22 Then the Festival of Dedication[d] took place in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
23 Jesus was walking in the temple complex in Solomon's Colonnade.[e]
24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and asked, "How long are You going to keep us in suspense?[f] If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly."[g]
25 "I did tell you and you don't believe," Jesus answered them. "The works that I do in My Father's name testify about Me.
26 But you don't believe because you are not My sheep. [h]
27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish-ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
30 The Father and I are one." [i]

Renewed Efforts to Stone Jesus

31 Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him.
32 Jesus replied, "I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?"
33 "We aren't stoning You for a good work," the Jews answered, "but for blasphemy, because You-being a man-make Yourself God."
34 Jesus answered them, "Isn't it written in your law, [j] I said, you are gods ? [k]
35 If He called those whom the word of God came to 'gods'-and the Scripture cannot be broken-
36 do you say, 'You are blaspheming' to the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, because I said: I am the Son of God?
37 If I am not doing My Father's works, don't believe Me.
38 But if I am doing them and you don't believe Me, believe the works. This way you will know and understand [l] that the Father is in Me and I in the Father."
39 Then they were trying again to seize Him,[m] yet He eluded their grasp.

Many beyond the Jordan Believe in Jesus

40 So He departed again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and He remained there.
41 Many came to Him and said, "John never did a sign, but everything John said about this man was true."
42 And many believed in Him there.

John 10 Commentary

Chapter 10

The parable of the good shepherd. (1-5) Christ the Door. (6-9) Christ the good Shepherd. (10-18) The Jews' opinion concerning Jesus. (19-21) His discourse at the feast of dedication. (22-30) The Jews attempt to stone Jesus. (31-38) He departs from Jerusalem. (39-42)

Verses 1-5 Here is a parable or similitude, taken from the customs of the East, in the management of sheep. Men, as creatures depending on their Creator, are called the sheep of his pasture. The church of God in the world is as a sheep-fold, exposed to deceivers and persecutors. The great Shepherd of the sheep knows all that are his, guards them by his providence, guides them by his Spirit and word, and goes before them, as the Eastern shepherds went before their sheep, to set them in the way of his steps. Ministers must serve the sheep in their spiritual concerns. The Spirit of Christ will set before them an open door. The sheep of Christ will observe their Shepherd, and be cautious and shy of strangers, who would draw them from faith in him to fancies about him.

Verses 6-9 Many who hear the word of Christ, do not understand it, because they will not. But we shall find one scripture expounding another, and the blessed Spirit making known the blessed Jesus. Christ is the Door. And what greater security has the church of God than that the Lord Jesus is between it and all its enemies? He is a door open for passage and communication. Here are plain directions how to come into the fold; we must come in by Jesus Christ as the Door. By faith in him as the great Mediator between God and man. Also, we have precious promises to those that observe this direction. Christ has all that care of his church, and every believer, which a good shepherd has of his flock; and he expects the church, and every believer, to wait on him, and to keep in his pasture.

Verses 10-18 Christ is a good Shepherd; many who were not thieves, yet were careless in their duty, and by their neglect the flock was much hurt. Bad principles are the root of bad practices. The Lord Jesus knows whom he has chosen, and is sure of them; they also know whom they have trusted, and are sure of Him. See here the grace of Christ; since none could demand his life of him, he laid it down of himself for our redemption. He offered himself to be the Saviour; Lo, I come. And the necessity of our case calling for it, he offered himself for the Sacrifice. He was both the offerer and the offering, so that his laying down his life was his offering up himself. From hence it is plain, that he died in the place and stead of men; to obtain their being set free from the punishment of sin, to obtain the pardon of their sin; and that his death should obtain that pardon. Our Lord laid not his life down for his doctrine, but for his sheep.

Verses 19-21 Satan ruins many, by putting them out of conceit with the word and ordinances. Men would not be laughed out of their necessary food, yet suffer themselves thus to be laughed out of what is far more necessary. If our zeal and earnestness in the cause of Christ, especially in the blessed work of bringing his sheep into his fold, bring upon us evil names, let us not heed it, but remember our Master was thus reproached before us.

Verses 22-30 All who have any thing to say to Christ, may find him in the temple. Christ would make us to believe; we make ourselves doubt. The Jews understood his meaning, but could not form his words into a full charge against him. He described the gracious disposition and happy state of his sheep; they heard and believed his word, followed him as his faithful disciples, and none of them should perish; for the Son and the Father were one. Thus he was able to defend his sheep against all their enemies, which proves that he claimed Divine power and perfection equally with the Father.

Verses 31-38 Christ's works of power and mercy proclaim him to be over all, God blessed for evermore, that all may know and believe He is in the Father, and the Father in Him. Whom the Father sends, he sanctifies. The holy God will reward, and therefore will employ, none but such as he makes holy. The Father was in the Son, so that by Divine power he wrought his miracles; the Son was so in the Father, that he knew the whole of His mind. This we cannot by searching find out to perfection, but we may know and believe these declarations of Christ.

Verses 39-42 No weapon formed against our Lord Jesus shall prosper. He escaped, not because he was afraid to suffer, but because his hour was not come. And He who knew how to deliver himself, knows how to deliver the godly our of their temptations, and to make a way for them to escape. Persecutors may drive Christ and his gospel our of their own city or country, but they cannot drive him or it out of the world. When we know Christ by faith in our hearts, we find all that the Scripture saith of him is true.

Footnotes 13

  • [a]. Other mss omit before Me
  • [b]. Lit leaves the sheep
  • [c]. Jn 7:43
  • [d]. Or Hanukkah, also called the Feast of Lights; this festival commemorated the rededication of the temple in 164 b.c.
  • [e]. Rows of columns supporting a roof
  • [f]. Lit How long are you taking away our life?
  • [g]. Or openly, or publicly
  • [h]. Other mss add just as I told you
  • [i]. Lit I and the Father-We are one.
  • [j]. Other mss read in the law
  • [k]. Ps 82:6
  • [l]. Other mss read know and believe
  • [m]. Jn 7:44

John 10 Commentaries