John 10

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

1 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.
2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.
9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided.
20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”
21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Further Conflict Over Jesus’ Claims

22 Then came the Festival of Dedication[b] at Jerusalem. It was winter,
23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.
24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me,
26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c] ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and the Father are one.”
31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him,
32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’[d] ?
35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—
36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?
37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father.
38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed,
41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.”
42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.

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.

Cross References 64

  • 1. ver 8,10
  • 2. ver 11,14; Mark 6:34
  • 3. ver 4,5,14,16,27
  • 4. ver 4,5,14,16,27
  • 5. S ver 3
  • 6. S John 16:25
  • 7. S Mark 9:32
  • 8. S John 6:35
  • 9. ver 9
  • 10. Jeremiah 23:1,2; Ezekiel 34:2
  • 11. ver 1
  • 12. S John 1:4; John 3:15,16; John 5:40; John 20:31
  • 13. Psalms 65:11; Romans 5:17
  • 14. S John 6:35
  • 15. ver 14; Psalms 23:1; Isaiah 40:11; Eze 34:11-16,23; Matthew 2:6; Luke 12:32; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 7:17
  • 16. ver 15,17,18; John 15:13; 1 John 3:16
  • 17. Zechariah 11:16,17
  • 18. S ver 11
  • 19. ver 27; Exodus 33:12
  • 20. Matthew 11:27
  • 21. ver 11,17,18
  • 22. Isaiah 56:8; Acts 10:34,35
  • 23. John 11:52; John 17:20,21; Ephesians 2:11-19
  • 24. Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 37:24; 1 Peter 2:25
  • 25. ver 11,15,18
  • 26. Matthew 26:53
  • 27. John 15:10; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 5:8
  • 28. S John 6:52; John 7:43; John 9:16
  • 29. S Mark 3:22; John 7:20
  • 30. 2 Kings 9:11; Jeremiah 29:26; Mark 3:21
  • 31. S Matthew 4:24
  • 32. Exodus 4:11; John 9:32,33
  • 33. Acts 3:11; Acts 5:12
  • 34. S John 1:19
  • 35. Luke 22:67; John 16:25,29
  • 36. John 4:26; John 8:58
  • 37. John 5:36; John 14:11
  • 38. John 8:47
  • 39. ver 14
  • 40. ver 4
  • 41. S Matthew 25:46
  • 42. Isaiah 66:22
  • 43. S John 6:39
  • 44. Jn 17:2,6,24
  • 45. John 14:28
  • 46. Deuteronomy 6:4; John 17:21-23
  • 47. S John 8:59
  • 48. Leviticus 24:16; Matthew 26:63-66; John 5:18
  • 49. John 8:17; John 12:34; John 15:25; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 14:21
  • 50. Psalms 82:6
  • 51. S Hebrews 4:12
  • 52. S Matthew 5:18
  • 53. Jeremiah 1:5
  • 54. John 6:69
  • 55. S John 3:17
  • 56. John 5:17,18
  • 57. ver 25; John 15:24
  • 58. Jn 14:10,11,20; John 17:21
  • 59. John 7:30
  • 60. Luke 4:30; John 8:59
  • 61. John 1:28
  • 62. S John 2:11; John 3:30
  • 63. Jn 1:26,27,30,34
  • 64. S John 7:31

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Or "kept safe"
  • [b]. That is, Hanukkah
  • [c]. Many early manuscripts "What my Father has given me is greater than all"
  • [d]. Psalm 82:6

John 10 Commentaries

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