Category Archives: JOHN 10

The teaching of the Lord Jesus about Himself as the Good Shepherd.

JOHN 10

JOHN 10 THE GOOD SHEPHERD

The Lord Jesus is presented to us as a shepherd in each of the four gospels and in a way which fits in with the character of those gospels. In Matthew He is the one who shall “rule (as a shepherd) My people Israel”, Matthew 2:6. God’s ideal ruler has a shepherd heart.
In Mark 6:34 the Lord saw the multitudes as sheep not having a shepherd, so He taught them many things says Mark, for sheep need a table prepared before them, Psalm 23:5. So Mark emphasises His service as a shepherd. In Luke we are told of the shepherd who goes out to find the lost sheep, and brings it home rejoicing, Luke 15:3-7. So Luke emphasises His sympathy. John, however, in line with the nature of His gospel, tells us more about the person of the shepherd. These things should be a great help to those who are under-shepherds in the flock of God. They are there to oversee and guide; to teach the Word; to recover those who stray; and all the time manifesting Christ-like characteristics.
The discourse of John 10 is the last public one in John’s Gospel. The last private conversation in John also concerned sheep and lambs, John 21:15-17. The last word of the apostle Paul to the elders at Ephesus was on this subject, too, Acts 20:28-38; Peter wrote on the same lines as he neared the end of his life, 1 Peter 5:1-11; and the aged apostle John was concerned about those who were seducing, or leading astray, the people of God, 1 John 2:26. These final appeals should have weight with us, and encourage us, whether shepherds or flock.
This brings us to four purposes of the chapter.
Encouragement as our Shepherd describes Himself and His work.
Example for those who are shepherds of the local assembly.
Exhortation to the sheep, as those things which are true of the sheep are detailed.

Exposure of those who claim to be shepherds, but who are in fact thieves, robbers, wolves and hirelings.
It is also important to notice the link with the previous chapters in John’s Gospel. Chapter 7 takes place at the Feast of Tabernacles, and is followed closely by chapter 8. In this chapter the Lord Jesus is found teaching in the treasury. Two things are of note about this. First, this was the area that the Rabbis reserved to themselves to teach in. Second, the room adjoining the treasury was where the Sanhedrin met, and where they plotted Christ’s death. Both of these things show that the Lord is not afraid of those He accuses of being thieves and robbers. This is a great comfort, for the shepherd psalm, Psalm 23, speaks of the enemies of the flock, and the comfort that the sheep have in the fact that their shepherd is capable of dealing with those enemies. David protected the flock he was responsible for from the lion and the bear.
There is also a connection with chapter 9, for in that chapter physical blindness is cured, and the Pharisees and scribes learn that although by profession they could “see” the truth of God, in fact they were blind leaders of the blind. One of the New Testament words for elder is “overseer”, one who looks over the flock to ensure that they have everything they need, and who is alert to signs of danger.
The chapter may be divided as follows:

Verses 1-3 The genuineness of the Shepherd.
Verses 4-6 The guidance of the Shepherd.
Verses 7-10 The giving of the Shepherd.
Verses 11-18 The goodness of the Shepherd.
Verses 19-26 The government of the Shepherd.
Verses 27-38 The Godhood of the Shepherd.
Verses 39-42 The guardianship of the Shepherd.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN, CHAPTER 10, VERSES 1 TO 3:

10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
10:2 But He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
10:3 To Him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

Verses 1-3    The genuineness of the Shepherd

10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

Verily, verily, I say unto you- note there is no break between the chapters. The Pharisees are still being addressed, as those who claimed to shepherd the people of Israel. Verily, verily is the formula for introducing what is a development, is difficult, is definite, and is likely to be denied.
I say- not “Thus saith the Lord”, but the Lord Himself speaking, for “The Lord (Jehovah) is my shepherd”, Psalm 23:1. Note the courage of the shepherd as He confronts the enemies of the flock.
He that entereth not by the door of the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way- the sheepfold is Israel as a sacral state, i.e. a nation governed by its religion. The sheepfold was an enclosure on the hillside that the flocks would be sheltered in during the night. The point is that it is the outside walls that keep the sheep in, whereas the Lord Jesus is the shepherd of the flock, and He is the centre to which the sheep gather. The fold reminds us of the way Israel were fenced in by the law, whereas the flock enjoy the presence of the Shepherd in grace. To be a leader in Israel in the Old Testament, there had to be anointing by God. At the time of Christ, the anointed king was replaced by the Sanhedrists, the anointed priest was replaced by the Sadducean family, and the anointed prophets were replaced by the rabbis. None of these had been anointed by God, and as such had come into positions of leadership by false means.
The same is a thief and a robber- note that verses 1-6 are in the third person, and the Lord is setting out the principle of the matter. Once He has established Himself as the true shepherd, He begins to speak in the first person, “I”. A thief is one who steals by subtlety. A robber is one who steals by force. The Sadducean priestly family were known for their subtle, crafty ways, whereas the Pharisees and scribes were more openly hostile to Christ.

10:2 But He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

But He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep- at His baptism, the Lord Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, Acts 10:38, and was thereby introduced into the fold of Israel as God’s beloved Son. Although introduced into the fold, He did not become the shepherd of the fold, but rather of the sheep. There was a remnant of godly Jews in Israel who were waiting for the Messiah to come. They knew that first would come the forerunner, as Isaiah 40 had prophesied, but they would know from that passage that Messiah would feed His flock like a shepherd, Isaiah 40:11, and so they were expecting Him in that character. John tells us of those who began to follow Him, men like Peter, James, John, Nathaniel, who were already believers in God, and who were the sheep that recognised Him, and not the rulers in Israel, as shepherd,.

10:3 To Him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

To Him the porter openeth- the porter was the one responsible for only letting the right shepherds into the fold. Paul describes John the Baptist as the one who preached before Christ’s coming, and who declared that there was a worthy one to follow, Acts 13:24,25. The word used for “coming” is in fact entrance, and so this would indicate that John the Baptist is the one represented by the porter in John 10. John’s words were, “But that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptising with water”, John 1:31. So it was that John opened to Christ, and introduced Him formally into the fold of Israel.
And the sheep hear His voice- the Lord describes Himself to the blind man as “He that talketh with thee”, John 9:37. This feature of hearing the voice of the shepherd is one that marks a true sheep, for they receive and believe the words of their shepherd, depending absolutely on His word. This denotes their personal and confident faith in Him. The Epistle to the Hebrews has as one of its themes the speaking of Christ, see 1:1,2; 3:7,8; 12:25,26. The reference in chapter 3 is very relevant, for the writer quotes from Psalm 98 in which Israel is described as the sheep of God’s pasture and the flock of God’s hand. Then the appeal comes to the flock to hear His voice, for the words of guidance from the shepherd will keep them safe from harm if they listen and obey.
And He calleth His own sheep by name- this shows His personal interest in each of His own. He had come to His own people, the nation as a whole, but they received Him not. A remnant received Him, however, and they became His own, John 13:1. He said of the Pharisees that they were not of His sheep, John 10:26, so being part of the nation did not make a person a sheep; they must be owned by the Shepherd. In the East today, the shepherd will know each of the sheep by name, being aware of their individual characteristics and tendencies, and caring for them accordingly. Not only does the shepherd own the sheep, but the sheep own the shepherd, for David says, “The Lord is my shepherd”, Psalm 23:1.
And leadeth them out- it was not in the best interests of the sheep that they remain in the fold of Judaism, so the Lord led them out from it. By His ministry He showed that there were better things for them than Judaism and the law.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN, CHAPTER 10, VERSES 4 TO 6:

10:4 And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.
10:5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
10:6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which He spake unto them.

Verses   4-6 The guidance of the Shepherd

10:4 And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.

And when He putteth forth His own sheep He goeth before them- there were those like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea who seemed reluctant to be led out of Judaism. These, and others like them, the Lord gently put forth by the power of His own example. For He went forth outside the gate of Jerusalem, and outside the camp of Israel, and was crucified there. The word to all who were true sheep was, “Let us therefore go forth unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach”, Hebrews 13:13. Later in the chapter the Lord Jesus is described as the “Great shepherd of the sheep”, verse 20. It was Nicodemus and Joseph who took Christ’s body down from the cross, so they knew very well that He had taken the outside place.
And the sheep follow Him- the true sheep are confident that their shepherd will not lead them astray. “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”.
For they know His voice- by constantly listening to Him, they learn to recognise His voice.

10:5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him- John writes to the little children in the family of God and tells them that they need not any man to teach them, for they have the Holy Spirit within, and can discern by His power between the true shepherd who leads in right paths, and the false shepherd who leads astray, 1 John 2:26,27. Note that the sheep are not content just to not follow, for the false shepherd may follow them to trouble them. They prevent this happening by distancing themselves from false teachers.
For they know not the voice of strangers- by constantly listening to the voice of the Good Shepherd, they are able to easily tell when another is speaking to them. “Be not carried about by diverse and strange doctrines”, Hebrews 13:9.

10:6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which He spake unto them.

This parable spake Jesus unto them- that is, to the Pharisees of 9:40. The idea behind this word for parable is a similitude, which is not so far removed from reality as a parable, and hence easier to understand. Parables were spoken by the Lord after Israel had begun to shut their ears to the truth, and it was a form of judgement on them, for only true believers could understand the parable, see Matthew 13:9-17.
But they understood not what things they were which He spake unto them- they failed to comprehend even when the Lord does not speak in a full parable, such was the blindness of their hearts. As blind leaders, they were not fit to be called shepherds.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN, CHAPTER 10, VERSES 7 TO 10:

10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
10:8 All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
10:9 I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, He shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Verses 7-10   The giving of the Shepherd

10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

Then said Jesus unto them again- note His patience with them, even though He knows they are determined to put Him to death.
Verily, verily, I say unto you- the formula which shows there is to follow a development of the truth just given.
I am the door of the sheep- as previously noted, verses 1-6 are in the third person, but now the first person is used, as the Lord concentrates their mind on Himself, hence the “I”, emphatic, meaning “I to the exclusion of everyone else”. He is justified in speaking like this because He has declared what marks a genuine shepherd, and He alone fits the description. Note it is “door of the sheep”, not of the sheepfold. The Lord does not fill any office in the leadership of Israel, but initiates a new arrangement, where the sheep gather around His person. Having led the flock into the fold for the night, the shepherd would lay across the narrow entrance, thereby becoming in effect the door, thus personally ensuring the safety of the flock. The Lord takes up the figure of the fold, but does not imply that He came to be the door of the fold. He is the door of the sheep even when they are still nominally in the fold, as was the case with believers during His earthly ministry.

10:8 All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers- note they are, not they were, because the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, were still claiming the right to lead. “Before Me” means “before I was installed as the true shepherd at baptism.” There is no alternative to the leadership of Christ, for all others are thieves and robbers. By saying this directly to the Pharisees He is warning them against disturbing the flock.
But the sheep did not hear them- being trained by listening to their shepherd’s voice, they readily recognise the false, and refuse to hear what they have to say. We are to be “wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil”, Romans 16:19.

10:9 I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

I am the door- a further invitation to those who are believers in God, to believe also in Him, John 14:1.
By Me if any man enter in- there is only one door to safety. He is the personal means whereby that safety is gained.
He shall be saved- brought into a place of safety, free from the errors and tyranny of men.
And shall go in and out- freely moving amongst the flock, unperturbed by thoughts of danger. Note Song of Solomon 1:8.
And find pasture- not in the sense that the sheep have difficulty finding the pasture on their own, but rather, their shepherd finds the pasture for them, and when He leads them to it, they discover it. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures”, Psalm 23:2.

10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

The thief cometh not but for to steal and to kill and to destroy- the thief has only one sort of activity in mind. He comes to do all three things. Some sheep he seeks to steal, some to kill, and some to destroy. When he steals he takes away from the care of the shepherd, so that strange doctrines are believed and followed. When he kills, (remember it is a parable), he seeks to persuade them to renounce Christ, so that they no longer are living members of the flock. This cannot be done in fact, but the thief will attempt it. When he destroys, he seeks to ruin the lives of the sheep so that they cannot readily enjoy the provision the shepherd makes for them.
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly- He gives eternal life to those who believe, so they might come to know spiritual things. He also provides conditions whereby the sheep can enjoy the eternal life He gives them, in contrast to the thief who comes to maim and ruin. There are not two grades of eternal life, the ordinary and the abundant. Rather, the life all believers have is enjoyed to different degrees, according to whether they are down here on earth in the present body, or up in heaven with the resurrection body. There is a development of this thought in the next chapter, which presents the Lord as the resurrection and the life. The fullest, most abundant realisation of eternal life will be when we are in resurrection conditions in heaven.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN, CHAPTER 10, VERSES 11 TO 18:

10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.
10:12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
10:13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine.
10:15 As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
10:17 Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.
10:18 No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father.

Verses 11-18   The goodness of the Shepherd

10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd- this is the central one of the seven “I am” statements in John’s gospel. Unlike the other six, it puts the responsibility entirely on Christ. The “I” is emphatic, “I and none other”. This is a claim to Messiahship, for the prophets had spoken of the Messiah as a shepherd; see Isaiah 40:9-11, (and note previous verses foretelling the ministry of John the Baptist); Zechariah 13:7. The word for good means “morally beautiful”, and “suited to the task”. The Lord is building on His claim to genuineness in previous verses. The fact that He is good reminds us of several things:
1. His Deity, for there is none good but God, Luke 18:19.
2. His integrity, for He is intrinsically good, and not good as a result of improvement.
3. His moral beauty, for those who love God and His truth willingly follow and obey Him.
4. His activity, for He is suited to the task in hand.

The good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep- what He is good at is now described, for there are four mentions of the idea of the giving, or laying down of the life.
In verses 12,13 His care.
In verses 14,15 His knowledge.
In verses 16, 17 His interest in the Gentiles.
In verse 18 His authority.

The word for life here is “psuche”, the soul, emphasising the feeling that is put into the laying of His life down; is not done lightly, nor is it without cost. Just before the cross the Saviour said, “Now is My soul troubled”, John 12:27. If he was troubled at the prospect of the cross, what must the actual experience have been like? The apostle John sees in the love of Christ the example for us to follow, and to “lay down our lives for the brethren, 1 John 3:16. This would tell us that to lay down the life does not only mean die; it includes living for the sake of others, as well as dying for them if needs be. So the good shepherd devoted His life to the welfare of the sheep, protecting, teaching, leading them, and then He gave Himself in sacrifice for them, to purchase them eternally for Himself.

10:12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

But He that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not- the “but” introduces a contrast. The hireling gives the sheep for his life, allowing to wolf to seize the sheep instead of seizing him. He has no personal interest in the flock, for the sheep do not belong to him, and he does not put heart and soul into caring for the flock.
Seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth- the hireling is watchful, but only for his own interests, just like the Pharisees whose primary concern was their own reputation and position. Note he leaves the flock and then flees, or in other words, leaves the flock to the mercy of the wolf, and flees to save his own life.
And the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep- the word catcheth is used by the Lord in verse 29 “pluck out of My hand”. The sheep can be plucked out of the feeble grasp of the hireling, but not from the hand of the good shepherd. David spoke of a shepherd who had skilful hands, and a heart of integrity, Psalm 78:72. The apostle Paul warned the shepherds of the flock in Acts 20 regarding wolves, Acts 20:29. He himself was of the tribe of Benjamin, noted for their war-like tendencies, and Jacob prophesied that Benjamin would “ravin as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil”, Genesis 49:27. Saul of Tarsus was Benjamin-like in his pursuit of Christians, breathing out threatenings and slaughter. It takes courage on the part of shepherds to save the flock from such onslaughts.

10:13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

The hireling fleeth because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep- since he is only working for hire, or wages, the hireling’s main concern is to survive until his wages are due; the welfare of the sheep is secondary. He does not care “concerning the sheep”, he only cares concerning his life and safety. As such he is a negative example, and highlights the superior qualities of the Good Shepherd. The latter was prepared to go through the experiences detailed in Psalm 22, that the sheep might go through those detailed in Psalm 23.

10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine.

I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine- the Lord had repeated “I am the door”, first to contrast with those not genuine, and then to set out what He would do. So here, for having contrasted Himself with the hireling, the Lord now sets out His positive actions and abilities. He has a personal and intimate knowledge of His sheep, being aware of their tendencies and weaknesses. Because His sheep have eternal life, they have the capacity to get to know Him, not just in terms of doctrine as to His person, but also in terms of appreciating His care and attention, the expressions of His goodness. See John 17:3, where “that” has the double idea of initially getting to know, and then progressively getting to know.

10:15 As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep.

As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep- note the reference to the mutual knowledge of the Father and the Son, the expression of the eternal life which they share. This mutual knowledge was accompanied by mutual acknowledgement and love, so that the Lord Jesus has personal experience of His Father’s care. Let us not forget that just as Isaac was both lamb and son in Genesis 22, so the Lord Jesus is the Lamb of God, and as such has known Jehovah as His shepherd too. See Revelation 7:17, “The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed (shepherd) them”. But there is more, for the shepherd lays down His life in the full consciousness of what the will of the Father is. Since He knows the Father perfectly, He knows His Father’s will perfectly, and in accordance with that will lays down His life for the sheep. We may, therefore, have the utmost confidence in what He did at Calvary.

10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

And other sheep I have- the shepherd is aware of the intentions of the Godhead in relation to the Gentiles, and can speak of having or possessing these sheep even before He has died, so confident is He of the outcome of Calvary.
Which are not of this fold- they were not, and never would be, part of the Jewish fold, but they would become part of a flock.
Them also I must bring- as well as bringing Jewish believers out of Judaism, He is constrained, (hence the “must”), by love to the sheep, and love to His Father, to bring these other sheep too. They do not have to go through the same process of being put out of the fold as the Jewish believers, for they were never in it; they are simply brought into a new thing.

And they shall hear My voice- Ephesians 2:17 speaks in terms of the Lord Himself coming to the Gentiles and preaching peace to them, and this He did through the agency of the apostles, to whom the promise was, “Lo, I am with you alway”, Matthew 26:20, and they went forth preaching, “the Lord working with them”, Mark 16:20.
And there shall be one fold, and one shepherd- the word translated “fold” here is slightly different to the one employed in verse 1. The first word denotes an enclosure which keeps in the sheep because of the surrounding walls. The second word also has the idea of protection, for it is translated as “palace” in Matthew 26:3. We shall learn in verse 28 what this fold is; it is even His hand and His Father’s hand. This is a major difference, and sums up the distinction between Judaism, with its laws and restrictions to constrain the people, and Christ who secures His people’s welfare by His own powerful hand.
There is, and can be, but one shepherd, for already we have learned that all that came before Him are spurious, and once He has come, it becomes clear that He can never be equalled, let alone surpassed.

10:17 Therefore doth my Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.

Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again- note that as soon as the idea of the Gentiles is introduced, the idea of resurrection is also brought in, for it is after His resurrection that the Lord sent His apostles to the uttermost parts of the earth. No longer were they restricted to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, Matthew 10:5,6. The willing giving up of His life has given His Father fresh cause to love Him. His life was laid down for many reasons, but here it is for the express purpose of taking it again, so that in resurrection the Lord could resume His shepherd care. See, for instance, Matthew 26:31, “I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad”, then verse 32, “But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee”. So also John 21:15-17.

10:18 No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father.

No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of Myself- no ordinary man has the ability to decide when he will die, for “there is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death”, Ecclesiastes 8:8. It is true that men murdered Christ, Acts 7:52, but only at the moment of His choosing.
I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father- as one who has power, He has the right to act. Because He is a subject Man, and obeys the commandments of His Father, He was able to lay down his life freely, without men dictating to Him. But He is the Son of God as well, so this is why no one can take His life from Him, for He is the Living One, Revelation 1:18 margin. By laying down His life of Himself, and in perfect obedience to His Father, He has completely defeated the Devil, who had the power of death, see Hebrews 2:14.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN, CHAPTER 10, VERSES 19 TO 26:

10:19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
10:20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye Him?
10:21 Others said, These are not the words of Him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
10:24 Then came the Jews round about Him, and said unto Him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.
10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you.

Verses 19-26  The government of the Shepherd

10:19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.

There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings- there had been division in 7:43; 9:16. As He said in 9:39, the Lord had come for judgement, in the sense that He was the one against whom everything was to be judged and decided. Truth as to Christ will always divide between believers and unbelievers, for that truth always provokes a reaction.

10:20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye Him?

And many of them said, “He hath a devil, and is mad, why hear ye Him?”- John will tell us in verse 22 that it was now the Feast of Dedication. This was a festival started by the Jews to commemorate the deliverance of the nation from the tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes, who had many of the features that will mark the future Antichrist. The Jews had a nickname for this vile person, calling him Antiochus Epimanes, or Antiochus the Madman. Such is the corruption of the human heart, that they are here calling the true Christ the madman! By Jews John means the authorities, as distinguished from the “others” of the next verse.

10:21 Others said, These are not the words of Him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?- they have been impressed by the miracle of healing the blind man, and admit this shows He is not demon-inspired. By this remark they distance themselves from the rulers who asserted that He worked miracles by the power of Satan. Alas, they seem not to go so far as to believe on Him.

10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter- John pointedly calls the feasts which are called the Feasts of the Lord in the Old Testament, the Feasts of the Jews. They had so corrupted the things of God that everything now centred around themselves, and not around Him. The feast of dedication was never called a feast of the Lord, so John does not call it a feast of the Jews either. The fact that it was winter explains why the Lord Jesus is walking, and why He does it in the semi-enclosed Porch of Solomon in the Temple courts.

10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.

And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch- it is said that this part of the temple was all that remained of Solomon’s temple. It was here that Solomon had his throne of judgement, and gave his decisions. In a day to come the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, and the nations shall be divided the one from the other, “as a shepherd divided his sheep from the goats”, Matthew 25:31,32. This division between sheep and goats happens here too. He does this infallibly because, far from being a madman, He is wiser and greater than Solomon.

10:24 Then came the Jews round about Him, and said unto Him, How long dost Thou make us to doubt? If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

Then came the Jews round about Him- but not gathering to Him as their shepherd. They are surrounding Him to impede His progress, and to insist that He answer their questions.
How long dost Thou make us to doubt? If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly- the Lord never gave doubtful answers, nor had He left them in suspense, (as “make us to doubt” means), but always spoke with authority and clarity. The confusion was in their own minds.

10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me”- that He was the Messiah was His claim from the beginning, but they had consistently disbelieved Him. The works He had done were the works that the prophet Isaiah said the Messiah would do, Isaiah 35:4-6, so they gave adequate testimony at this late stage of His ministry.

10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you.

But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you- by refusing His claims, they showed their unbelief, and so showed themselves to be goats, not sheep. Their unbelief was the reason why they were not sheep; it was not that they were not sheep and therefore did not believe.

They were marked by the following features:-

Verse 20 Said He had a devil and was mad.
Verse 24 Accused Him of leaving them in suspense as to who He was.
Verse 24 Suggested He did not make Himself clear.
Verse 25 Refused to believe, even when He had made a direct verbal claim.
Verse 25 Rejected the testimony of His works, which were designed to prove who He was.

Having made clear what features mark a goat, now we have the features of the sheep, summarised as follows:-

Verse 27 Hear His voice.
Verse 27 Shepherd knows them.
Verse 27 They follow Him.
Verse 28 He gives them eternal life.
Verse 28 They shall never perish.
Verse 28   None shall pluck them out of His hand.
Verse 29 None shall pluck them out of His Father’s hand.

Verse 26 ends with “as I said unto you”, which anticipates the next few statements in verses 27,28, where certain things are repeated from the first part of the chapter. Remember the two halves of the chapter are three months apart in time.

Hear His voice Hear His voice, verse 3.
I know them Calleth His own sheep by name, verse 3.
They follow Me The sheep follow Him, verse 4.
I give unto them eternal life I am come that they might have life, verse 10.
They shall never perish Life abundantly, verse 10.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN, CHAPTER 10, VERSES 27 TO 38:

10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:
10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.
10:29 My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.
10:30 I and My Father are one.
10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.
10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me?
10:33 The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.
10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
10:35 If He called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
10:36 Say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
10:37 If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not.
10:38 But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.

Verses 27-38.  The Godhood of the Shepherd

10:27 My sheep hear Hy voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:

My sheep hear My voice- Far from disputing with Him, as the Jews did, the true sheep accept without question what the Lord their shepherd says to them through His word.
I know them- His personal awareness of the individual needs of each sheep. “Thou hast known my downsitting and my uprising. The shepherd is alert to every movement of His sheep, for it may indicate something is wrong, and danger is near. The Lord knew that Satan had desired to have Peter, before ever Peter knew, Luke 22:31,32.
They follow Me- Amos speaks of a shepherd rescuing “two legs or a piece of an ear” from the lion, Amos 3:12. The leg would represent the ability to walk and follow; the ear, to hear the shepherd’s voice. The sheep instinctively know the voice of a stranger who will lead them astray, and are content to follow where their shepherd leads. They are confident that He will only lead them in the paths of righteousness. Note that the Lord, whilst He is speaking of individuals, says “them”, for the idea of a flock is in view. It is not natural for a sheep to be isolated. Even when they go astray, they do it together, Isaiah 53:6.

10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.

And I give unto them eternal life- to the Jew, eternal life was reserved until the Age of the Messiah, when He reigns upon earth. The Lord assures the people that they may have eternal life now. Eternal life is received when a person believes the gospel, and is born of God. The life of God is then infused into their soul. The fact that here the Lord Jesus claims to give eternal life shows His Deity. To be born of God and to be given eternal life by Christ are the same thing.
And they shall never perish- to perish means to be brought to a worse state before God. We have the guarantee that the good shepherd will ensure that, as far as depends on Him, the spiritual state of the sheep will never deteriorate under His care. Of course, wayward sheep will put themselves into danger, and they may suffer spiritually, but this is neither final nor irremediable.
Neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand- not only will the sheep always be safe from perishing, but none, whether men or devils, shall ever remove them from the hand of their shepherd. To be in his hand means to be under His control, in His power. The word “pluck” is the same as “snatch” in verse 12. Because He is not a hireling, but has a personal interest in each of His own sheep, each one is perfectly safe from spiritual harm. So this verse indicates that the sheep have eternal life, and therefore have the ability to advance spiritually; they are also safe from anything which would attempt to make them deteriorate spiritually.

10:29 My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.

My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand- again we have the indication of God’s sovereign counsels in eternity, for they belong to the Godhead, but now that Christ has come into manhood and taken the place of subjection to God, He is given them when they believe. See John 6:37,39. God is greater than all the forces of evil in the universe combined, so none is able to pluck out of His hand.

10:30 I and My Father are one.

I and My Father are one- if the Lord had merely meant by this, “I and My Father are one in aim”, the Jews would not have taken up stones to stone Him, for they all would have claimed to have the same goals as God. What He is claiming, however, is that He is one in essence with the Father, that He shares the attributes of God. So if the sheep are safe in His hand, it is because He is equal with God, and therefore the hand that holds them is Divine. So the sheep are safe for several reasons:-
Their shepherd is the good shepherd, skilful and watchful, and more than a match for the cunning of the enemies of the flock.
Their shepherd lays His life down for them, thus defeating their main foe, the Devil himself.
The Father holds the sheep in His hand in the sense that they are the subject of His saving purposes.
The Father is, by definition, greater than all the enemies of the flock, and therefore they are safe.
Their shepherd is one in essence with the Father, and therefore His Deity is the basis of all His dealings with His people.
If the sheep are in the Father’s hand and also in the Son’s, and if the Father and the Son are one, then the only way the sheep can lose their eternal security is by dividing the Persons of the Godhead. Since this is not possible, then the sheep are safe for as long as God remains, which is for ever.

10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him- this, as well as their word in verse 33, shows they understood His words in verse 30 to be a claim to Deity. The word “again” reminds us that it was not the first time, see 8:59. It was their solemn duty under the Law of Moses to stone to death one who blasphemed the name of the Lord in some way, see Leviticus 24:15,16.

10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me?

Jesus answered them- He responds to the stones with a question. Note the fact that even though an attempt is being made on His life, our shepherd keeps calm, and upholds the truth as to His person.
Many good works have I showed you from My Father: for which of those works do ye stone Me?- note that the Lord does not admit the possibility that they are stoning Him for blasphemy- it is not something He can contemplate doing. His good works were an expression of Himself, and since He is one with the Father, an expression also of the goodness of God. The question is designed to stop them in their tracks, for they would hesitate to “fight against God”, see Acts 5:35,39.

10:33 The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.

The Jews answered Him saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God- they cite two reasons, the one connected with the other. They believed that to say “I and My Father are one” was an insult to God and His Name, and it implied that He, a man, was God. They clearly understand His words to be a claim to Deity. They can give no instance of Him doing an evil work, for “He went about doing good”, Acts 10:38. If they had seen the significance of the works, or signs, which the Lord performed, they would have realised He was indeed one with the Father.

10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods”- the reasoning which follows is adapted to the situation prevailing- it is no time to give lengthy discourses about His Person, (and in any case that has already been done fully), so this style of argument is used by the Lord to arrest them, and show that even on the level of human logic, they are being unreasonable to stone Him for blasphemy. In Psalm 82:6 God had addressed the judges of Israel as gods. He had done this before in Exodus 22:28, for the judges of the people acted for God. The question is, can it be wrong to call a man a god, when God Himself does it in the scriptures which they recognised as their own?

10:35 If He called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

If He called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken)- the word of God came to men, appointing them as His representatives as they judged the children of Israel according to the Law. This is recorded in the Old Testament scriptures, and therefore is not something that can be evaded, for the scripture cannot be broken up or dissolved so as to alter its meaning. They cannot escape from its plain testimony. See Exodus 22:28.

10:36 Say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

Say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world- the “ye” is emphatic, ye who call the law “your law”, verse 34, professing to believe it and act upon it. The one that they disputed with was the Son of God, who had been set apart by the Father for a very special task, and had been sent into the world to do it.
Thou blasphemest; because I said “I am the Son of God?”- if a mere man could be called a god because he had been appointed by God to judge on His behalf, how can it be blasphemous for the one who is the Son of God, and therefore equal with God, to be charged with blasphemy for asserting His relationship with the Father? Because He had been sent into the world, the Lord existed before He became a man, and thus was more than man, and therefore more than the men that were called gods, the judges of Israel. If it proper to call those who are mere men, gods, (and it is, because God Himself does it), then it is also proper to call the Lord Jesus God, since He is much more than man. Note that the title Son of God is used by the Lord Jesus as being the equivalent to claiming to be one with the Father. In other words, the title Son of God as used of Christ, is in a different category to the use of the title sons of God of angels or believers.

10:37 If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not.

If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not- a direct challenge to those who wavered. They should assess His works, and decide whether it was possible that they were anything other than works from God. They have already said, “Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?”, verse 21, implying that they do not believe a demon-inspired person could do the works He did.

10:38 But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.

But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works- if they did not feel ready to commit themselves to Him simply because of what He said, they should at least believe the works to be from God, that this might be the stepping-stone to real faith in his person.
That ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in Me, and I in Him- Once they had believed the works, they would know about Him, and would then believe the truth as to His oneness with the Father. The expression “the Father is in Me” means that the Father is working out His purpose through what I do by way of works. “And I in Him” means “I am in vital and intimate relationship with Him, being equal in essence and attributes”.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN, CHAPTER 10, VERSES 39 TO 42:

10:39 Therefore they sought again to take Him: but He escaped out of their hand,
10:40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there He abode.
10:41 And many resorted unto Him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
10:42 And many believed on Him there.

Verses 39-42  The guardianship of the Shepherd

10:39 Therefore they sought again to take Him: but He escaped out of their hand,

Therefore they sought again to take Him:- far from seeing the logic of His argument, they only sought to kill Him, for their minds were blinded, and they could not see, 12:37-41.
But He escaped out of their hand- the Lord knew that the hour of His death had not yet come, and therefore would not allow Himself to be taken by them. He would lay down His life by Himself, at the moment of His Father’s choosing.

10:40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there He abode.

And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptised; and there He abode- events have gone full circle, and the Lord deliberately returns to where His approval by God was signalled at His baptism, and where there were those who abode with Him, because they saw in Him the Messiah, John 1:29-39.

10:41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.

And many resorted unto Him, and said, “John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true”- note that the miracles of the Lord Jesus were a support to the truth that He made known- they were not an end in themselves. Despite, however, the fact that John did no miracles to support what he said, they were convinced he was right. If a man that did no miracles could be right, then certainly one who did miracles that were plainly of God must also be right.

10:42 And many believed on Him there.

And many believed on Him there- John baptised in the wilderness, and so the people that have followed the Lord to where John first baptised, have followed Him into the wilderness. They are prepared to take the outside, separate place if that is where their Lord is. The good shepherd has led them outside the fold, and they are gathered to Him, the attracting centre.