John 10


Chapter 10 picks up where chapter 9 leaves off. After Jesus told the Pharisees, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains” (Jn 9:41), He continued speaking to them through verse 21. The phrase “Most assuredly (NKJV)” or “Verily Verily (KJV)” proves this because this phrase is not used to introduce a new topic. Jesus was about to teach these Pharisees that He is the true Shepherd.


John 10:1"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.  2 "But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  4 "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  5 "Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."  6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.   


In my introduction to this study, I stated that there are no parables in the Gospel of John. Some consider this to be a parable and they call it, “The parable of the shepherd and the sheep.” Even the KJV calls this a parable in verse 6. However, the Greek word used here is “paroimian” which means a wise saying, proverb, maxim, or allegory, so it is not a parable. In comparison, the synoptic Gospels never use the word “paroimian” to describe a parable. They use the Greek word “parabole,” which means “something that serves as a model or example pointing beyond itself for later realization” (BDAG). This saying of Jesus was used to describe the role of a shepherd and symbolically show that He is the true Shepherd.


A shepherd was a man who would protect and lead his sheep to safety. There were many dangers he would face, but he was willing to give his life to protect his sheep. At nighttime, if he could find a cave to put the sheep in, he would lay at the entrance making himself a door to the sheep. Any animal that wanted to eat the sheep would have to go through him first. If there was not a cave available, he would build a protective wall from stones or thorns and lay at the entrance of it as well.


When the shepherd brought the sheep back into the village, he would put them into the sheepfold. A sheepfold was a place build in the village to hold the sheep, but it did not have a roof, and a guard would be hired to watch the gate of the sheepfold. However, those that wanted to steal sheep would climb over the wall and take them.


Jesus gave an accurate description of what is involved in being a shepherd, but at the same time, He was calling these Pharisees thieves and robbers because they were not the true shepherds. Throughout the history of the Jews, they had deviated from God’s plan over and over. As time went on, the Scribes and Pharisees had been leading the people astray by all their manmade regulations. In essences, this made them thieves and robbers because they did not gain their followers by entering through the door of truth.


Since shepherds spend a lot of time with their sheep, they learn to trust their shepherd and follow their lead. The shepherd can call them by name and they will follow. Sometimes in these sheepfolds there would be different sheep from different shepherds, but when a shepherd came to gather his sheep, all he had to do was call them, and they would follow him. The sheep that did not belong to him would stay in the pin.


Jesus is symbolically calling Himself the Shepherd and calling these Pharisees the strangers. In our example of the blind man in John 9, he heard the voice of Jesus and after he received his sight, he would only follow the voice of Jesus. Even though the Pharisees tried to get him to listen to their voice, he would not because he trusted in Jesus’ voice. Verse 6 tells us that the Pharisees did not understand what Jesus was talking about.


John 10:7 Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  8 "All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.  9 "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.   


In verses 7 and 9, we have our third “I am” statement. Jesus metaphorically calls Himself a door, which gives us two different thoughts. First, this means the only way to have salvation is through Jesus, which is taught elsewhere as well (Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12). The only way a person can go through Jesus is by obeying His Word (Jn. 14:15). Second, if a person wants to have spiritual fellowship with the sheep, they must go through Jesus and abide by His authority.


 Those who do not enter the flock through the door are considered thieves. These thieves are only interested in themselves, and they do not care if the flock is killed or destroyed, which is exactly what the Jewish leaders were guilty of. They did not care about anyone but themselves. There is great example of this is Ezekiel 34:1-10. Even though these Pharisees did not have the peoples’ best interest at heart, Jesus did. He came to the earth, so we could have life more abundantly.


There are many nonChristians who think the life of a Christian is boring, depressing, and restricted. However, this is untrue because the life of a Christian is exciting and it is full of joy and happiness because we know we have a God that loves us and has promised us eternal life in heaven. The life of a Christian is far from being boring. While it is true that a Christian is restricted from living in sin, the rewards that we receive as Christians far out way sinful living. Paul understood this idea (Phi. 3:7-11).


John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  12 "But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.  13 "The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.  14 "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.


I am the good Shepherd” is the fourth “I am” statement of Jesus. Not only is Jesus the door, He is the true Shepherd. Jesus is the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy (Ezek. 34:23-24). These verses in Ezekiel are not talking about David himself because he was already dead when this was written. He is talking about a future son, which is Jesus because He is in David’s lineage. Even the opposing Pharisees knew that Christ was the son of David (Mt. 23:41-42).


Since Jesus is the good Shepherd, it also proves He is God because God was considered the only Shepherd of the Jews (Ps. 23:1; 79:13; 80:1; 95:7). Jesus is the good Shepherd because He was willing to give His life for ours because He loves us. However, the hireling was someone that was paid to watch the sheep, and they did not love the sheep. They were not that concerned about them because they did not belong to them. So, if danger came along, they would flee for their life and leave the flock defenseless.


The hireling represents the Pharisees because they were not willing to put their lives on the line for the people because they were only concerned about themselves. Sometimes we can find hireling in the church. For example an elder can be hireling if they only took the position for power or to feel important. Preachers can become hirelings if they do not preach all God’s truth because they do not want to lose their job.


In verse 14, Jesus confirms again that He is the good Shepherd and He knows His sheep and is known by His sheep. It should be comforting to every Christian to know that Jesus knows who we are and even knows our name. As His sheep we must know who He is by studying God’s Word.


The reason many thieves have been able to steal from God’s flock is because the sheep are not making an effort to know Jesus. Many today have lost their desire to learn about Jesus’ authority in the Scriptures. When this happens, it allows a person to be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph. 4:14). Jesus said that those that know Him will not follow a stranger’s voice, but those that neglect the Scriptures will.


John 10:15 "As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  16 "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.  


Verse 15 shows Jesus close relationship with the Father. No human knows the Father like Jesus does. However, we can know the Father through Jesus. Jesus makes it clear that He is going to give His life for the sheep. There is no greater love that can be shown than for Jesus to willingly give His life for us (Jn. 15:13; Rom. 5:6-8).


When Jesus talked about there being other sheep that are not of this fold, He is talking about the Gentiles. When Jesus died for us, He died for all. Both Jews and Gentiles would be able to become part of the one flock with one Shepherd, which is Jesus. Paul taught the Ephesians about this in Ephesians 2:11-22 (See also Gal. 3:27-29).


Some teach that Jesus was referring to denominations with the term other sheep, but that is twisting this Scripture because it is obviously talking about Gentiles. Besides, the Word of God teaches against denominations (1 Cor. 1:10 ff). There is only one body/church that Jesus purchased with His blood and built (Mt. 16:18; Act 20:28).


John 10:17 "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  18 "No one takes 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 command I have received from My Father."


Jesus was perfect in following the will of the Father. The Father loves everyone that is obedient to His will. Jesus lets these Pharisees know that no one can take His life until He chooses to give it. This statement was true because over and over again the Jewish leaders sought Jesus’ life, and many times people picked up stones to throw at Him, but nothing every came of their attempts because it was not His time to die.


In these verses, Jesus was speaking of His death and resurrection. He knew once He laid down His life that He would be raised from the dead because it was the Father’s will.


John 10:19 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings.  20 And many of them said, "He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?"  21 Others said, "These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"


Division was a common occurrence when Jesus taught the people. Some would open their eyes to the truth and realize that Jesus was the Son of God while others were too rideful to accept the truth. Some of them tried to accuse Him of having a demon, but others made a valid argument that a demon could not open the eyes of the blind. Since they talked about Him opening the eyes of the blind, it implies that this event is a direct continuation of chapter 9 because they are referring back to the blind man Jesus healed Jesus ability to heal the blind shows His Deity because only the Lord could do this (Ex. 4:11; Ps. 146:8). As far as I know this never happened in the Old Testament, but Jesus was able to do it on several occasion, therefore He is Lord. Those who were unwilling to open their eyes to the truth would remain spiritual blind and in their sins.


John 10:22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.  23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch.


About three months have passed between verses 21 and 22. It was now winter and it was time for the Feast of Dedication.


According to F.F. Bruce,


The festival of Dedication was a relatively recent institution. After the temple had been defiled for thre years (167 – 164 BC) by the installation of a pagan cult under Antiochus Epiphanes, and the idolatrous altar, the ‘abomination of desolation’ (a mocking pun on the pagan divinity’s name), had been erected on top of the altar of Israel’s God, the sacred site was recaptured by Judas Maccabaeus and his followers and the temple was reconsecrated to its proper use on 25 Kislev (= 14 December), 164 BC. The festival of Dedication (Hanukkah) commemorating this event, may have had a prehistory as a festival of the winter solstice, but from then on it was given a place in Israel’s religious calendar, and to this day it is celebrated as the Feast of Lights (so call from the lighting of the lamps or candles in Jewish homes to honour the occasion) (The Gospel & Epistles of John p.229-230).


This feast lasted for eight days. We are used to hearing it called Hanukkah instead of the Feast of Lights. Since it was winter, Solomon’s porch was a great place to go to get out of the weather.


According to Johnson:


It is generally supposed to have been in the southeast part of the temple enclosure, overlooking the valley of Kedron. Josephus describes it as a stadium in length, and as having three parts, two of them thirty feet wide each, and the middle one forty-five feet (The New Testament Commentary (Cincinnati, Ohio: Christian Standard Publishing Company, 1886), p. 164).


One dictionary said that a stadium was twice the length of a football field (Peloubet's Dictionary), which gives us a good idea of how big Solomon’s porch was. Not only did Jesus teach in this area, Peter and John taught the people about God in this area after they healed the lame man (Acts 3). Also, the apostles gathered at Solomon’s porch where miracles were done (Acts 5:12).


John 10:24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly."  25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.  26 "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.  27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  28 "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.  30 "I and My Father are one."


Once again, these opposing Jews are doing their best to trap Jesus. They are trying to get Jesus to say that He is the Christ. However, Jesus knew what they were up to, and He had already told them over and over that He was the Christ in many different ways, but they were not willing to believe. The miracles and signs Jesus did proved that He was the Christ, the Son of God.


Jesus told them the reason they do not believe is because they are not of His sheep. He taught them plainly several months before that He was the true Shepherd and only those who know Him will follow Him. Only those that choose to allow Him to be their Shepherd can have eternal life.


When Jesus said that no one can snatch His sheep out of His hand and then said that no one can snatch them out of His Father’s Hand shows that Jesus is Deity. Only Deity can offer eternal life, and only Deity can make the claim that no one can take you from Him. Once again, Jesus shows that He is of the same nature of the Father because He said, “I and my Father are one.” This does not mean they are the same person as some denominations teach. It means they are one in nature and Deity. This same word “one” is used by Jesus to describe His disciples in,


John 17:11 "Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.


This verse proves that Jesus is not talking about being the same person or every Christian would have to be the same person. So, the Father and Son are two different persons, but they are one in nature and thought, which is the same way Christians are to be. The only way to achieve this unity in thought with God is by allowing His Word to be our guide.


Some try to teach the false doctrine of “once saved always saved” from our text because it says that no one can snatch us out of the hand of God. Since no one can snatch us from the hand of God, they would say it is impossible for us to be lost once we are saved. However, this is not what this text is teaching. It is teaching that no external force can take us away from God because God is all-powerful and in control. A great commentary on this can be found in Romans 8:31-39. Both of these passages deal with external sources, but they do not touch on the individual’s free will. We have been given the privilege to choose whom we will serve, so it is possible for us to choose to leave the hand of God and to follow the evil way. This is why the “once saved always saved” is a false doctrine because we always have the choice to either stay in the hand of God or to leave it.


John 10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.  32 Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?"  33 The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God."


These Jews had no problem understanding what Jesus was claiming, which is why they were ready to stone Him because they thought He was committing blasphemy. According to Leviticus 24:11-16, blasphemy was punishable by death whether a person was a Jew or a Gentile. However, the person accused was supposed to have a trial, but they were ready to forgo that and commence to stoning even though the Roman law did not allow them.


Again, Jesus points out the good works He did by the will of the Father. He wants to know for which good work are they willing to stone Him. While these works of Jesus proved He was Deity, they claimed they did not want to stone Him for His works, but because He made Himself God.


John 10:34 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods" '?  35 "If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),  36 "do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?  37 "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;  38 "but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him."  39 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.


The Jews appealed to the Law of Moses to justify stoning Jesus for blasphemy, but now Jesus is appealing the Law to show that He can call Himself Son of God and it not be blasphemy. He quotes:


Psalm 82:6 I said, "You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High.


God was calling these Jewish leaders gods even though they were not judging the people as they were supposed to (Ps. 82:2). God even told Moses that he would be as a god to Aaron (Ex. 4:16). In our text, the word “gods” is in lowercase even though it comes from the same Greek word for God almighty.


Gingrich, Greek NT Lexicon explains it this way:


God, god a term generally used in the ancient world of beings who have powers or confer benefits that lie beyond the capacity of mortals. In translation the capitalized term God refers to a specific deity and ordinarily to the One God of Israel.” Also Thayer gives several definition for this Greek word “theos”, “a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities 2) the Godhead, trinity 2a) God the Father, the first person in the trinity 2b) Christ, the second person of the trinity 2c) Holy Spirit, the third person in the trinity 3) spoken of the only and true God 3a) refers to the things of God 3b) his counsels, interests, things due to him 4) whatever can in any respect be likened unto God, or resemble him in any way 4a) God's representative or viceregent 4a1) of magistrates and judges.


When we put this all together, we learn that when God called the judges gods, He was not calling them Deity; He was calling them representatives of God. So, if it was Scriptural for God to call these men gods, who were supposed to be representing God by judging according to His Word, then there was nothing scripturally wrong with Jesus saying that He was the Son of God because He was sent by the Farther into the world and sanctified by Him.


The works that Jesus did proved that He was sent from the Father, and if they would allow His works to prove He was Deity, they would have no problem understanding that Jesus and the Father are one in nature and are in perfect unity. When Jesus made this argument, I do not believe that He was classing Himself with the ordinary rulers of the Jewish nation, but He was showing there was nothing scripturally wrong with calling Himself the Son of God.


When Jesus said the “Scripture cannot be broken,” this means He believed in the authority and genuineness of the Scriptures. It also proves that He did not believe the first five books of the Bible were the only Scriptures because He quoted from the book of Psalm in this context, which proves that the book of Psalm is also considered unbreakable because it was inspired by God. Many have tried to find flaws in the Scriptures, but no valid ones have been found. Archeologists keep making new discoveries about our past, and every time a new discovery is made it always confirms the validity of the Scriptures. So far Archeologists have never found anything that contradicts or disproves the events recorded in the Word of God.


In verse 39, we learn that they were not interested in Jesus’ teaching from the Law, and they wanted to seize Him for claiming to be one with the Father, but it was not His time to die. Once again, He managed to escape from their presence.            


John 10:40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed.  41 Then many came to Him and said, "John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true."  42 And many believed in Him there.


Jesus was staying near the place where John the Baptist had been baptizing. John had bore witness that Jesus was the Christ, and many of these Jews were now willing to believe that Jesus was the Christ. Even though Jesus’ teachings had been rejected in Jerusalem, many in this area of Perea believe in Him.