John 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.
John 10:2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
John 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.
John 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
John 10:5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
Jesus starts this narrative with a truth they can relate to from their own lives. A man who comes into the sheep pen any other way than through the gate is a thief and robber. He only means harm to the sheep. The shepherd comes in by the gate of the pen. He doesn’t have to sneak around. His intent for the sheep is only good; he wants to protect them. The watchman opens the gate for him and the sheep listen to his voice. It’s familiar and reassuring to them. He calls his sheep by name and leads them out. They recognize him and his voice from close and regular association. When he has brought out all his own, they follow him because they know his voice and they trust him. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from the stranger because they don’t know his voice. Dumb sheep know instinctively to do what we as Christians have such a hard time with. We don’t even acknowledge the voice we hear as that of a stranger (Satan) sometimes. Other times we know it is the voice of a stranger, and we choose to follow him anyway.
John 10:6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
John 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
Even though the Lord was using word pictures familiar to their culture, the people still didn’t understand what He was trying to tell them—so He spells it out. He emphasizes that what He is about to say is a truth that is irrefutable—“verily, verily.” Jesus tells them that He is the door of the sheep. He is the only way to obtain salvation. Evidently others had come claiming to be the Messiah and were not believed by those who were trusting God because the sheep didn’t recognize them. They had at least been as smart as the sheep to this point.
John 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.
John 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.
Those who come to the Lord in faith will find pasture (food for the soul) and safety--salvation. The thief comes only to steal (take what doesn’t belong to him), kill (murder; cause to be sacrificed for his own purposes) and destroy (bring to a complete end of destruction—both physically and spiritually). Jesus’ whole purpose in coming was to provide abundant life for his sheep—a life of power and protection and blessing.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Jesus goes on to describe Himself as the “good” shepherd who gives His life for the sheep. He was a willing sacrifice.
John 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.
John 10:13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
He goes on with His story—The hired hand doesn’t own the sheep; so when he sees the wolf/danger coming, he runs away—he doesn’t care about the sheep. The wolf is then free to attack and scatter the sheep. Jesus as our Shepherd, on the other hand, willingly gave His life for our salvation. He loves us! Because of His sacrifice we have provision, power, and protection.
John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Again Jesus calls Himself the “good shepherd.” He knows His sheep and His sheep know Him—just like Jesus (the Son) and His Father (God) know each other. He “lays down” His life for the sheep.
For the umpteenth time, He identifies Himself as the Son of God. He also reiterates that He willingly will give His life to provide salvation for His sheep.
John 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.
Then Jesus tells them that He has other sheep from a different sheep pen. They will listen to the voice of the shepherd and become part of one flock that follows the shepherd. Because He was talking to the Jews, He was making it clear that His salvation would be open to “other sheep”—the Gentiles. Those who choose to follow Him will be just as much a part of the flock as the Jewish sheep.
John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
John 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.
God the Father gave Jesus the authority/power to lay down His life and to take it up again. It is the Father’s will for Him to be the sacrifice, but the power is in His hands. The Father is full of love for His Son for being willing to provide the way of salvation for mankind in obedience to Him. Again, Jesus emphasizes that He is the One in control. Man can do nothing to the Son except it be in the Father’s plan.
This is also true of each one of us who become His child through faith in His Son. Man cannot do anything to us that the Father doesn’t allow; and if He allows it, it is for good—whether we understand it or not at the time.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
John 10:19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
John 10:20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?
John 10:21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
As usual, when Jesus had finished speaking, the Jews who were listening were divided in their response. Some of them thought He had a devil/demon that caused Him not to be in his right mind; so they couldn’t understand why anyone would bother to pay any attention to Him. Others thought just the opposite. A devil could not cause the blind to see.
John 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
John 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
John 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.
Now it is winter and time for the Feast of Dedication (Hannukah) in Jerusalem. This is about two months after the feast of tabernacles--December. Jesus is at the temple walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. This was an area in the outer court area of the temple. The Jews gathered around Him and basically said—How long will you keep us in suspense? Tell us plainly if you are the Christ.” (These people are really hard of hearing. How many times does He have to tell them!)
John 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.
John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
Jesus answered that He had already told them but they had not believed Him. The miracles that He was doing in His Father’s name were proof of His claim. They didn’t believe because they weren’t “of my sheep.” He had already explained this to them.
“in my Father’s name” – Jesus wasn’t trying to seek His own glory; He was seeking the glory of the Father. This is a good test to apply to anyone who is working miracles. Are they pointing people to God as the One deserving of praise and worship or themselves?
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
John 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.
John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
Patiently He repeats the truth.
“My sheep hear my voice”-- They listen to the words He says and understand and accept them as true. They trust Him.
“I know them”—I can identify those who believe and understand.
“They follow me” – Those who hear Him and understand Him show their belief through action/obedience.
“I give unto them eternal life” – This isn’t just existing for eternity. It is abundant life in the presence of the Father and Son that will never end.
“They shall never perish” – This is an emphasis of the previous statement; they will not die with no hope of anything better; they will not suffer the punishment of hell.
“Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” – Once we have accepted Jesus as Savior, He holds us safe in His grip. His is the ultimate power grip; no one can remove us from the grip He has on us as His children. Once we are His, we are His forever.
“My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all”— God the Father is the one who brings each believer to His Son. He is the all powerful God. No one or no thing has greater power than He.
Now He gets to the root of their question.
“No man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand” – He just said that His sheep were held in His hand and now He says they are in the Father’s hand. How can they be in two hands at one time?
“I and my Father are one.” You can’t get any clearer than that. I think they are refusing to change their expectation of the Christ, the Messiah. They are expecting the Messiah as the coming King who will bring Israel to great glory, but they aren’t willing to accept the Messiah as the Son of God. Jesus’ claim of equality with God was just too much for them to accept—even if He could do great miracles.
It is a very thought-provoking statement for Jesus to say that the Father “gives” Him each one of His sheep. If we just remember to take it in context with the whole scripture, we know that God is not willing that any should perish.
2Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Ezekiel 33:11 “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?}
We are chosen based on God’s foreknowledge.
1Peter 1:2 “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
It gets a bit more difficult when we understand that salvation takes faith, without which we can never please God…
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him.”
…and He is the author and finisher of our faith.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
My simple logic tells me that means He is the point where faith begins and the power that will bring it to completion with eternal life.
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ….”
The concept of God the Father and Jesus the Son being separate yet one is one of the hardest concepts for me to understand. That hit home to me again this week when I was reading a book regarding end times and read the statement that only the Father knows the day and hour of that event—not even the Son (Mark 13:32).
I believe that statement applied to Jesus the Spirit-filled man before His resurrection to claim the fullness of His deity once again.
John 10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
John 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
John 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.
After the statement equating Himself to God, the Jews picked up stones to stone Him. He didn’t run, but confronted them. Jesus asked them for which miracle from the Father they were stoning Him. They answered that is wasn’t for the miracles, but the fact that He, a mere man, was claiming to be God.
John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
John 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?
John 10:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
John 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.
Jesus uses the “law,” the scriptures, in answer (as He often does). The term “gods” appears to refer to rulers on the earth when I read Psalm 82, the apparent source of reference. He also emphasizes that the Scripture is firm and not to be changed. If the Father used this term to indicate the position of leadership appointed to some, why should not His very own Son, whom He sent, claim His identity as “God’s Son”? Jesus then challenged them to test His claim by measuring His actions against those of His Father. Then, if the miracles represent the work of the Father, make them the basis of their belief as to His identity. They are proof that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.
John 10:39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,
John 10:40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
In spite of His argument, they again tried to seize Him—but He escaped. (The time was not yet right.) Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had baptized in earlier days, and He stayed there awhile (from December, feast of dedication cf verse 22, to March/April, “Passover nigh” cf 11:55).
John 10:41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
John 10:42 And many believed on him there.
It’s interesting that they placed a lot of faith in what John had said about Jesus even though John did not perform miracles. Jesus couldn’t get the same respect with miracles. However, many believed on Jesus during this time.