10:1 Verily, verily1, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the fold of the sheep3, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber4. DISCOURSE ON THE GOOD SHEPHERD. (Jerusalem, December, A.D. 29.) John 10:1-21
Verily, verily. See John
I say to you. Unto the parties whom he was addressing in the last
He that entereth not by the door into the fold of the sheep. In
this section Jesus proceeds to contrast his own care for humanity with that
manifested by the Pharisees, who had just cast out the beggar. Old Testament
prophecies were full of declarations that false shepherds would arise to the
injury of God's flock (Jeremiah
11:4-11). But other prophecies spoke of the true shepherding of God and
his Messiah (Psalms
7:14). The Pharisees were fulfilling the first line of prophecies, and
Jesus was fulfilling the second.
But climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. A
thief steals by cunning in one's absence; a robber takes by violence from
one's person. The Pharisees were both. They stole the sheep in Messiah's
absence, and they slew Messiah when he came. They did not come in the ways
ordained of God.
10:2 But he that
entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep1.
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
The sheepfolds of the East are roofless enclosures, made of loose stone, or
surrounded by thornbushes. They have but one door. Jesus, the true shepherd,
came in the proper and appointed way (and was the proper and appointed Way),
thus indicating his office as shepherd.
10:3 To him the
porter openeth1; and the sheep hear his voice: and he
calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
To him the porter openeth. Several small flocks were sometimes kept
in one field. The door was fastened from the inside with sticks or bars by
the porter, who remained with the sheep during the night, and opened for the
shepherds in the morning. The fold is the church, Christ is the door, the
sheep are the disciples, and the shepherd is Christ. The porter is probably
part of the drapery of the parable. If he represents anybody, it is God, who
decides who shall enter through the door.
10:4 When he hath
put forth all his own, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they
know his voice1.
When he hath put forth all his own, he goeth before them, and the sheep
follow him: for they know his voice. In the East, sheep are not driven,
but led, and each sheep has and knows its name. Disciples also are led.
There is no rough road or thorny path which the feet of Jesus had not first
trod. The Pharisees had put forth beggar to be rid of him; the true shepherd
puts forth to feed.
10:5 And a
stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him1:
for they know not the voice of strangers.
And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him. The
mingled flocks are separated by the calling voices of the several shepherds.
The control of the Pharisees was not of this order. The authority of the
synagogues had passed into their hands, and their rule was about the same as
when thieves and robbers gained possession of the sheepfold. The people were
disposed to flee from them (Matthew
10:6 This parable
spake Jesus unto them1: but they
understood not what things they were which he spake unto them2.
This parable spake Jesus unto them. The word here translated
"parable" is not the Greek word "parabole", which John
never uses, but the word "paroimia", which the synoptists never
use. "Paroimia" means, literally, "beside the way", that
is, speech not of the common or direct form, that is, a similitude or
But they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
The idea of loving care was so foreign to the nature of the Pharisees that
they could not comprehend the figures which clothed such a thought.
10:7 Jesus therefore said unto them again,
Verily, verily1, I say unto you, I
am the door of the sheep2.
Verily, verily. See John
I am the door of the sheep. Seeing that they did not understand the
allegory, Jesus gives a twofold explanation of it found in John
10:8 All that
came before me are thieves and robbers1: but the sheep did
not hear them.
All that came before me are thieves and robbers. He speaks of the
past, and refers to false Messiahs.
10:9 I am the
door1; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and
shall go in and go out, and shall find pasture.
I am the door. The door is here spoken of with reference to the
"sheep", and hence becomes a symbol of the entrance into
protection and shelter, or exit to liberty and plenty.
10:10 The thief cometh not, but that he
may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may
have life, and may have [it] abundantly1.
I came that they may have life, and may have [it] abundantly.
Through the life of Jesus, as through a heavenly portal, men have entered
upon true civilization, with its schools, colleges, railroads, telegraph,
telephone, and innumerable privileges and liberties.
10:11 I am the
good shepherd1: the good shepherd
layeth down his life for the sheep2.
I am the good shepherd. The relations of Christ to his people are
so abounding and complex as to overburden any parable which seeks to carry
them. He is not the only passive doorway to life, but also the active,
energizing force which leads his people through that doorway into life.
The good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep. The verses John
10:11-14 set forth the perfect self-sacrifice through which the
blessings of Christ have been obtained for us. The world-ruling spirit
blesses itself through the sacrifice of the people; the Christ- spirit
blesses the people through the sacrifice of self.
10:12 He that is a hireling, and not a
shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, beholdeth the
wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth2, and the
wolf snatcheth them, and scattereth [them]:
He that is an hireling, and not the shepherd. Shepherds were not,
as a rule, owners of the sheep, but they were expected to love and care for
them by reason of their office as shepherds.
Beholdeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth. The
perils of the Oriental shepherd accord with the picture here given (Genesis
1:7; 1 Samuel
10:13 [he fleeth]
because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep1.
[He fleeth] because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
He flees because he loves his wages rather than the flock.
10:14 I am the
good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me1,
I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me.
Our Lord's relationship to his flock is one of mutual knowledge and
affection, and is far removed from the spirit of hire. The knowledge
existing between disciple and Master springs from mutual acquaintanceship
10:15 even as
the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father1; and
I lay down my life for the sheep2.
Even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father. Thus it is
the same "kind" of knowledge which exists between Father and Son,
though it is not of the same "quality", being infinitely less full
And I lay down my life for the sheep. The sacrifice of the good
shepherd to shield his sheep has never been in vain.
10:16 And other
sheep I have, which are not of this fold1: them
also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and they shall become one
flock, one shepherd2.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold. Jesus was
speaking to the Jews, who had been frequently spoken of in Scripture as
God's flock. The other sheep were Gentiles.
Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and they shall
become one flock, one shepherd. They are spoken of as scattered sheep,
and not as flocks, because with them there was no unity. Here, as
everywhere, the truth breaks through, revealing Christ as the world's
Redeemer, who would break down the middle wall of partition between Jew and
Gentile, and cause all true worshipers to have a common relationship to one
doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again1.
Therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I
may take it again. Jesus did not permit his life to be sacrificed so as
to become cast away, but to be raised again as an earnest of the
resurrection of all flesh.
10:18 No one
taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself1. I
have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment
received I from my Father.
No one taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself. This
shows that his death was voluntary, and with the resurrection which
followed, it was in full and perfect accordance with his original commission
or commandment from the Father.
arose a division again among the Jews because of these words1.
There arose a division again among the Jews because of these words.
The word "again" refers to John
10:20 And many of them said, He
hath a demon, and is mad; why hear ye him1?
He hath a demon, and is mad; why hear ye him? The theory that
demons could produce supernatural effects (Matthew
12:24) formed a handy device for explaining away the miracles of Christ.
10:21 Others said, These are not the
sayings of one possessed with a demon. Can a demon open
the eyes of the blind1?
Can a demon open the eyes of the blind? These defenders refer to
the well-remembered cure of the man born blind, and argue, as he did, that a
demoniac could not work such a miracle (John
9:33). They fail, however, to make a positive confession of faith in
10:22 And it was
the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem1:
FEAST OF THE DEDICATION. THE JEWS ATTEMPT TO STONE JESUS AND HE RETIRES TO
PEREA. (Jerusalem and beyond Jordan.) John
And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem. The feast of
dedication was one of eight days' duration and began upon the twenty- fifth
of Chisleu, which, according to the calculation of M. Chevannes, fell upon
the nineteenth or twentieth of December, A.D. 29. The feast was kept in
honor of the renovation and purification of the temple in the year B.C. 164,
after it had been desecrated by the Syrians under Antiochus Epiphanes (2
Macc. 1:20-60; 4:36-59; 10:1-8; Josephus Ant. 12:6.6,7). As this feast was
commemorative of national deliverance, the rulers considered it an opportune
time to tempt Jesus to declare himself to be the Messiah, or coming
Deliverer from the present Roman oppression. We are told that it was winter,
that we may understand why Jesus walked under cover in Solomon's porch (John
10:23 it was
winter1; and Jesus was walking in
the temple in Solomon's porch2.
It was winter. See John
And Jesus was walking in the temple in Solomon's porch. This was a
colonnade on the east side of the temple court, the name probably being
derived from the wall against which it was built, which Josephus tells us
was the work of Solomon (Josephus Ant. 20:9.7).
10:24 The Jews therefore came round about
him, and said unto him, How long dost thou hold us in suspense? If thou art the
Christ, tell us plainly.
How long dost thou hold us in suspense? If thou art the Christ, tell us
plainly. The previous conduct and temper of the questioners, together
with the context (which includes an attempt to stone, followed by an effort
to arrest), shows that this question was asked for the purpose of committing
Jesus to an open declaration which might be used as an accusation against
10:25 Jesus answered them, I
told you, and ye believe not1: the
works that I do in my Father's name, these bear witness of me2.
I told you, and ye believe not. Jesus was the Christ of the Old
Testament, but not the Christ of Pharisaic hopes. Had he assumed to himself
in their presence by the "title" of Christ, it would have led them
to false expectations.
The works that I do in my Father's name, these bear witness of me.
By his declarations and works Jesus had repeatedly published and proved to
all his claims to be the true Messiah. He had, at the Feast of Tabernacles,
set himself forth as the Good Shepherd (John
10:11,14), and on other occasions as the Son of God (John
8:36,56). Had they understood or received the Old Testament ideal of the
Messiah, they could not have failed to understand his claims.
10:26 But ye
believe not, because ye are not of my sheep1.
But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. Failure to be
Christ's sheep was not the cause, but the evidence of their unbelief.
10:27 My sheep
hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me1:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. The
thought here is similar to to that set forth at John
10:28 and I give
unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish1, and
no one shall snatch them out of my hand2.
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish.
This passage is taken by Calvinists as asserting the doctrine of the
impossibility of apostasy. It is certainly a strong assurance that the
Christian may expect to succeed in fighting the good fight. It may be taken
in connection with Romans
8:38,39, but both passages must be interpreted in the light of (
And no one shall snatch them out of my hand. We cannot be taken
from God against our will; but our will being free, we may choose to leave
him. We cannot be protected against ourselves in spite of ourselves. If that
were so, no one could be lost.
10:30 I and the
Father are one1.
I and the Father are one. This assertion as to the unity of power
residing in the hand brings forward the idea of the general unity which
subsists between the Father and the Son. This unity Jesus asserts fully,
without limitation or restriction; the unity of interest, design, and
essence are all included. It is the advance from an assertion of special
unity to an assertion of general unity.
10:31 The Jews took up stones again to
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. They prepared to
act on Leviticus
24:14-16, and a precedent as to it found at 1 Kings
21:10, though the right to stone for blasphemy was now abrogated by the
Roman dominion. The repairs and enlargements then going on in the temple no
doubt supplied an abundance of missiles. The word "again" refers
back to John
10:32 Jesus answered them, Many
good works have I showed you from the Father; for which of those works do ye
Many good works have I showed you from the Father; for which of those
works do ye stone me? Jesus, conscious that he was living the divine
life, endeavored to arouse the Jews to a consciousness of that life by
asking them to point out what part of it offended them. It was a demand that
his claim to be divine be tested and judged by his "life".
10:33 The Jews answered him, For
a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a
man, makest thyself God1.
For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that
thou, being a man, makest thyself God. But the Jews insisted upon
judging him by his "words" without in any way taking his life into
account. Jesus urged that a divine claim was made good by a divine life, but
they replied that a divine claim issuing from a human body was blasphemy.
10:34 Jesus answered them, Is
it not written in your law1, I
said, ye are gods2?
Is it not written in your law. The whole Old Testament not
infrequently is thus designated as the "law".
I said, Ye are gods? See Psalms
10:35 If he
called them gods, unto whom the word of God came1 (and
the scripture cannot be broken)2,
If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came. Since the
civil rulers of a land are ordained of God (Romans
13:1-7; 1 Samuel
24:6,7), they were regarded as God's delegates or ministers, and as such
the inspired Psalmist addresses them, calling them gods. Compare Exodus
22:28. The expression "word of God" is equivalent to
"commission from God". Compare Luke
3:2, where John was commissioned.
(And the scripture cannot be broken). The Jews regarded the
Scripture as final authority. Jesus asserted this view by stating that the
Scripture could not be broken; that is, could not be undone or set aside. We
may regard Jesus as here ratifying their view, since he elsewhere concurred
in it. See Matthew
10:36 say ye of
him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world1,
Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am [the] Son of God?
Say ye of him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world,
Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am [the] Son of God? If it was
not blasphemy to call those gods who so remotely represented the Deity, how
much less did Christ blaspheme in taking unto himself a title to which he
had a better right than they, even in the subordinate sense of being a mere
10:37 If I do
not the works of my Father, believe me not1.
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. Having set
aside their false judgment which was based upon his mere words, Jesus again
bids them to consider his works or manner of life.
sought again to take him1: and he
went forth out of their hand2.
They sought again to take him. The word "again" either
refers back to John
And he went forth out of their hand. The calm reasoning of Jesus
cooled their violence, and so far changed their evil designs that they now
sought to arrest him that they might bring him before the Sanhedrin.
10:40 And he
went away again beyond the Jordan1 into the place where
John was at the first baptizing; and there be abode.
And he went away again beyond the Jordan. The word
"again" either refers to John
1:28, or else it refers to some former escape beyond the Jordan not
recorded by John, but by one of the other evangelists. The supplementary
nature of John's Gospel makes this latter view somewhat plausible.
10:41 And many
came unto him1; and they said,
John indeed did no sign: but all things whatsoever2 John
spake of this man were true.
And many came unto him. John at first baptized "in the
wilderness of Judea" (Matthew
3:1,6), and afterwards at Bethany and Aenon (John
3:23). The presence of Jesus in this place recalled to the minds of the
people the work of the Baptist and his testimony concerning Jesus.
And they said, John indeed did no sign: but all things whatsoever
John spake of this man were true. They had held John to be a prophet, yet
when he searched for his credentials as a prophet, they found them
inextricably intertwined with the claims of Jesus. John had failed to prove
himself a prophet by miracles and signs--the accustomed credentials. But he
had done so by his predictions which had come true, and all of these
predictions related to Jesus.
10:42 And many
believed on him there1.
And many believed on him there. The word "there" stands
in contrast to Jerusalem, which rejected Jesus.