John Ten

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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.

into the sheepfold. Although Jesus did not at first call this a parable, He clearly intended it to be a symbolic use of the familiar scene of sheep tended by a shepherd, along with their sheepfold and its door. The sheep obviously represent the people of God and their sheepfold represents the place where they can rest in safety. At this time in history, the fold undoubtedly represented the covenant watchcare of God over His chosen people Israel. Then, both the shepherd and the door are said by Christ to represent Himself (John 10:7, 11), as the one who leads them into the fold and by whom alone they can enter the fold. Later, John clearly called all this a “parable” (John 10:6).

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

the shepherd. Christ Himself, although He is the Shepherd of the sheep, also must enter the family and covenant relation of Israel to God.

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.

the porter. In the symbology, the porter probably represents John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the Shepherd—both sheep and Shepherd being symbolically admitted into God's new covenant relationship by baptism. Thereafter, however, Jesus Himself led His sheep, both in and 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.

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

parable. This word is usually translated as “proverb.” John never uses the standard word for “parable,” which is used fifty times elsewhere.

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

I am the door. Jesus here claims to be the actual “door” of the sheepfold. This is the third of the great “I am's” of John's gospel (also John 10:9).

John 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

thieves and robbers. Any other teachers or leaders (in the immediate context, the scribes and Pharisees, but in the broader context, any other false leaders) who profess to lead people to God are, spiritually speaking, like robbers, who would steal souls away from true saving faith, which is only to be found in Christ.

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.

go in and out. The Lord Jesus would lead His sheep out of the small fold of the Old Testament (or “old covenant”) into the broader fold of the new covenant, centered on His church instead of on a chosen nation. In another sense, He would lead His sheep “in” for fellowship, rest and training, then “out” for service.

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.

more abundantly. The “abundant life” does not consist in an abundance of possessions (Luke 12:15). Rather, it consists of an “abundance of grace” (Romans 5:17, 20), an abundance of “every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8), an abundance of “consolation” (2 Corinthians 1:5), an abounding “love” (1 Thessalonians 3:12), an “abounding … work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58), and “abounding” and thankful “faith” (Colossians 2:7).

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

good shepherd. This is the fourth of the Lord's “I am” claims in the Gospel of John. This also is another shadow of His coming substitutionary death—not only guiding His sheep, but also dying for them.

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.

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

the good shepherd. The Greek word for “shepherd” is the same as for “pastor.” Thus Jesus was—and is—the good pastor. By extension today, a good pastor is one who leads his flock into good pasture, who knows his flock, is known by his flock, and would even give his life for his flock. Note 1 Peter 5:2-5 and Hebrews 13:20, 21.

John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the 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.

other sheep I have. The “other sheep” of which the Lord spoke were obviously not of the “fold” of Israel. They were Gentiles who, through His work, would soon be brought into the same fold (compare Ephesians 2:11-22).

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.

lay it down. Note the tremendous dimensions of this claim. Jesus would not be put to death by the Jews, or the Romans, or even by Satan. He refused twelve legions of angels to save Him (Matthew 26:53). Finally, after He had finished all the sufferings He must endure for our sins, deliberately and of His own volition, Jesus dismissed His spirit (Luke 23:46) from His body. No ordinary man could ever do this.

take it again. Jesus was raised from the dead, not by some miracle worker, or by an angel, or even by His Father, but by His own power.

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?

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

feast of the dedication. The “Feast of Dedication” is what is now known as Hanukkah, which occurs during the Christmas season. The events described in John 7:1-10:21 occurred during and immediately following the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2), around two months earlier than those in John 10:22-39. The “Feast of the Dedication” had been observed since the days of the Maccabees, around 165 b.c., commemorating the cleansing of the temple after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes.

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.

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.

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

they follow me. The Lord resumed His use of the sheep-and-shepherd “proverb;” evidently it had made a lasting impression on His questioners, even after so long a time (see note on John 10:22). He now stressed the permanence of this relationship (see also John 5:24).

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.

out of my hand. Not only is eternal life a present possession, but the good Shepherd assures us that no one (“any man” is actually “anyone,” including even Satan himself) could ever take it away.

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.

my Father's hand. Compare Psalm 37:24: “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.”

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

one. Such a claim, if not that of a madman (and this is unthinkable in view of the age-long influence of the incomparable teachings of Jesus), can only be understood in terms of the doctrine of the so-called “hypostatic union”—the indissoluble union of eternal God and perfect Man in the person of Jesus Christ.

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

John 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed 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.

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

written in your law. This is quoted from Psalm 82:6. The generic term “law” was often understood by the Jews to include the entire Old Testament Canon of Scripture. See the notes on Psalm 82:1, 6.

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

scripture cannot be broken. Jesus is here basing His entire defense against the charge of blasphemy on one word, “gods” in a relatively obscure psalm, commenting that the “scripture”—that is, the “writing,” the word actually written down—cannot be broken. This constitutes a very important testimony by Christ to the plenary verbal inspiration and authority of the Bible. The reasoning of Christ is very subtle, yet powerful, relying entirely on the use of this precise word in its context.

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?

the Son of God. In Psalm 82:1, the word “gods” is the Hebrew elohim, the usual word for “God.” There, however, it is applied to human judges to whom the Word of God had come. However, the Word had never “come” to Jesus. He Himself was the Word, whom the Father had “sent into the world.” No mere man, not even a human judge, was ever sent into the world with such a mission, yet they had been called “gods.” These human judges, or “gods,” had been rebuked for failing to dispense true justice (Psalm 82:2), so God had sent His Son into the world to accomplish true justice, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 82:8. Thus, if these fallible and unjust human judges had been called “gods” (supposedly acting in the name of the true God and Judge), then surely it was more appropriate by far for them to recognize Jesus as 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.

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.

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 did no miracle. John the Baptist, though “filled with the Holy Ghost” and the greatest man ever born before Christ (Luke 1:15; Matthew 11:11), never performed a miracle! Thus, signs and wonders are never a necessary—or even desirable—accompaniment to the ministry of a true man of God, especially today, when we have the complete Bible.

John 10:42 And many believed on him there.