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Bible Commentaries
John 10

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-21

  1. INTRO:
    1. We’re continuing the conversation between Jesus & the Pharisees after the healing of the blind man in chapter 9.
      1. They claimed to be spiritual guides of Israel, but have shown themselves to be thieves & robbers spiritually, like the false prophets/shepherds of the OT. (Stibbs; Search The Scriptures; Jn.10:1-21)
    2. Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Calvary Chapel - corruption of God’s plan sadly happens in all denominations, in all religions, in all countries, in all times.
      1. It happens when religion replaces a relationship with God.
      2. It happens when pride replaces gratitude for God’s grace.
      3. It happens when hunger for power replaces a desire to serve. (Adapted from Chuck Swindoll.)
    3. Let’s roll back to 1st century sheep & shepherds. At night flocks were brought to a sheepfold & committed to the care of the keeper/porter. In the morning the shepherds knocked at the barred door & the porter would open from within (or, sometimes the porter would sit in its entrance & become the door itself). Each shepherd would separate his sheep by giving a call. When summoned the flock would follow its shepherd.
    4. Intro Story: Two men were called on, in a large classroom, to recite the 23rd Psalm. One was a published orator trained in speech technique and drama. He repeated the psalm in a powerful way. When he finished, the audience cheered and even asked for an encore that they might hear his wonderful voice again.
      Then the other man, who was much older, repeated the same words - “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…” but when he finished, no sound came from the large class. Instead, people sat in a deep mood of devotion and prayer.Then the first man, the orator, stood to his feet. “I have a confession to make, he said. The difference between what you have just heard from my old friend, and what you heard from me is this: I know the Psalm, my friend knows the Shepherd.”
    1. I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD! (1-6)
    2. God’s people are His flock.
      1. Ps.100:3 We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
      2. Is.40:11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, & carry them in His bosom, & gently lead those who are with young.
      3. Ps.95:7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand (or, the sheep under His care).
    3. Why does He compare us to sheep?
      1. We are prone to wander (All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way)
      2. We need a Shepherd to guide us (like sheep do)
      3. Sheep flock together, so should we (should be no lone wolves!)
    4. (3) Hear - listen attentively to, & so to obey.
    5. (4) He brings out His own sheep, He goes before them - a rebuke to the Pharisees who expelled the man born blind.
    6. (4b) For they know his voice - A man in Australia was arrested and charged with stealing a sheep. But he claimed emphatically that it was one of his own that had been missing for many days. When the case went to court, the judge was puzzled, not knowing how to decide the matter. At last he asked that the sheep be brought into the courtroom.
      Then he ordered the plaintiff to step outside and call the animal. The sheep made no response except to raise its head and look frightened.The judge then instructed the defendant to go to the courtyard and call the sheep. When the accused man began to make his distinctive call, the sheep bounded toward the door. It was obvious that he recognized the familiar voice of his master. Source unknown
    7. (6) Illustration - allegory, figure of speech. A story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning.
    8. I AM THE DOOR! (7-21)
    9. (9) Remember the religious leaders last chapter excommunicated the newly healed blind man - attempting to slam the door of God in his face!
      1. Little did they realize that they’d actually freed him from their man-made house of hell to find the true Door who opens heaven to us all.
    10. In & out to find green pasture (or, spiritual nourishment).
      1. Shepherds/porters regulate the coming & going of sheep between the sheep pen & the pasture.
        1. As the door, Jesus decides who enters the family of God.
      2. Saved - the entire process of soul-health! F.B.Meyer [in for fellowship; out for service!]
      3. It is He who gives salvation, security, & satisfaction to all who enter here!
    11. In Dante’s Divine Comedy he shares the supposed inscription at the entrance to Hell, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”.
      1. Q: Does that sign hang anywhere in your life? “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”
      2. Q: Any situation in your life that seems hopeless?
        1. Does it hang over a bottle/alcohol that seems impossible to walk away from @ night?
        2. Does it hang over every meal with your eating disorder?
        3. Does it hang over your unemployment, thinking you’ll never find work?
        4. Does it hang over your marriage that constantly feels “it’s over”?
        5. Where have you abandoned all hope?
      3. We can affix a different sign at the entrance to this new door, “Abandon yourself ye who enter here”; or, Gain all hope ye who enter here!”
        1. God tells Hosea I will allure her(Israel/his wife)...I will give her her vineyards...and the Valley of Achor(formerly meant trouble) as a door of hope; She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth. (2:14,15)
        2. Enjoy all HOPE...those who enter here! (through the Jesus Door!)
    12. (10) Steal, kill, destroy - Howard Hughes - All he ever really wanted in life was more. He wanted more money, so he parlayed inherited wealth into a billion-dollar pile of assets. He wanted more fame, so he broke into the Hollywood scene and soon became a filmmaker and star. He wanted more sensual pleasures, so he paid handsome sums to indulge his every sexual urge. He wanted more thrills, so he designed, built, and piloted the fastest aircraft in the world. He wanted more power, so he secretly dealt political favors so skillfully that two U.S. presidents became his pawns. All he ever wanted was more. He was absolutely convinced that more would bring him true satisfaction. Unfortunately, history shows otherwise. This man concluded his life emaciated and colorless; with a sunken chest; fingernails in grotesque, inches-long corkscrews; rotting, black teeth; tumors; and innumerable needle marks from his drug addiction. Howard Hughes died believing the myth of more. He died a billionaire junkie, insane by all reasonable standards. (Bill Hybels; Leadership.)
      1. Steal, kill, destroy - that's all our enemy his minions are about.
    13. (10b) Oh, let us not be content until our life has become abundant life! Because our life, cost the Shepherd His life!
    14. (13) Beware of thieves(1,10); strangers(5); & hirelings(12)
      1. Thieves, robbers, strangers & hirelings - the false Messiahs; false prophets; Pharisees & Scribes; the religious leaders of ch.9 who were more interested in fleecing the sheep than in guiding, nurturing & guarding them.
    15. (14) The Good Shepherd(gave His life; Ps.22); The Great Shepherd [He.13:20] (Cares for the sheep; Ps.23); The Chief Shepherd [1Pet.5:4] (Will come again in glory; Ps.24)
    16. Good - John used an unusual term for Good. It means good, beautiful. It has the connotation of a winsome, attractive, & virtuous person. (Shepherds Notes; pg.53)
      1. We might use it in the sense of a model of perfection.
      2. Few portraits of Jesus have more appeal than His role of Shepherd.
      3. The “goodness” of this Shepherd abides in the fact that He does not spare Himself in looking after the sheep.
    17. (16) Other sheep I have - The language is sovereign & prophetic.
      1. Gentiles? Yes. - But also family members, co-workers, friends who are not following the Shepherd yet.
      2. Q: What other sheep does he want to lead to Himself, through you?
    18. (16b) 2 groups would become 1 fold, but only through 1 Shepherd.
      1. Eph.2:11,13,16 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth...but now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ...to reconcile both of them to God through the cross.
    19. (18) In the OT the sheep died for the shepherd; Christ is the Shepherd who dies for the sheep!
    20. The story of the Good Shepherd is not the tragic story of a Victim but the tremendous story of a Victor! One who voluntarily laid down His life on our behalf.
      1. Pilate tried to intimidate Jesus w/the authority to release Him or crucify Him.
      2. Peter tried to protect Him w/his sword a Gethsemane.
        1. But Jesus’ death was voluntary. He told Peter “put away your sword, do you think I cannot ask My Father, & He will at once put at my disposal more than 12 legions of angels?” & He told Pilate “you would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above.”
      3. In vs.18 it speaks about both His death & resurrection!
    21. (20) Mixed reactions - Satanic or Psychotic. The dissension remains unresolved as the curtain abruptly falls on this scene.
      1. Vs.22-42 carry’s the same theme(Shepherd) but is 2/3 months later.
    22. How do you recognize if you’re following the True Shepherd? You hear His voice(relationship - He speaks to you); He calls you by name(intimacy); He leads you.
      1. Do you know His voice?
    23. If you are a shepherd of God’s people, how does your leadership stack up w/the characteristics communicated in these passages? In light of Christ’s self-sacrificing model? What would you like to change?
    24. (Ps.23 Message Bible) God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.
    25. The 23rd Psalm Explained!
    26. The Lord is my Shepherd - That's Relationship!
      I shall not want - That's Supply!
      He makes me to lie down in green pastures - That's Rest!
      He leads me beside the still waters - That's Refreshment!
      He restores my soul - That's Healing!
      He leads me in the paths of righteousness - That's Guidance!
      For His name sake - That's Purpose!
      Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death - That's Testing!
      I will fear no evil - That's Protection!
      For Thou art with me - That's Faithfulness!
      Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me - That's Discipline!
      Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies - That's Hope!
      Thou anoints my head with oil - That's Consecration!
      My cup runs over - That's Abundance!
      Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life - That's Blessing!
      And I will dwell in the house of the Lord - That's Security!Forever - That's Eternity!
      1. So, do you know the Psalm, or do you know the Shepherd?
    27. Jesus did not become entrapped in some sticky political web from which he could not extricate Himself. Rather, He spun a story of selfless sacrifice so enticing, so enchanting, that it would attract people to Him for millennia to come. (Chuck Swindoll; John; pg.54.)
      1. Yes, it’s a 2000 year old story. The story of a Shepherd so supremely good that nothing stood in the way of His love for His sheep. Not even His own life!
      2. Q: Do you hear the voice of this Shepherd, calling you this morning?
      3. Q: Are you ready to follow this Shepherd?

Verses 22-42

  1. INTRO:
    1. Recognize, honor, esteem Fathers - Prayer: Lead by serving; Love their wife; be a role model to their children as they love, care, discipline, & guide their children; Grace & patience to handle situations.
    2. Prayer: Blessed Assurance Jesus is mine..Filled with His goodness, lost in His love!
    3. Q: Are you sure you know where you are going? Some one said, Man's life is made up of:
      20 years of his mother asking him where he is going;
      40 years of his wife asking him where he has been; and
      1 hour at his funeral when everyone wonders where he is going. Don’t just wonder, KNOW!
      1. Q: Do you know w/out a doubt where you will spend your eternity? You can!
    4. Golden Gate Bridge Illustration: 23 workers fell to their deaths in the San Francisco Bay. After that, the city erected huge nets beneath the bridge. After they were in place, only a handful fell, and they were safe, & the work was completed in record time & with record safety. Why? The workers could concentrate on their jobs & not have to worry about dying!
      1. To be a productive Christian you need to know that your future is absolutely secure. You need to be able to focus on the task at hand, instead of always worrying about your future.
    5. Imagine a child who does not know from day to day, whether or not he is a member of the family. If he was good 1 day, he was in; if he was bad, then he was out. One day his father loved him, the next day, he didn’t. I tell you that child would be an emotional and a psychological wreck.
    6. Here is one of the most awesome places in scripture; nicked-named, Blessed Assurance!
    1. BLESSED ASSURANCE! (22-30)
    2. (22) Feast of Dedication (or Feast of the Maccabees, or Hanukkah, or Feast of Lights) - It was instituted by Judas Maccabeus, his brothers, and the elders of the congregation of Israel, in the year 165 B.C. in commemoration of the reconsecration of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, and especially of the altar of burnt offering, after they had been desecrated in the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes.
    3. (23) Explain Solomon’s porch. [roofed area w/40’ tall pillars, making up its colonnade]
      1. Here rabbis walk w/their students, discussing, & debating, the hot theological issues of the day.
    4. (24) Why won’t “telling them plainly” help them? Because they are not His sheep(26)
      1. It was not lack of information but lack of willingness to believe.
    5. (27-29)
    6. The sheep’s relationship to the Shepherd is one that: they hear the Shepherd’s voice (they respond to His teachings); they know the Shepherd (they have relationship w/Him & are completely committed to him); they follow the Shepherd (they are persistent in obeying His teachings); they have eternal life (they are secure in the strong protective hand of God).
    7. The Shepherd’s relationship to the sheep is one that: He knows us; He gives us eternal life; He promises we’ll never perish; He promises no one can snatch us from His hand, nor His Fathers.
    8. Never Perish – an emphatic double negative here. They shall not ever perish forever!
      1. ​​​​​​​Perish literally means, that they can “never destroy themselves.”
      2. No one, not even ourselves, can take us out of the Father’s hand!
    9. In Jn.10:28 the word Never is there 4 times in the Greek.
      1. A literal rendering of that verse is this, And I give unto the eternal life and they shall not at all, by any means, in any case, in any place, at any time, for any purpose, whether they be male or female, perpetually or eternally ever perish! (Alexander Maclaren; his notes in Jn.10.)
      2. The Good Shepherd has made it His mission that we all arrive home safely!
    10. No one can snatch - “No wolf, no thief, no bandit, no hireling, no demon, not even the devil can pluck the sheep out of this Shepherds hand!”
      1. Col.3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
    11. 4 Qualities of Genuine Believers: (adapted from Swindoll)
      1. Sensitive to His voice! Are you listening even when He speaks through your conscience? Through other people? Through a mean employee or boss? Through a strong willed child?
      2. Obedient to His Leadership! – It’s one thing to hear, quite another to act on what you’ve heard. [He has the right to lead us where ever He pleases]
      3. Confident of their Destiny! – In where you’re going when you die.
      4. Secure in the Shepherds strong hands! – Secure in your relationship w/Christ. Secure in the unpryable, interlocked, strong, majestic, hands of almighty God.
        1. Do you think Satan can pry even one finger loose? No way!
        2. Like a child trying to snatch a coin from her Fathers grasp.
    12. (29) The Father has a stake in our preservation. Why? Because the sheep were a gift to Christ from the Father! [Would the Father take back a gift from the Son?]
    13. (30) I & My Father are one - one is neuter in the Greek: it means a unity, not one person.
      1. They are not identical persons but separate persons who are of identical nature.2
    14. Can I share 8 other reasons why I hold to this so strongly, for True believers?
      1. God’s Promise - Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom.8:38,39)
      2. God’s Perseverance (His not mine) He is the Convictor, He is the Convertor and He is the Completor! He always finishes what He starts.
      3. God’s Predestination - Those who receive Christ are predestined to go to Heaven Rom.8:29. He saw it, He planned it, He predestined it and He brought it to pass. He sees us as already being in Heaven. Think about it! That which is settled in eternity can never be undone in time!
      4. Our Perfection - Heb.10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. He made us perfect by His sacrifice. [Not perfect for a time, but perfect forever!] As a Christian, I did not get a fresh start, I got a new life. Not a new beginning, a new nature! We are not perfect in the flesh! Only in the soul! If I step out of line, I will be chastened, but I will still be viewed as perfect by the Father. We are not saved by good works and we cannot lose it by bad ones.
      5. Our Position - 2 Cor.5:17 When a person receives Christ, he becomes a new creation. They literally become a part of Christ. The only way that a believer can lose his relationship with the Father is for the Son to do so first. That is a total impossibility! Illus: Noah and his family were secure because of their position (In the Ark)! Noah probably fell many times in the Ark, but he never fell out! He was in the place of safety. We, as believers, enjoy a greater measure of safety than Noah!
      6. Our Possession - Jn.5:24 We were given eternal life when we were saved. Not “10 year life”, not “until I sin life”. We possess it right now, not at death! It is the present, eternal possession of every child of God!
      7. Christ’s Prayer - Jesus never prayed a prayer that wasn’t answered. Jn.17:24 Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me. He prayed for your keeping & for your home going. Therefore, you can rest assured & walk secured in the knowledge that you are saved by the grace of God & secure in the love of Christ.
      8. God’s Power - Read 1Pet.1:3-5. God’s power is greater than any other and it is that power that keeps us saved!
    15. How can we ever doubt His Upholding Grace?
    17. (31) With stones in hand, this Jewish jury declares His sentence.
      1. Instead of being compliant sheep they remain rebel goats & continue to butt heads like stubborn nanny goats.
    18. (32) Jesus picks up where He left off regarding the discussion of his identity.
      1. He appeals to His works & His words, claiming that only the Messiah could perform the deeds He has done.
    19. (34-36) You are gods – from Ps.82:6 speaking of the judges (Elohim) of Israel.
      1. Lit. “the mighty ones, or gods.”
        1. ​​​​​​​Even the judges of Israel, acting as God’s representatives, were called god’s.
          1. The Jews should have seen that Jesus was far superior to them.
      2. Jn.10:34-36(NLT) Jesus replied, "It is written in your own law that God said to certain leaders of the people, 'I say, you are gods!' And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people, who received God's message, were called 'gods,' why do you call it blasphemy when the Holy One who was sent into the world by the Father says, 'I am the Son of God'?
    20. MANY BELIEVED! (40-42)
    21. (41) John performed no sign but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true –
      1. Oh to have said at your funeral, “He was a good man. He never performed miracles, but he told me about Christ, which led me to know Him for myself.”
    22. (42) Their faith throws into dark relief the stubborn unbelief of the leaders at Jerusalem.
      1. By faith, they stepped through the Door, out of the Jewish religious fold, & into the liberty & eternal life Christ alone can give.
    23. Your Eternal life is: assured, guarded, protected, & guaranteed by God Himself.
      1. Could He have said it any clearer or stronger?
    24. If you struggle with your salvation, are you placing the focus on what you’re doing with & for God; or, are you looking at what He has finished & completed for you?
      1. Read Ps.97:10-12 – He Preserves…He Delivers!
    25. Here’s a closed eye exam: You can score a 1-5 (5 highest)…be honest w/yourself. How Sensitive am I to Christ’s voice? How Obedient am I to Christ’s leadership? How Confident am I of my destiny? How Secure do I feel in Christ’s care?
    26. Prayer: Blessed Assurance Jesus is mine!...I in my Savior am happy & blest!
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on John 10". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/john-10.html. 2017.
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