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Bible Commentaries
John 10

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

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Verses 1-42


1. The Shepherd of the Sheep. (John 10:1-5 .)

2. The Good Shepherd, His Sheep and His Work. (John 10:6-21 .)

3. At the Feast of Dedication; the Repeated Testimony. (John 10:22-30 .)

4. Accused of Blasphemy and His Answer. (John 10:31-39 .)

5. Beyond Jordan; and Many Believed on Him. (John 10:40-42 .)

The teaching of this chapter is closely linked with the preceding event. It has become evident that the true sheep of Christ, belonging to His flock, would be cast out of the Jewish fold. The healed man cast out had become one of His sheep. Therefore He teaches now more fully concerning Himself as the Shepherd and about His sheep. The Old Testament speaks often of Israel as the sheep of Jehovah, and of Jehovah as the Shepherd. (Psalms 80:1 ; Psalms 95:7 ; Psalms 23:1 ; Ezekiel 34:1-31 ; Zechariah 11:7-9 ; Zechariah 13:7 .) The true Shepherd had come through the appointed door into the sheep fold, that is among Israel. He is the only One, and the porter (the Holy Spirit) opened to Him. He came and called His own sheep by name to lead them out. And the sheep hear His voice and follow Him. All is Jewish. He came the true Shepherd, into the sheepfold to lead them out to become His flock. It was a parable He spoke in these opening verses, but they did not understand it. What follows is a fuller revelation of Himself as the good Shepherd, and the sheep who belong to His flock. Judaism was a fold out of which the Shepherd leads His flock. He is the Door of the sheep. He is the means of getting into the flock, as a door is the means of getting into a house. Through Him all His sheep must enter by faith into the flock. There is no other door and no other way. He came into the fold by God’s appointed way and He is God’s appointed way. “I am the door, by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” A most blessed promise. He is the door. Any man, it does not matter who it is, any man may enter in by Him and then having entered in by Him, that is believed on Him, He promises salvation, liberty and food. These three things are bestowed upon all who believe on Him. Salvation is in Him and it is a present and a perfect salvation; liberty, freed from the bondage of the law which condemned the sinner, a perfect liberty; pasture, food, which He supplies; He Himself is the food, a perfect food. It is all found outside of the fold, the fold of Judaism, and in Christ. He came that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly. The abundant life He speaks of here is the life which comes from His death and resurrection. The good Shepherd had to give His life for the sheep. How different from the hireling, who fleeth and careth not for the sheep. The hirelings were the faithless shepherds. (Ezekiel 34:1-6 .) Again He said: “I lay down my life for the sheep.”

“The expression, ‘laying down the soul or life’ for any one, does not occur anywhere else independently in the New Testament. It is never found in profane writers. It must be referred back to the Old Testament, and specially to Isaiah 53:10 , where it is said of Messiah, ‘He shall make, or place, His soul an offering for sin.’”--Hengstenberg

In John 10:16 our Lord speaks of other sheep, which are not of this fold. These are the Gentiles. He leads out first from the Jewish fold His sheep; then there are the other sheep whom He will bring and who will hear His voice. The result will be one flock and one Shepherd. The Authorized Version is incorrect in using the word “fold.” Judaism was a fold, the church is not. The ecclesiastical folds in which Christendom is divided have been brought about by the Judaizing of the church. The fold no longer exists. There is one flock as there is one Shepherd; one body, as there is one Lord. All who have heard His voice, believed on Him, entered in by Him, are members of the one flock.

At the Feast of Dedication, commemorating the cleansing of the Temple and rededication by Judas Maccabaeus after the desecration by Antiochus, (See Daniel 8:9-14 ) the Lord continued His blessed teaching, ending it once more with a great revelation of Himself. He makes a most blessed addition to His previous instructions concerning Himself and His sheep. “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Here we have the comforting assurance of the absolute security of every sheep of Christ. Eternal life is a present and personal possession, not something which comes after death. It is therefore an abiding possession and cannot be lost. Then He Who is the Life and the Light, the Way and the Truth, assures us that His sheep shall never perish. Some say that He said “no one can pluck them out of His hand” but we can do it ourselves by living in sin, etc. This is fully answered by the correct rendering of His words, “they shall never perish.” It means literally: “they shall in no wise ever perish.” This is absolute; it covers everything.

Then His great revelation: “I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews understood what He meant, for they wanted to stone Him. After His answer they wanted to take Him, but He escaped out of their hands. His hour had not yet come.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on John 10". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/john-10.html. 1913-1922.
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