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Bible Commentaries
John 10

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

John 10:1

10:1–42 Chapter 10 continues the series of festival sermons (see note on 5:1–10:42). Jesus now moves to Hanukkah (the Festival of Dedication), the timing of which is crucial to understanding the story (see note on John 10:22).

New Living Translation Study Bible.

Jesus is the "door", cf. John 10:7. The Pharisees (the Jewish authorities rejecting Jesus) are the "thief and robber."

This section echoes Jesus’ words in John 14:6 that He is the only way to the Father.

Verse 3

John 10:3

listen to his voice. Presupposes that several flocks are in the fold (see note on v. 1); the shepherd calls out his sheep. his own. The sheep belong to the shepherd before he calls them (cf. vv. John 10:26-29; John 6:37, 39, 44, 64–65; John 17:6, 9, 24; John 18:9). by name.

he calls his own sheep by name Distinguishing them from other sheep that might be in the same fold. The point is that sheep follow the right shepherd.

Verse 4

John 10:4

Verse 5

John 10:5

Often several shepherds’ flocks were kept together. When a shepherd was ready to take his flock to pasture, he would call. As the sheep heard the familiar and trusted voice of their shepherd, they would go to him and follow as he went into the field.

Verse 6

John 10:6

they did not understand The audience misses the symbolism of the parable. Just as sheep recognize their shepherd and follow him, so those who truly belong to Jesus will recognize Him and follow Him.

10:6 illustration. The word here is best translated “illustration” or “figure of speech” and conveys the idea that something cryptic or enigmatic is intended in it. It occurs again in 16:25, 29 but not in the synoptics. Having given the illustration (vv. 1–5), Jesus then began to draw salient spiritual truth from it.

Verse 7

John 10:7

10:7–10 I am the door. This is the third of 7 “I AM” statements of Jesus (see John 6:35; John 8:12). Here, He changes the metaphor slightly. While in vv. 1–5 He was the shepherd, here He is the gate.

The MacArthur Study Bible

Verse 8

John 10:8

When Jesus said, All who ever came before Me were thieves and robbers, He referred to those leaders of the nation who cared not for the spiritual good of the people but only for themselves.

He places Himself in contrast to Israel’s religious leaders, who were supposed to be faithful shepherds, but were more like those evil false shepherds described in Ezek. 34. More interested in feeding themselves than the children of God.

10:8 All who came before me may hint at messianic pretenders who promised their followers freedom but instead led them into armed conflict and doom (cf. Acts 5:36-37; Acts 21:38).

Verse 9

John 10:9

10:9 will be saved (or will find safety): As gatekeeper, Jesus keeps away those who might harm his sheep, keeping his sheep inside the pen where they are safe.

will go in and out, echoes covenant terminology, especially the blessings for obedience in Deuteronomy 28:6 (cf. Numbers 27:16-17; Psalms 121:8). Find

Verse 10

John 10:10

10:10 Jesus’ followers must be wary of bad shepherds who desire to steal and kill and destroy. As the Hanukkah story was told to the Jewish people (see note on 10:22), they were reminded about false religious leaders whose failures had led to the loss of God’s Temple in Jerusalem.

The good shepherd leads his sheep, finds food and water, and locates paths in the wilderness (see Ps 23). The good shepherd stands between his sheep and danger (10:11) and fights to protect them.

Abundantly... A long life; well fed and watered, content and safe; life at it’s best.

Jesus calls his followers, not to a dour, lifeless, miserable existence that squashes human potential, but to a rich, full, joyful life, one overflowing with meaningful activities under the personal favor and blessing of God and in continual fellowship with his people. ESV Study Bible

Verse 11

John 10:11

Good shepherd: When Jesus uses this terminology, thoughtful Jews remember Psalms 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd,” and even understand Jesus’ claim to be God. In verse 11 Jesus again predicts His crucifixion (cf. John 10:15).

That the shepherd would die to save the sheep may be an allusion to another famous ot passage, Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 40:10-11

Verse 16

John 10:16

The other sheep (cf. John 11:52; Ephesians 2:13–22). Alluding to the Gentiles and the ultimate universal scope of salvation via Christ’s atoning death. Compare Isaiah 56:8.

Verse 18

John 10:18

10:16–18 Jesus’ death is an act of free volition: Because Jesus is God, His life could not be taken by any human force or power. Out of love for His Father and a willingness to be obedient, Jesus lays down His life freely.

The death of this Good Shepherd:

(1) extends the fold (v. 16 refers to Gentiles), and

(2) unites it (the church) under one Shepherd or Head, that One being the Lord Jesus.

Verse 19

John 10:19

10:19–21. For the third time Jesus’ teaching divided the people (cf. John 7:43; John 9:16). Many in this hostile crowd judged Him to be demon-possessed and raving mad (cf. John 7:20; John 8:48, 52). But others figured that He was not demon-possessed, for how could a demon open the eyes of the blind? (cf. John 9:16)

Verse 20

John 10:20

He’s demon possessed : Cp. John 7:20; John 8:48-49,

Verse 22

John 10:22

Two months had elapsed since Jesus’ last confrontation with the Jews (John 7:1–10:21) at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2), which was in October. Jesus again returned to the temple area.

Hanukkah was a winter festival that commemorated the rededication of the Temple after it had been defiled by Antiochus IV (175–163 bc). Two hundred years before Christ, Greek soldiers captured and pillaged the Jerusalem Temple, took its treasures and artifacts, and made it unusable for worship. In the winter of 165–164 bc, a Jewish army led by Judas Maccabeus reclaimed the Temple and rededicated it to the Lord. The Festival of Hanukkah (“dedication”) marked this dedication (see 1 Maccabees 3–4; 2 Maccabees 8:1–10:8). During the festival, priests examined their commitment to service, using Ezek 34 as their principal text for reflection (also Jeremiah 23:1-4; Jeremiah 25:32-38; Zechariah 11:1). At this Hanukkah celebration, Jesus used the shepherd theme from Ezek 34 to distinguish between himself as the good shepherd (10:11) and Israel’s current religious leaders as bad shepherds (John 10:10, 12–13).

New Living Translation Study Bible. (2008).

Verse 23

John 10:23

Solomon’s Colonnade was a long covered walkway on the east side of the temple. Jesus did not teach out in the open but in the area called the colonnade (see note on John 5:2) of Solomon. cf. Acts 3:11; Acts 5:12;

Since it was "winter time" there were probably fires under the covered area for the people to warm by (see Mark 14:54; John 18:25)

Verse 24

John 10:24

10:24 The people who surrounded Jesus might have been seeking clarity, or they might have been hostile. In Luke 21:20 and Hebrews 11:30, the same word describes how Jerusalem and Jericho were surrounded before being destroyed; in Acts 14:20 it refers to Paul’s disciples rallying around him after he was injured.

Verse 25

John 10:25

The problem was not lack of information, but their unwillingness to believe him.

Verse 26

John 10:26

John 10:26

cf. John 10:14

Verse 28

John 10:28

Eternal life (10:28) by definition can never be taken away.

Snatch in 10:28 and 29 denotes the use of force

Verse 29

John 10:29

Various MS readings and translations, but the context and reading that "My Father ... is greater than all" seems correct, and is contrasted with any enemy that would run off the "hired" shepherds.

Verse 31

John 10:31

They understood that Jesus claimed to be God. Stoning was the prescribed punishment for blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16; cf. Deuteronomy 13:6-11; John 10:31-33; John 11:8). However, this punishment was supposed to be the result of righteous judgment, not mob violence (Deuteronomy 17:2-7).

cf. Acts 7:58

Verse 33

John 10:33

The Truth is that Jesus is not a man who makes himself God but is God who became a man.

Verse 34

John 10:34

The term "law" was used by Jesus and the Jews to embrace the O.T. in general, cf. John 12:34, John 15:25, Romans 3:19, 1 Corinthians 14:21.

10:34–36 Jesus quotes Psalms 82:6 to question their umbrage: “gods” can refer to others than God himself, so if God called humans “gods” and “sons of the Most High” (i.e., sons of God) in some sense, on what Scriptural basis can the Jews charge that Jesus—whom the Father sent—is necessarily guilty of blasphemy when he says that he is God’s Son?

His point is not to deny deity, but to deny that He had said anything that could necessarily be construed as the crime of blasphemy. It also demonstrates Jesus’ superior knowledge of Scripture.

Verse 35

John 10:35

Scripture cannot be broken. Jesus is depending on just one word (“gods”) in the OT for his argument. When he says that Scripture “cannot be broken,” he implies that every single word in Scripture is completely true and reliable. His opponents do not differ with this high view of Scripture, either here or anywhere else in the Gospels.

The Scriptures (both Old and New Testaments) were recognized by the early church as the final authority on all matters of faith and practice. Jesus spoke of the letters (Matthew 5:18) and verb tenses (Matthew 22:31-32) as being significant and authoritative.

Verse 36

John 10:36

10:36–39. Essentially, Jesus’ claim to deity is attested not so much by His verbal witness, but by His works—and they are conclusive.

Verse 38

John 10:38

Verse 39

John 10:39

cf. John 7:30; John 7:44.

Verse 40

John 10:40

His revelation to the Jewish leaders now complete, Jesus retired to the region beyond the Jordan River where John the Baptist had once worked and where Jesus was baptized.

Verse 41

John 10:41

10:41 everything he said about this man has come true: See John 1:19-51; John 3:22-36. The fulfillment of John the Baptist’s predictions confirms both that he was a prophet and that what he said about Jesus was true.

Verse 42

John 10:42

While Jesus found little faith among the religious leaders in the holy city of Jerusalem, in the desert he found many who … believed.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on John 10". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/john-10.html. 2021.
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