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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

John 10

Verses 1-21

Jesus Testifies of His Deity: The Good Shepherd John 9:35 to John 10:21 gives us the story of Jesus’ testimony to the Jews of His deity by revealing Himself as the Good Shepherd. This testimony is the result of the events surrounding the controversy over the healing of the man who was born blind (John 9:1-43.9.41). For those who accept the doctrine of Jesus Christ (John 7:1-43.7.36), and partake of the Living Water, which is the Holy Spirit (John 7:37 to John 8:1), and learn to walk in the light of God’s Word (John 8:2-43.8.59), for those Jesus is the Good Shepherd whom He protects and guides along the path of eternal life (John 9:35 to John 10:21).

John 9:38 Comments (1) - The first time the blind man met Jesus, he saw Him as simply a prophet, as the Son of Man in the flesh (John 9:17). On this second encounter, the man saw Jesus Christ with spiritual eyes and recognized Him as the divine Son of God. This is why he worshipped Jesus. In the first encounter, the blind man was not seeking the Lord and this is why he did not recognize him except in the flesh as a prophet, for this is the way many people saw Jesus, as the Son of Man. With the second encounter, the man was seeking to know Him; for he said, “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?” Thus, the Lord was able to reveal Himself to this man. It is this way that God has chosen to reveal Himself to those who will seek Him.

Note also that between the first and second encounter, the blind man endured persecution. It is persecution that often drives us to seek the Lord. This is why God does not always deliver us from the persecutions of this life; because He knows the precious outcome of fellowship and intimate with Him that is often produced from persecutions. We draw near to the Father and are able to see Him to a greater degree, as did the blind man.

Many people saw Jesus Christ in the flesh during His earthly ministry, but they did not recognize Him as the Son of God. This is because they were seeking earthly benefits rather than seeking to know God. It was to those three disciples who most earnestly sought His presence that Jesus revealed Himself most gloriously on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-40.17.13). The other apostles who followed Him were also able to see Jesus as the divine Son of God, but not with as much revelation as Peter, James and John saw on the Mount. Remember Moses, who earnestly sought to see God. To him did God reveal His back side (Exodus 33:12 to Exodus 34:8). The man Elijah sought to Mount Horeb in his flight from Jezebel in order to find God’s presence and strength. To him God manifested Himself in a still small voice. But it is interesting to note that both Moses and Elijah were the first to behold Jesus Christ in all of His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration.

John 9:38 Comments (2) - Within each of the six feast sections is found a miracle that testifies of Jesus’ deity. We find six of these miracles ending with a statement that many believed in Him because of these miracles (John 2:11, John 4:53, John 5:15, John 6:14, John 9:38, John 11:45). The seventh miracle ends with a similar statement (John 20:29).

John 9:39 “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world” - Scripture Reference - Note:

Ezekiel 33:5, “He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.”

John 9:39 “that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind” - Comments In John 9:39 Jesus contrasts physical blindness with spiritual blindness. The blind man could not only now see physically, but at his confession of faith in Jesus as Christ, he could not see spiritually. In contrast, the Pharisees, who had physical sight, could not see spiritually to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

John 10:3 “and he calleth his own sheep by name” - Comments - In agricultural societies the relationship between owner and beast goes very deep. It was a custom to give each animal in a herd a name. This was a form of record-keeping in order to remember the history of each animal. Here is an excerpt from Yoweri K. Museveni's book Sowing the Mustard Seed. In it, we see the close relationship between a modern-day herdsman and his cattle:

“Cows were, and still are, central to Banyankore culture. All our cows have names and the names are descriptive, according to the animal's colour and shape of its horns, but we also name them according to characteristics - some are fast-moving and others are slow-moving. The name not only identifies the cow, but indicates the name of its mother . So we say: 'the brown cow of the mother with the long horns', as the Arabs say 'Said bin Said', Said son of Said. In this way we can keep track of what has happened to such and such a cow - a form of record-keeping in what has traditionally been a non-literate society .

“Our cows, with their large long horns, are remarkably gentle and even the bulls are placid. This is because of the way that we treat them. We do not regard them as existing only for commercial gain. They are like members of our families and we treat them very intimately. For instance, we have a brush called enkuyo, which we use to clean and massage the cow, a process we call okuragaza. This is done for most of the milking cows, but also for favourites amongst them. It is a form of communicating with them and they enjoy it very much. A cow will follow you everywhere if you massage it with that brush. I have a great personal feeling for my cows, especially the ones whose ancestors have been in our family for a very long time. They are like cousins and sisters to me. I think if I acquired other cows they would not mean as much to me. I do not have the same feeling for the exotic breeds from Europe, but perhaps over time they will become like adopted children and we shall like them.” [216]

[216] Yoweri K. Museveni, Sowing the Mustard Seed (London: Macmillan Publishers Ltd, 1997), 3-4.

John 10:3-43.10.4 Comments The Abundant Life - As we go about in our daily lives, we have Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit, to lead us into an abundant life.

Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

Note these words by Frances J. Roberts:

“Turn not into the diverging path, neither fear to follow Me. For as the shepherd when he putteth forth his sheep goes before, so shalt thou know of a surety that I go before thee. And it shall be to thee a place of broad pastures, yea, of enlarged vision; of increased fruitfulness, and unbounded blessings and nothing shall prevent Me. Look not to thine own thoughts, but walk in the Spirit: so shalt thou accomplish the work which the Spirit desireth to do. Eternity alone shall reveal the fruit of this hidden ministry. For we labor not in the material realm, and we work not with the elements of this world; but our labour is in the realm of the Spirit, and the accomplishments are not judged by the human eye, but shall be revealed in the light of eternity.” [217]

[217] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 46.

John 10:9 Comments - Kenneth Copeland interprets John 10:9 to mean that once we trust in Jesus, we will find pasture, or God’s blessings, wherever we go. [218] I understand that going in to be figurative of our times of refreshing from being in His presence so that we can go back into the world with the strength to overcome.

[218] Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

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.

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for” Comments - There is nothing good in the Devil. Everything that he does is focused on destruction.

John 10:10 “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” Comments - Note the progressive intensity, or the degrees of evil found in these words. A petty thief will steal from someone and spare his life, but a more wicked thug will murder while attempting to steal. This is a greater degree of wickedness. A more wicked human being than this will go so far as to destroy a nation in order to gain and defend his powers to rule over others.

John 10:10 “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” - Comments - Arthur Blessitt once defined “Life” in one word, which was, “Relationships.” [219] That is, life consists of relationships with God and people. Mark Carillo said, “Life is good, and then we get to go to heaven.” [220]

[219] Arthur Blessitt, interviewed by Matthew Crouch, Behind the Scenes, on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California, 2008), television program.

[220] Mark Carillo, “Sermon” (Calvary Cathedral International, Fort Worth, Texas), 15 July 2007.

John 10:10 Comments Within the context of the Gospel of John, Jesus has been revealing various aspects of Himself as it relates to His role in bringing God’s children into Heaven. He has offered Himself as the Bread of Life so that we may partake of fellowship with Him and hear His Word in our hearts each day; He has offered us the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the Living Water that refreshes the inner man; He has revealed Himself as the Light of the World so that the Holy Spirit can illuminate our daily path into a life of abundance. He is also our Shepherd who will keep us from evil and harm from the works of Satan if we will learn to walk under the leadership of the Holy Spirit and His Word. Jesus came to give us abundant life; however, we must meet the condition of accepting all of these aspects of Jesus Christ into our hearts and lives. As believers, we can walk carnally and stray from this path of abundance, opening the door for Satan to kill, steal, and destroy our lives. We must hid ourselves in the shelter of His arms in order to have an abundant life.

The two contrasts in our lives, as to who is at work, is clear. We can learn from John 10:10 if the devil or Jesus is at work in our lives. For example, the devil has the capability and power to steal, kill and destroy among mankind, having robbed man of his God-given authority in the Garden of Eden. We must be aware of the devil’s potential do destructive work in our lives as we strive to walk in the abundant life that God has made available for believers. This is why the Scriptures tell us to resist the devil and not give him any place in our lives to work his destruction (Ephesians 4:27, James 4:7).

Ephesians 4:27, “Neither give place to the devil.”

James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

It is important to understand that abundant life does not consist of a man’s material possessions (Luke 12:15), but in his close walk with the Lord. Life consists in having peace, joy, love, etc., and the power to overcome the devil.

Luke 12:15, “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

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

John 10:11 Comments - Does God care more about the life of a man than a sheep? Jesus is speaking concerning Christ and the Church. Note a similar use of animals used figuratively to represent man:

1 Corinthians 9:9, “For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen ?”

Illustration - David was a good shepherd.

1 Samuel 17:34-9.17.35, “And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.”

Scripture References - Note other reference verses regarding Christ’s care for the Church:

Matthew 20:28, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

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

Galatians 1:4, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”

Ephesians 5:32, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

1 Timothy 2:6, “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

Titus 2:14, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Hebrews 5:7-58.5.9, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”

John 10:10-43.10.11 Comments Abundant Life Verses Destruction - God makes something out of nothing, but Satan makes nothing out of something. God is able to make someone’s life worth something when it was nothing, but Satan is able to take a productive life and turn it into failure.

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 10:12 Illustration Having lived as a missionary in Africa for many years, I learned how frightened security guards become when threatened on the job. They often drop their guns and run rather than stand up against the thieves. This flight response is because the culture is fear-based rather than faith based. In other words, people often make decisions based upon fears rather than upon an unswerving faith in God.

John 10:18 “No man taketh it from me” - Comments Man did not take Jesus' life from Him. He willing laid it down. This is why the Scriptures say that He gave up the ghost on the Cross (John 19:30). Not man took His life on the Cross.

John 19:30, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

John 10:19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.

John 10:19 Scripture Reference - Note:

Luke 12:51, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:”

Verses 22-42

The Sixth Miracle (Perseverance) (Jesus Testifies that He is the Source of Man’s Future Hope of the Resurrection) - John 10:22 to john 11-57 records the sixth miracle of Jesus Christ that was used to bear witness of His deity, which was the raising of Lazarus from the dead. This miracle is unique to John’s Gospel, not being recorded in the Synoptics. During the Feast of Dedication, emphasis is placed upon the perseverance of our faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. For example, this section in John’s Gospel opens with the Jews saying to Jesus, “How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” (John 10:24). Thus, the Jews were not willing to endure Jesus’ season of ministry as He repeatedly worked miracles and used those opportunities to declare Himself as the Son of God. In contrast, Martha makes a statement that reflects true, persevering faith, saying to Jesus, “Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.” (John 11:21-43.11.22) Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead and declares Himself as the “Resurrection and the Life” for all mankind (John 11:25), revealing man’s need to persevere until his how glorification at his resurrection in his redemptive journey (John 10:22 to John 11:54). This section in John’s Gospel begins with Jesus’ testimony of His deity based upon His works and miracles (John 10:22-43.10.38). After the transition passage typical of each section in which Jesus withdraws Himself (John 10:39-43.10.42), He performs the sixth miracle of the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-43.11.27). John usually records Jesus’ testimony of His deity in relation to a miracle after performing this work. However, in this passage Jesus testifies of His deity as the Resurrection and the Life immediately before raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-43.11.27). He then performs this miracle (John 11:28-43.11.44).

This miracle testifies of the part of our spiritual journey called perseverance. In this story of the raising of Lazarus we see Mary and Martha anxiously awaiting the return of Jesus Christ to their home so that their brother would not die. Jesus deliberately delayed His coming after hearing the news of this sickness so that He could perform this particular miracle of the resurrection of the dead so that they might believe in Him. Jesus waited until Lazarus had died so that He could testify that He Himself is the Resurrection and the Life. We, too, anxiously await the return of our Lord and Saviour, who will resurrect those who are dead in Christ and change our mortal bodies into immortality. It is through Christ we, too, will partake of our resurrection and eternal glorification. This miracle of the resurrection reflects the believer’s future hope of glorification with the Father in Heaven. Our response to this sixth miracle is to place our hope in a future resurrection and eternal life as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ. If we believe in Jesus as the Son of God, we will put our hope in Him for our future resurrection and eternal glorification with Him in Heaven.

Outline - Here is a suggested outline:

1. Jesus Testifies of His Deity (His Works) John 10:22-43.10.42

2. The Sixth Miracle (Testimony of Lazarus) John 11:1-43.11.54

a. Jesus Testifies of His Deity (Resurrection & Life) John 11:1-43.11.27

b. The Raising of Lazarus John 11:28-43.11.44

c. The Plot to Kill Jesus John 11:45-43.11.54

This Miracle Led to Jesus’ Arrest and Crucifixion - Because the raising of Lazarus was performed in Bethany, which was close to Jerusalem, and because the news of this miracle spread rapidly among the people, the city of Jerusalem was stirred. They would soon receive Him in His Triumphant Entry as a “king,” but the Jewish leaders decide that this miracle is too much for them to bear because of the large amount of people who believed in Him as a result. They then intensified their efforts to put Him to death and found justification for themselves for fear of the Romans (John 11:45-43.11.54). At this point, they began to organize his arrest. Thus, this miracle precipitated the death of Jesus.

Comparison of Martha and Mary The story of Lazarus being raised from the dead contrasts the reactions of Martha and Mary as they met Jesus. While Martha went out and met Him (John 11:20), Mary saw Him and fell down at his feet (John 11:32). It was Mary who first came to Jesus as a sinner and anointed His feet with oil and wiped them with her hair (Luke 7:36-42.7.50). Therefore, she seems to respond to Jesus with deeper emotion because she was forgiven of much sin. Also, both said the same thing to Jesus, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” (John 11:21; John 11:32)

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These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on John 10". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.