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Bible Commentaries
John 10

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


By the door. The sheepfold is a symbol of the Kingdom church [see note on Matthew 16:18], and Christ is the one door into it. A sheepfold was a roofless enclosure with walls made of loose stone or thorn bushes, with only one door opening into it. The sheep are led into the sheepfold at night, to protect them.

Verse 2


Who goes in by the door. The door is for the shepherd and the sheep. One who climbs over the wall is a thief and a robber.

Verse 3


The gatekeeper opens the gate for him. The shepherd led the sheep into the sheepfold through the door, and the gatekeeper fastened the door from the inside and stayed with the sheep all night as a “night-watchman.” [Some make this “gatekeeper” symbolize God.] In the morning, the shepherd comes to get his sheep, the gatekeeper opens the gate [door], and the shepherd calls his sheep to come. [More than one flock of sheep were sometimes kept together in a sheepfold, and each knew the voice. of their own shepherd and would come only at his call.] And he leads them out. Shepherds “make pets” of their sheep, giving them names as we do our dogs, etc. When they are called by name, they come playfully. The shepherd calls his sheep by name, and leads them out into the hills and meadows, where they eat the green grass.

Verses 4-5


They will not follow someone else. Jesus is saying that the Pharisees are thieves and robbers who have seized control of the sheepfold. The people ran away from them, because they did not recognize their voice (see note on Matthew 9:36). [The Jewish authorities fulfilled the prophecies about the false shepherds (Ezekiel 34:1-6; Jeremiah 33:1-6; Zechariah 11:4-11). Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the True Shepherd (Psalms 23:0; Psalms 77:20; Psalms 80:1; Psalms 95:7; Jeremiah 31:10; Ezekiel 34:31; Micah 7:14; Isaiah 43:11).]

Verse 6


But they did not understand. Because the idea of loving care was so alien to them.

Verse 7


I am the door for the sheep. He is the ONE DOOR for all, both sheep and shepherds.

Verse 8


All others who came before me. The false messiahs of the past. They could not fulfill the prophecies about the Messiah. Rather than coming in through the door, they climbed over the wall!

Verse 9


Whoever comes in by me will be saved. The “door” allows the sheep to enter, and therefore is symbolic of coming in to protection and shelter; and going out to freedom and life. [Christ is at the same time the door, the shepherd and the pasture. He is the bread of life and the water of life.]

Verse 10


The thief comes. All who refuse to come in through the door, have a bad purpose in mind. I have come. Jesus came to be the Life-giver! He promises life in all its fulness in this world and in the world to come! Compare Psalms 23:0; Philippians 4:4-9.

Verse 11


I am the good shepherd. This title is applied to Jehovah in Psalms 23:0; Ezekiel 34:11-12. The shepherd often had to defend his flock from enemies. He is willing to die for his sheep!

Verse 12


The hired man. Both a shepherd and a hired man take care of sheep for a profit. The difference is in attitude!

Verse 13


And does not care for the sheep. When danger threatens, he is willing to sacrifice the sheep to try to save himself! Compare note on Matthew 10:39.

Verses 14-16


There are other sheep. The Gentiles. People “sort themselves out” by responding to Christ’s call which comes through the Gospel. See note on John 6:37.

Verses 17-18


I give it up of my own free will. This destroys the idea that Jesus came to set up a political kingdom, but was frustrated by being crucified. Jesus gave himself for man of his own free will! This does not take away the guilt of those who murdered him (Acts 2:36). God chose this way to rescue man from sin and make them his friends (Luke 9:31; Colossians 1:20). This is the basis of the Good News (1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). He gave his life on the Cross; he took it back when he raised from death. [In these first 18 verses; Christ first is the door, through whom the true shepherds must enter. Then he is the good shepherd, whose praises both David and Isaiah sung, who gives his life for his sheep.]

Verse 19


Again there was a division. See notes on Matthew 10:34-39.

Verse 22


The Feast of Dedication. Two months have passed. This feast celebrated the restoration and re-dedication of the Temple by the Jewish patriot Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. It lasted eight days, and began about December 10th.

Verses 23-24


When the Jews gathered around him. The Jewish authorities. They do not ask this for information, but to try to incriminate him.

Verse 25


I have already told you. See John 5:19; John 8:36; John 8:56; John 8:58; John 9:39.

Verse 26


But you will not believe. There is plenty of evidence to make them believe! Failure to be Christ’s sheep was the evidence, not the cause, of their unbelief.

Verses 27-28


I give them eternal life. Not just eternal existence, but eternal happiness! All will live forever, but not all will share God’s promise (see John 5:28-29 and notes).

Verse 29


And no one can snatch them away. That is, those sheep who hear his voice and follow him. So long as they remain under his grace, they are safe, (see Romans 8:33-39; Hebrews 6:4-6; 2 Peter 1:10).

Verses 30-31


The Father and I are one. Jesus declares a UNITY exists between he and the Father [and the Holy Spirit], without limitations or restrictions. Picked up stones. [Herod had rebuilt the temple, but it was not yet finished. There would be plenty of stones lying around.] See note on John 8:59.

Verse 33


But because of the way. Because he said: “The Father and I are one.” Jesus declared that his good works proved his calm; they declared he was only a man, nothing more.

Verses 34-36


It is written in your own Law. Psalms 82:6. [Note Jesus includes the Psalms in the Law.] You are gods. Their own judges [rulers] had been called “gods” in the Scriptures. This was because God’s message [commission] was given to them. The Father chose me and sent me. If the purely human judges can be called “gods,” Jesus has a much better right to be called “God.” [Sanctify = to chose, set apart.]

Verses 37-38


But if I do them. “Actions speak louder than words.”

Verse 39


Once more they tried to arrest him. Their “violence” is cooled down by the quiet words of Jesus, and they drop their stones. But they still reject him and intend to arrest him.

Verses 40-42


Jesus went back again. See John 1:28. Jesus had spent nearly three months in Jerusalem in a stormy ministry. Twice they attempted to “mob” him (John 8:59; John 10:31). Twice they attempted to arrest him (John 7:32; John 10:39). His time to die would not come for about three months, the time for the next Passover. The other Gospels tell something of Jesus’ work across the Jordan.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 10". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/john-10.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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