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Bible Commentaries
John 10

Gray's Concise Bible CommentaryGray's Concise Commentary

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Verses 1-21


The story of the fourth and last visit to Judea is too long and important to gather into one lesson, and will be broken up into three or four, the first of which bears the above title.

How did Jesus’ brothers regard him at this time (John 7:2-5 )? What hesitancy did He exhibit in going up to this feast (John 7:6-9 )? This feast took place in the fall, corresponding to our October. This chapter and the next are identified as those of the controversies in the Temple. They represent periods of sustained contention with enemies such as are described nowhere else in the gospels. The crisis indicated in the synoptics is now rapidly approaching. Examine in this connection John 7:12-13 ; John 7:20 ; John 7:26-27 ; John 7:30 ; John 7:32 ; John 7:43 . What effect had Jesus’ answers to His opponents upon the officials (John 7:45-46 )? What authoritative person speaks on His behalf at this critical moment (John 7:50-52 )?

Where did Jesus pass the night after this exhausting day (John 8:1 )? Where is He found the next morning (John 8:2 )? With what work of courage and grace does the day begin (John 8:3-11 )? Who came off victor in that contest of light and darkness, Jesus or His adversaries (John 8:6 )? The controversy begins again with Jesus’ bold declaration of Himself as “the Light of the World,” a declaration which, if unsupported by the truth, makes Him an impostor, but otherwise establishes His right to be all that this gospel claims for Him that He is God. Observe the features of the controversy all through this chapter, but especially at John 8:13 ; John 8:19 ; John 8:25 ; John 8:37 ; John 8:48 ; John 8:52 ; John 8:59 . Observe, too, the repeated declarations of Jesus bearing upon the dignity of His person, as in John 8:16 ; John 8:18-19 ; John 8:23 ; John 8:28 ; John 8:36 ; John 8:42 ; John 8:46 ; John 8:51 ; John 8:56 ; John 8:58 . It is comforting that His testimony was not fruitless in discipleship (John 8:30 ).

As Jesus passed from this murderous crowd, what miracle is wrought (chap. 9)? What explanation does Jesus afford as to why this man was born blind (John 9:3 )? How does this work of power and mercy effect the enemies of Jesus, does it soften or harden their opposition (John 9:16 ; John 9:28-29 )? What did they finally do to the man (John 9:34 )? What does “cast him out” probably mean? Compare John 9:22 , last clause. How does Jesus make a further claim of Deity in addressing this man (John 9:35-37 )? It is to be observed in this connection that the discourse on the good Shepherd, in chapter 10, grew out of the casting out of this man from the synagogue because of his confession of Jesus. The Scribes and Pharisees are the “hirelings” Jesus has in mind, who showed themselves to be such in their treatment of this man. Notice how this discourse also falls into harmony with the purpose of John’s Gospel to present the highest aspect of Christ’s Person and work, for example, compare His utterances in verses 10-11, 15, 17-18. His work is clearly that of a substitute Savior, and yet none other than God could speak of Himself thus. What opposite results were produced by this discourse (John 9:19-21 )?

Reference was made above to chapters 7-8 as those of the controversies in the Temple. The first controversy has been described as touching the character of Christ’s teaching and the condition for testing it (John 9:15-30 ); the second, as touching the character of the Sabbath day (John 9:21-24 ); the third, on the divine character of Christ Himself (John 9:25-31 ); the fourth, on His approaching disappearance, its nature and object (John 9:32-36 ). Another outline is the following: controversy one, on the source of His knowledge (John 9:14-24 ); controversy two, on the origin of his being (John 9:25-31 ); three, on the mysteriousness of His sayings (John 9:32-36 ). In the same way chapter 8 might be regarded as a controversial discourse on the nature of His mission (John 9:12-20 ); its need (John 9:21-30 ); its result (John 9:31-36 ); and, possibly, its motive (John 9:37-41 ).

Speaking specifically of chapter 10 and the discourse on the Good Shepherd it may be stated that the Shepherd work of our Lord has three aspects: (1) as the Good Shepherd He gives His life for the sheep; (2) as the Great shepherd He intercedes for them as one alive from the dead, and hence is caring for and perfecting them (Hebrews 13:20 ); and (3) as the Chief Shepherd He is coming again in glory to reward the faithful under shepherds (1 Peter 5:4 ).


1. When do the feasts of the Passover and the Tabernacles relatively occur?

2. How would you characterize chapters 7-8?

3. How is Jesus proven to be God in this chapter?

4. Analyze chapter 8.

5. Name the three aspects of Christ’s work as Shepherd.

Verses 22-42


The Feast of the Dedication took place midway between that of the Tabernacles and the Passover, or some time corresponding to our December or January. It is mentioned nowhere else in the Bible, and it is not positively known just what it commemorated.

Where Jesus had been in the meantime is not revealed except that it is not stated that He returned to Galilee. We dwell on this period to call attention to the same features as in the previous one, viz: the putting forth of the boldest claims on Jesus’ part, followed by conflict with His opponents. For the claims consult John 10:28 and John 10:30 , and the conflict, John 10:31 and John 10:39 . What was the sequel of this appearance so far as Jesus was concerned (John 10:40-41 )? Notice that in the face of all the criticism and opposition, the disciples continually increased (John 10:42 ).

We should not leave this without a further word on John 10:30 , which literally translated is, “I and My Father are one thing.” Christ does not say “One” in the masculine, but in the neuter gender. That is, He and His Father are not one in Person, but one in nature, power, will. It silences those who say there is but one Person in the Godhead, and those also who say that the Son is inferior to the Father.

Our Lord’s defense of this language against the charge of blasphemy (John 10:33-36 ), is an argument from a lesser to a greater. In Psalms 82:0 , the inspired writer is speaking of the position and duties of princes and rulers, whose elevation above other men and consequent responsibility was so great, that compared with them, they might be called “gods.” If then no fault is found with them, who receive this honor by grace, how can He deserve blame who possesses this honor by nature? “Sanctified” (John 10:34 ) means “set apart,” and the verse teaches the eternal generation of Christ. The Jews did not understand Christ to claim to be “god” in the sense of Psalms 82:0 or they would not have threatened to stone Him; but God in the sense of Deity, and hence Christ’s acceptance of that claim, as in chapter 5, is an assertion of that fact on His part.


We now come to chapter 11, where we find Jesus in Bethany. Here occurs the raising of Lazarus. In the synoptics we read of the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the son of the widow of Nain. In the first case death had just ensued, and in the second but a single day had intervened. Here, however, Lazarus had been four days dead. Of course, with God it is no harder to restore life in the one case than in either of the others, and yet all must be impressed with the gradation of difficulty illustrated in the three, and that the most difficult, humanly speaking, should be recorded only in John’s Gospel. This, like so many other features, shows the purpose of this gospel to set forth Jesus in the highest aspect of all, that of the Son of God the Son of God giving life to the world. What a wonderful declaration that in John 11:25 !

Speaking of this miracle in general terms, Bishop Ryle makes three good points: (1) it was intended to supply the Jews with one more incontrovertible proof that Jesus was the Messiah (compare again their question in John 10:24 ), (2) it was meant to prepare their minds for our Lord’s own resurrection. They could not say when the tomb of Jesus was found empty, that His resurrection was an impossibility; and (3) it is the most credible of all our Lord’s miracles, and supported by the most incontrovertible proof.


1. When did the Feast of Dedication take place?

2. Explain John 10:30 .

3. Explain John 10:33-36 .

4. With what circumstances are we impressed in comparing the raising

of Lazarus with the other two restorations to life?

5. Quote from memory John 11:25-26 .

6. What three good points on this miracle are made by Bishop Ryle?

Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on John 10". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jgc/john-10.html. 1897-1910.
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