John Chapter 10


The parable of the good shepherd. (Verse 1-5.)

Christ the Door. (Verse 6-9.)

Christ the good Shepherd. (Verse 10-18.)

The Jews’ opinion concerning Jesus. (Verse 19-21.)

His discourse at the feast of dedication. (Verse 22-30.)

The Jews attempt to stone Jesus. (Verse 31-38.)

He departs from Jerusalem. (Verse 39-42.)

1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

a “sheepfold” was a sheep enclosure, usually consisting of a rock wall with a doorway, across which the shepherd slept at night.

2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

a “parable” is an earthly story with some hidden, spiritual meaning.  Jesus accomplished two things when he spoke to the people in parables:  those who believed in him learned new spiritual truths while those who did not believe and had rejected him had what little bit of spiritual knowledge they possessed taken away – or as Matthew 13:10-13 says, “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”

7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

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.

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

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.

in the context of the parable, the shepherd is the one who not only cares for the sheep, but owns the sheep.  The hireling is merely the “hired help” who watches the sheep to earn a paycheque.

13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

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

[Matt 11:27, John 1:18, 6:46]

16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

one of the things the student of the word of God is commanded to do in II Timothy 2:15 is to “rightly divide the word of truth.”  One of these very clear divisions has to do with people.  I Corinthians 10:32 lists the three major “people groups” in the Bible when it says, “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:”  In the Old Testament God only dealt with the Jews (the nation of Israel).  The Gentiles (non-Jews) virtually had to become Jews if they were to worship God properly and gain his favour.  After Christ died on the cross for the whole world (John 3:16) and the Jewish people for the most part rejected Jesus, the Lord turned his attention to the Gentiles.  Jesus Christ decreed that a new body of people would be formed where the distinction between Jew and Gentile would not exist – this entity is called “the church” or “the body of Christ.”

Throughout the Old Testament God often refers to his chosen people, the Jews, as his sheep and himself as the shepherd.  Psalm 23:1 is a very famous verse which says, “The Lord is my shepherd….”  Here in John ten, Jesus has been speaking about his sheep.  In verse 16 he says that he has “other sheep…not of this fold.”  This can only be a reference to the Gentiles.  Jesus says that many of these “other sheep” will hear his voice with the result of there eventually being “one fold.”  The book of Acts quite plainly shows that many Gentiles did indeed believe in Christ, and the church was formed where the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers formed “one fold.”

Just who the other sheep are that Jesus spoke about her has been a debate for 2,000 years. Jehovah’s Witnesses say it is them, the Mormons say it is them, just about any new group wants to claim this verse for themselves so as to establish some legitimacy for their movement.

What other fold was there at the time that Jesus spoke? There were the disciples of John the Baptist and that is about it and he was pointing his disciples to Jesus, but was John the Baptist even alive at the time Jesus made this statement?

No he wasn’t but Jesus could be speaking of his disciples that were spread out around Israel and the surrounding nations.

I believe the other sheep are the disciples of John, but I also believe Jesus was referring to the tribulation saints that he will appear to at the end of the tribulation period before leading them into their kingdom.

17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

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

20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?

21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.

23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.

Solomon’s porch was the very front portion of the temple building in Jerusalem.

24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

“I give unto them eternal life.”  Salvation is a FREE GIFT given to the one who repents and believes in Jesus Christ.  It can not be bought or earned.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Look at Romans 6:23!

–  when a person is saved, they are always saved!  Salvation can not be lost by the believer – he is eternally secure in his salvation as NO MAN can pluck the believer out of the Father’s hand.

29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

30 I and my Father are one.

31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

[Psa 82:6]

35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

[st Cor 8:5]

36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.

38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Whenever Christ’s “Godhood” was challenged by the people, Jesus always appealed to his works.  The reasoning was simple:  hundreds of miracles have been done without one failure – only God could do this, therefore I [Jesus] must actually be God.

because the Jews were expecting something spectacular to happen when the Messiah appeared, many of them refused to believe that Jesus could be God because of his simple approach.  Many rejected what he had to say before they even considered what he was really saying.  They immediately accused him of blasphemy when he claimed to be “God” without giving him a fair hearing.  Therefore in vs. 34-35 Jesus makes a comparison with other Old Testament prophets who were called “gods” by the pagans of their day.  Men like Moses (Exodus 7:1) and Daniel (Dan. 4:9) were called “gods” because of the special powers that Almighty God had given them.  In verse 34 Jesus refers back to Psalm 82:6 which says, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.”  This verse in Psalms refers to human judges who must decide civil court cases.  Jesus makes these comparisons to show the people that they do indeed refer to different humans as “gods” without thinking it blasphemy.  Why should they be hypocrites and accuse him of blasphemy when he uses this same term while refusing to listen to the evidence he backs his claims up with?

39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,

[Matt 12:14, Mark 3:6, Luke 6:11, John 5:18, John 11:53]

40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.

[Matt 19:1, Mark 10:1]

41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.

42 And many believed on him there

Don’t fall into the same snare as the liberal does when they get to this passage and those that are similar, Jesus claimed to be God Son and therefore God himself.

You can’t be God’s Son and not be divine. So many will say Jesus was the son of God just as we all are God’s children. They will say he was a great teacher who never claimed to be God.

He could have cleared that up here, but he chose not to but to actually argue in defense of the fact that he was indeed who he said he was.

   Someone who is not God in human flesh cannot give unto his followers eternal life, that is reserved for God and God alone. If perchance you meet a liberal minister who doesn’t believe in the deity of Christ kindly tell him to get a real job, you will be doing the world and him a real favour.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Verse 1-5 – Here is a parable or similitude, taken from the customs of the East, in the management of sheep. Men, as creatures depending on their Creator, are called the sheep of his pasture. The church of God in the world is as a sheep-fold, exposed to deceivers and persecutors. The great Shepherd of the sheep knows all that are his, guards them by his providence, guides them by his Spirit and word, and goes before them, as the Eastern shepherds went before their sheep, to set them in the way of his steps. Ministers must serve the sheep in their spiritual concerns. The Spirit of Christ will set before them an open door. The sheep of Christ will observe their Shepherd, and be cautious and shy of strangers, who would draw them from faith in him to fancies about him.

Verse 6-9 – Many who hear the word of Christ, do not understand it, because they will not. But we shall find one scripture expounding another, and the blessed Spirit making known the blessed Jesus. Christ is the Door. And what greater security has the church of God than that the Lord Jesus is between it and all its enemies? He is a door open for passage and communication. Here are plain directions how to come into the fold; we must come in by Jesus Christ as the Door. By faith in him as the great Mediator between God and man. Also, we have precious promises to those that observe this direction. Christ has all that care of his church, and every believer, which a good shepherd has of his flock; and he expects the church, and every believer, to wait on him, and to keep in his pasture.

Verse 10-18 – Christ is a good Shepherd; many who were not thieves, yet were careless in their duty, and by their neglect the flock was much hurt. Bad principles are the root of bad practices. The Lord Jesus knows whom he has chosen, and is sure of them; they also know whom they have trusted, and are sure of Him. See here the grace of Christ; since none could demand his life of him, he laid it down of himself for our redemption. He offered himself to be the Saviour; Lo, I come. And the necessity of our case calling for it, he offered himself for the Sacrifice. He was both the offerer and the offering, so that his laying down his life was his offering up himself. From hence it is plain, that he died in the place and stead of men; to obtain their being set free from the punishment of sin, to obtain the pardon of their sin; and that his death should obtain that pardon. Our Lord laid not his life down for his doctrine, but for his sheep.

Verse 19-21 – Satan ruins many, by putting them out of conceit with the word and ordinances. Men would not be laughed out of their necessary food, yet suffer themselves thus to be laughed out of what is far more necessary. If our zeal and earnestness in the cause of Christ, especially in the blessed work of bringing his sheep into his fold, bring upon us evil names, let us not heed it, but remember our Master was thus reproached before us.

Verse 22-30 – All who have any thing to say to Christ, may find him in the temple. Christ would make us to believe; we make ourselves doubt. The Jews understood his meaning, but could not form his words into a full charge against him. He described the gracious disposition and happy state of his sheep; they heard and believed his word, followed him as his faithful disciples, and none of them should perish; for the Son and the Father were one. Thus he was able to defend his sheep against all their enemies, which proves that he claimed Divine power and perfection equally with the Father.

Verse 31-38 – Christ’s works of power and mercy proclaim him to be over all, God blessed for evermore, that all may know and believe He is in the Father, and the Father in Him. Whom the Father sends, he sanctifies. The holy God will reward, and therefore will employ, none but such as he makes holy. The Father was in the Son, so that by Divine power he wrought his miracles; the Son was so in the Father, that he knew the whole of His mind. This we cannot by searching find out to perfection, but we may know and believe these declarations of Christ.

Verse 39-42 – No weapon formed against our Lord Jesus shall prosper. He escaped, not because he was afraid to suffer, but because his hour was not come. And He who knew how to deliver himself, knows how to deliver the godly our of their temptations, and to make a way for them to escape. Persecutors may drive Christ and his gospel our of their own city or country, but they cannot drive him or it out of the world. When we know Christ by faith in our hearts, we find all that the Scripture saith of him is true