The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!
John 10 continues the words Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in John 9:40-41. He does it so we can discern the Good Shepherd from false shepherds (ones who are like the Jewish elite). His obedience to the Father and their disobedience is again emphasized. And Jesus, as always, is the winner when they debate with Him.
Verses 1-2 — Truly, truly. It is another very important truth from the Lord. There were thieves (stealers) and robbers (plunderers) among God’s flock. They climbed over the fences of the sheep pens that protected the sheep. They refused to use the door because they wanted to steal and rob without being discovered.
IMPORTANT POINT: Just as this was true of the Jewish elite, it is true today. There are thieves and robbers among the Lord’s flock. I will say more about this later in this commentary.
But the one who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. He cares for the sheep, he knows the sheep. He is not trying to steal and rob. He is there to protect and lead and feed them.
IMPORTANT POINT: True shepherds (pastors) are not interested in material gain. They are there to protect and lead and feed you
Verses 3-4 — And the one guarding the door lets the true shepherd in, because he is not trying to steal and rob.
IMPORTANT POINT: There is a doorkeeper, a guard, at the door to the Lord’s sheep pen. And He will let true shepherds come in. I believe this Doorkeeper is the Holy Spirit.
The shepherd calls his own sheep by name — that’s how it works with shepherds in Israel. The shepherd knows and can identify each sheep individually.
IMPORTANT POINT: If you have repented from your sin and received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, He knows your name, and can identify you.
And the shepherd leads the sheep out of the pen, so he can take them to pastures and water.
IMPORTANT POINT: Rejoice that Jesus Christ is your Shepherd, and He will do just what David says of Him in Psalm 23!
The shepherd has his own flock. Sheep pens, though, can contain many shepherds’ flocks. But the shepherd knows his own flock, AND his flock knows him. It makes no difference that they are mixed in with other sheep.
IMPORTANT POINT: If you repent (turn away from sin) and believe in Jesus Christ, He will know you, and you will know Him.
Verse 5-6 — In the natural, some men have tried to trick sheep into following them by wearing their shepherd’s clothing. But the false shepherd has to call to the flock. And the flock simply won’t follow a stranger. They can tell that it is a stranger’s voice, and not their shepherd’s voice.
IMPORTANT POINT: If you know the Word of God (the Bible) you will know your Shepherd’s voice. And you will not follow the voices of false shepherds who disguised themselves as Jesus in order to lead you astray.
But the disciples could not understand Jesus’ metaphor. They would understand later, after they were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
What do the false shepherds steal and plunder? They steal your money, they steal the truth of God’s Word from you as they twist and pervert it, and they plunder your faith, so when you finally discover what they are doing and leave, you are broken and disillusioned. If only you had opened your Bible, so you knew the voice of the Good Shepherd! You never would have been led astray. Repent and learn His voice!
Verse 7 — Because the disciples didn’t understand, Jesus made the metaphor plain. Truly, truly. This is another especially important truth. Jesus Christ is the Door for the sheep. There is no other legitimate way into the sheep pen.
This is one of the seven I AM statements of the Book of John. The I AM, the always-existing God the Son, is the only means to enter the sheep pen, which is the kingdom of God.
IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus Christ is the door through which you must pass in order to enter the kingdom of God.
Verse 8 — All who came before Jesus Christ were thieves and robbers. Does that mean the prophets, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, were thieves and robbers? No. At the Lord’s command, they called out the leaders, the Jewish elite who were thieves and robbers and told them to repent.
But the sheep did not heed these thieves and robbers. Why? They knew the voice of the Good Shepherd, and would not listen to (heed or obey) the voice of strangers.
Verse 9 — Again, Jesus repeats that He is the Door. By Him and only by Him can you be saved from the wrath of God that you deserve.
Anyone can enter. No one is excluded. And when you do enter, you will go in and out and be fed and led.
Verse 10 — The thief comes to steal (rob), kill (slay, burn) and destroy (fully and continuously, eternal perishing in hell). So Jesus says the intent of these thieves and robbers is the same intent as their father, the devil (John 8:44). He intends to rob you of your faith, slay you, and condemn you to the same hell where he will perish forever.
But Jesus Christ has come that you may have life, and have it abundantly. That is life super-abundantly. That is life as God has it, not the existence which you led before you knew Jesus Christ. That is His life in you.
IMPORTANT POINT: Some false shepherds say that this verse means Jesus Christ came so you can be wealthy in this life. There is no mention of material wealth in this passage. I pray you recognize these false shepherds as the thieves and robbers that they are! I pray you do not heed or obey their words because they do not sound like Jesus.
Verse 11 — Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. This is another I AM statement from the always-existent God the Son. He laid down His life for you on the cross, just as in the natural, a shepherd will risk his own life to fight wild beasts, in order to protect his flock.
IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus Christ laid down His life once, for all of mankind, so that whoever enters through Him is saved, and has the life of Christ in them, abundantly, so it overflows to others.
Verses 12-13— Hired hands are not shepherds. They are false shepherds who are thieves and robbers. They will flee when the wolf (Satan) comes, because they only care about their own lives. They do not care about you. They will leave you defenseless, so Satan comes in, catches you by force, and scatters you.
IMPORTANT POINT: If you do not know the voice of Jesus, and you follow a hired hand, you will be plundered by Satan.
Verse 14-15 — But Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. He knows His sheep personally and individually. and they know Him. They know Him in the same way as the Father knows the Son and the Son knows the Father. It is a deep, intimate, holy kind of knowing. They do not just “know about” Jesus. They know Jesus and the Father intimately and personally. There is a 24/7 connection.
And Jesus Christ repeats that He lays down His life for them. He did!
Verse 16 — The sheep Jesus addresses are Jewish. But He speaks now of other sheep who are not Jewish. He must bring them, too. They will hear His voice just like the Jews who believe in Him. The Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Jesus will be made into one flock, because they believe. And He will be their shepherd.
Verses 17-18 — The Father loves the Son because He lays down His life. He must lay down His life to take it up again. No one is able to take His life away from Him, but He lays it down freely, on His own initiative. The Father has given Him authority to lay it down and take it up again. It is a commandment from the Father. He is an obedient Son.
Verses 19-21 — As always, Jesus’ words cause division among the Jews. Some say He has a demon. Some say that these are not the words of a demon-possessed man. And one who is demon-possessed cannot open the eyes of a man born blind, which was done by Jesus in John 9.
Verse 22-23 — The Feast of the Dedication is called Hanukkah, a celebration of when the Jewish Maccabees regained possession of the Temple in Jerusalem from the Selucids (Syrian-Greeks) in 167 BC.
The feast marks the rededication of the Temple after it was repossessed by the Jews. It was winter. Jesus was walking in the Temple, on Solomon’s portico (porch).
Verses 24-25 — Again the Jewish elite challenge Jesus. They want Him to tell them plainly that He is the Christ. He said He did tell them, and they do not believe, event though the works He did were from the Father and done according to His name and character, for His glory.
IMPORTANT POINT: It is the same today. Many still challenge Jesus and ask Him to prove He is God the Son, even though He is still working His works through His church.
Verses 26-27 — Why do they not believe? Because they are not of His sheep. How does Jesus know that they are not of His sheep? They do not hear His voice. They do not know Him. They do not follow Him.
IMPORTANT POINT: Those who do not believe are not His sheep. They will only become His sheep if they turn from their sin and come to Him.
Verses 28-29 — He gives eternal life to His flock. They will never eternally perish with Satan, but will experience His eternal life filling them here and now, and will live eternally with God, once their bodies fall away in death.
No one will snatch His flock out of His hand. And no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father has given Jesus Christ His flock. He doesn’t take back when He gives. And the Father is greater than all.
IMPORTANT POINT: After you are saved, you are still able to turn away from the Lord (Hebrews 10:26). He never removes or limits your free will. But no one can steal you from Him. You have to turn away. You have to drift away (Hebrews 2:1, you have to neglect (make light of, be careless about) your salvation (Hebrews 2:3).
Verses 30-31 — Jesus speaks another “blasphemy” to the Jewish elite. He and the Father are one. This “oneness” is unity of nature and essence. They are of the same nature. They are both God — God the Father and God the Son. The Jewish elite pick up stones to stone Him to death, which is the punishment for blasphemy.
Verses 32-33 — Jesus responds to their actions. He has shown them many good works that only the Father could do. Which one are they stoning Him for? The Jews said it wasn’t because of His good works, but because Jesus is just a man, but claims to be God. That is blasphemy.
Verses 34-38— Jesus counters with the Word of God, from Psalm 82:7. Did God not say of His people, “They are gods?” His intent was that the Jews would be like Him. And yet the Lord accused the Jews in that Psalm. They had rebelled against the Lord. So they were not gods at all.
Therefore, Jesus asked why it is such an offense that He says He is the Son of God? He is like God. He does God’s works. If He isn’t doing God’s works, then they can say He is blaspheming. But if He does them, then they should believe that, because of what Jesus does, the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father. They are one. They are of the same essence, the same nature.
Verse 39 — Their response was to seek to seize Him. But He eluded them and went back to the place beyond the Jordan, where John the Baptist first baptized. And He stayed there.
Verse 40-41 — Many came to Him there. They said John the Baptist performed no sign. He was sent to baptize, to make the way in people’s hearts for Jesus to enter. But everything John the Baptist said about Jesus was true. Therefore, many believed in Him there.