Scripture (John 10:1-42)
Jesus said, "I Am the Good Shepherd!"
Verse 1: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber."
Sheep were kept inside a pen (sheepfold), on cold winter nights. The pen usually had a stone wall, which might have briers on top of it.
The Jewish law distinguished between thieves and robbers. Thieves were ones who broke in to steal; robbers often lived in the wilderness and would assault and rob passersby. Shepherds had to continually guard against both.
Verses 2-4: "But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice."
In the Old Testament, the Spirit was not yet given; so the way Israel heard God's voice was by reading Scripture, and hearing from God through the Prophets.
The gift of, "the cross of Jesus" included the gift of hearing from God through the Holy Spirit, something Judaism in that day did not consider possible.
It was customary for shepherds to call their sheep by name. In the Old Testament, God called His special people by name. (EX 33:12)
Verse 5: "A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."
The stranger would be the thief or robber, (the Pharisees who had sought to mislead the sheep). (John 9:40-45).
Verses 6-9: "This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture."
As we have seen in our previous studies, these spiritually blind people did not understand what Jesus was saying.
Shepherds often sleep across the gateway, to serve as both, shepherd, and door.
"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved..."
Here, looking beyond our earthly life, Jesus is saying that He is the way to be saved from hell and to enter into heaven.
Verses 10-11: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
Relating to unfaithful leaders, the thief acts for his own good, not that of the flock. A thief might actually steal a sheep for food; A shepherd will risk his life to protect the sheep.
The Pharisees and Aristocrats despised shepherds, and considered them to be members of an unclean profession, (vulgar, lower-class workers).
Thieves and Robbers:; Satan exemplifies the worst of worst. He is a thief, murderer, and destroyer. He is behind every theft committed and every murder, beginning with the murder of Able. He is the destroyer of all he can destroy.
In the other extreme, God sent His Son Jesus to lay down His life, that all who believe in Him would have abundant life.
Verse 12-13: "He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep."
A "hired hand" was not a shepherd, and was not responsible for protecting the sheep from wild animals. They worked for pay, not because the sheep belonged to them.
Religious leaders who allowed God's sheep to be scattered were not God's true representatives, nor were they concerned, with what concerns Him,
Verse 14: "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep."
Jesus, the Good Shepard, gave His life for all who would accepted Him as their Savior, He knows them personally, and they know Him.
Knowing God, in the Old Testament, meant having an intimate and obedient relationship with Him,
Verses 16: "And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd."
There are some who believe this Scripture is referring to, a regathering of the Children of Israel who had become scattered among the nations, (Ezek 37:21-24).
This we know for certain: Jesus died for the entire world; and the blood of Jesus can save all who believe.
Verse 17-18: "For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father."
That Jesus had complete control over His death on the cross, is very clear. He plainly says, "I lay down my life that I may take it up again," and "no one takes it from me."
The Father had given Jesus the ability and authority to lay down His life, and to take it up again.
Jesus' death and resurrection was a part of "God the Father's" plan for the salvation of the world, and He had given Jesus full control.
God had sent Jesus, but He had not been forced, He had the right and power to refuse.
It is amazing how God never forces anyone to come to Him, or even to obey. We have the ability/power to either accept or refuse His offer of salvation; to obey or disobey His commands.
Verse 19-21: "There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20Many of them said, "He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?" 21Others said, "These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"
There was a division among the Jews:
Some who did not recognize Jesus as the "Son of God," attempted to gain control by labeling Him as insane, or demon possessed.
Others who realized Jesus was not talking like a demon-possessed person asked, "Could a demon open the eyes of the blind?"
I and the Father Are One
Verse 22: "At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter,"
The "Feast of Dedication," sometimes known better as "Hanukkah," is also called the "Dedication of the Altar," and "Feast of Lights."
A few years prior to 165 BC, the Jewish people lost control of the Temple in Jerusalem. They were forced to abandon their worship of God, their holy customs, and the reading of the Torah.
They were also forced to bow down to the Greek gods. The enemy had even defiled the alter by sacrificing a pig, then spilling its blood on the Holy Scrolls of Scripture.
A group of Jewish religious freedom fighters were organized, and, after three years of fierce battle, achieved a miraculous victory and regained the Temple.
The temple was cleansed and cleared of all Greek idolatry, and on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, (KISS-lehv) it was rededicated to the lord.
And this was the, "Feast of Dedication" a joyous and popular festival celebrating the purification of the temple. However, unlike some of the other feasts, the men were not required to attend. It is celebrated during the Hebrew month of Kislev, which falls in November or December, and lasts eight days.
This festival was attended by Jesus in this account, and is still observed by the Jews.
So Jesus was attending the "Feast of Dedication," and in -
Verses 23-24: "and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon."
The outer part of the temple had porches on all four sides. Solomon's porch, or colonnade, was on the east side and had two rows of pillars. It was called Solomon's porch because the people thought a part of the original temple was in that area.
Verse 24: So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
The Jews, actually (rulers of the Jews), remained spiritually blind, unable to grasp Jesus' purpose or true identity. They were watching to see if Jesus would make a statement, or claim, that would allow them to have Him arrested.
And in -
Verse 25-26: "Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock."
Jesus had told them repeatedly who He was, and had provided witnesses. In our study of the "Fourfold witnesses," there was God Himself, John the Baptist, Scripture, and the very works, or miracles of Jesus; and still they did not believe.
Jesus said, they were not a part of His flock, and had previously told them their father was the devil, (John 8:44).
Verse 27: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."
As in verses three and four, The good Shepherd, calls his own sheep by name, and His sheep know His voice and follow His leading.
Verse 28:-29: "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand."
There is no way any demon or satanic force can separate Born Again Belivers from Jesus, or cause them to miss out on eternal life; nor is there any power that can snatch them out of the Father's hand.
Sheep are practically defenseless. They are not very intelligent, and just and just about any kind of animal can catch them.
A shepherd had to protect his flock from predators, such as lions, (as David did), wolves, and many other animals that might snatch them away.
Verse 30: "I and the Father are one."
This is the clearest statement Jesus' had ever mad regarding His divinity. Although the Jews understood, they did not believe; nevertheless, His claim to be God was unmistakable.
This statement, "I and the Father are one," is often taken out of context and misunderstood. Some believe that Jesus and God are literally the same entity.
If that is so, then whose voice was it that spoke audibly from Heaven during Jesus' Baptism and said, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." (Luke 3:21-22)
And what did Stephen's statement mean when he was being stoned for his faith in Christ:
"But he,full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God," (Acts 7:55-56).
And there are many other examples. For me, there are three Entities, (often referred to as, "The Trinity)," consisting of, "God the Father," "God the Son," and "God the Holy Spirit," all separate entities, and yet one, as an egg is one, (the shell, the yolk, and the egg white), so is God.
Verse 31: "The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?" 33The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God."
The works of Jesus, (His miracles) were used as witnesses to prove He was of God. Jesus asked the Jews, which one of these works, signs, or miracles from God are you going to stone me for? Once again, they attempted to stone Him, and once again, God does not allow Jesus to be taken before His appointed time.
They were attempting to stone Jesus for blasphemy, when in fact, they were the ones guilty of blasphemy; because they had rejected Jesus, the "Son of God" and long awaited "Messiah."
Verse 34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I said, you are gods'?"
This is a somewhat confusing statement. Many scholars believe Jesus was referring to the Scripture found in Psalm 82:6, "I said, Ye are gods, And all of you sons of the Most High."
It mentions powerful people that were thought to be a part of God's divine Council. But as we know, God does not need the advice or counsel of man.
Jesus knew this Scripture had been taken out of context by the Jews, andwere perhaps placing themselves on a higher plane than they deserved.
Verses 35-36: "If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—"
Scripture is totally True, and cannot be broken.
Here again, Jesus used Scripture as a witness, and to paraphrase: Scripture cannot be broken, and Scripture is my witness, so it is you who are blaspheming. Scripture testified of me. How can you object to my saying, "I am the Son of God," if you believe the Scriptures.
Verse 37 "If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me;"
The works, or miracles spoke for themselves. It was, as the blind man said in our last study, "only God can do these things." I believe this is something anyone would instinctively know.
Verse 38: "but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
Jesus was saying: Even if you don't believe my Words you surely recognize the works (miracles) I have done could only have been done by the power of God; how is it so difficult for you to believe that I am who I say that I am.
However, in the next verse:
Verse 39: "Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands."
They were not able to arrest and kill Jesus simply because it was not God's appointed time, (it was not yet the "Passover.)"
Because Jesus was to be God's "Passover Lamb," this Passover would be different than any they had ever know.
This Passover Lamb would not only be for the Jewish nation, but for the entire world, (John 3:16).
For Jesus to be the Passover Lamb would require the crucifixion of Jesus to occur on, "Passover," which it did. God was in control, and He wold not allow it to happen at any other time.
Doesn't this give you chills to know this happened exactly on time, and prophecy was fulfilled from as early as the book of Genesis, when God, speaking to Satan, said,
"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
In this Scripture, speaking of Jesus, God said, "He will crush your head" indicating a death blow to Satan from Jesus, and speaking to Satan "you will strike his heel," indicating that Satan would hurt Jesus, which he did by having him crucified.
Satan thought he had won, but instead was caught in his own trap.
Verse 40: "He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained."
This is the place where, in our previous study of John chapter three, Jesus' and John the Baptist's disciples had been baptizing.
Verse 41: "And many came to him. And they said, "John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true."
Here we can see the effectiveness of John the Baptist's testimony for Jesus. Many came to Him, because everything John had said about Him was true.
That can also be an encouragement for us. Although we may witness and testify to people who do not accept Jesus as their Savior, the Holy Spirit may at a later time introduce them to God's plan of salvation through someone else. Perhaps your testimony, along with the witness of this other person, will help them make the decision to become a Christian.
It is important to remember, that when we are speaking God's Words, they are "His Words," and according to Isaiah 55:11, "Will not return void, but will accomplish their purpose."
Verse 42: "And many believed in him there."
John only says "many believed." The persistence of Jesus the Good Shepherd, paid off, and isn't that a good lesson for us!
This concludes our study of, "Jesus, the Good Shepherd."
In Our next study,
"Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead"