John Chapter Ten
In chapter 10 He contrasts Himself with all those who pretended, or had pretended, to be shepherds of Israel. He develops these three points; He comes in by the door; He is the door; and He is the Shepherd of the sheep-the good Shepherd.
He comes in by the door. That is to say, He submits to all the conditions established by Him who built the house. Christ answers to all that is written of the Messiah, and takes the path of God's will in presenting Himself to the people. It is not human energy and power awakening and attracting the passions of men; but the obedient man who bowed to Jehovah's will, kept the lowly place of a servant, and lived by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God, bowed in lowliness to the place in which Jehovah's judgment had placed and viewed Israel. All the Lord's quotations in His conflict with Satan are from Deuteronomy. Consequently He who watches over the sheep, Jehovah, acting in Israel by His Spirit and providence, and arranging all things, gives Him access to the sheep in spite of the Pharisees and priests and so many others. The elect of Israel hear His voice. Now Israel was under condemnation: He therefore brings the sheep out, but He goes before them. He leaves that ancient fold, under reproach doubtless, but going before His sheep, in obedience according to the power of God-a security to every one who believed in Him that it was the right road, a warrant for their following Him, come what might, meeting every danger and shewing them the way.
The sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. There are many other voices, but the sheep do not know them. Their safety consists, not in knowing them all, but in knowing that they are not the one voice which is life to them-the voice of Jesus. All the rest are the voices of strangers.
He is the door for the sheep. He is their authority for going out, their means of entering in. By entering in, they are saved. They go in and out. It is no longer the yoke of ordinances, which, in guarding them from those without, put them in prison. The sheep of Christ are free: their safety is in the personal care of the Shepherd; and in this liberty they feed in the good and fat pastures which His love supplies. In a word, it is no longer Judaism; it is salvation, and liberty, and food. The thief comes to make his profit on the sheep by killing them. Christ is come that they might have life, and that abundantly; that is, according to the power of this life in Jesus, the Son of God, who would soon have this life (whose power was in His Person) in resurrection beyond death.
The true Shepherd of Israel-at least of the remnant of the sheep-the door to authorise their coming out of the Jewish fold, and to admit them into the privileges of God by giving them life according to the abundance in which He was able to bestow it-He was also in special connection with the sheep thus set apart, the good Shepherd who thus gave His life for the sheep. Others would think of themselves, He of His sheep. He knew them, and they knew Him, even as the Father knew Him, and He knew the Father. Precious principle! They could have understood an earthly knowledge and interest on the part of the Messiah on earth with regard to His sheep. But the Son, although He had given His life and was in heaven, knows His own, even as the Father knew Him when He was on the earth.
Thus He laid down His life for the sheep; and He had other sheep who were not of this fold, and His death intervened for the salvation of these poor Gentiles. He would call them. Doubtless He had given His life for the Jews also-for all the sheep in general, as such (v. 11). But He does not speak distinctly of the Gentiles until after He has spoken of His death. He would bring them also, and there should be but one flock (not "one fold," there is no fold now) and one Shepherd.
Now this doctrine teaches the rejection of Israel, and the calling out of the elect among that people, presents the death of Jesus as being the effect of His love for His own, tells of His divine knowledge of His sheep when He shall be away from them, and of the call of the Gentiles. The importance of such instruction at that moment is obvious. Its importance, thank God! is not lost by the lapse of time, and is not limited to the fact of a change of dispensation. It introduces us into the substantial realities of the grace connected with the Person of Christ. But the death of Christ was more than love for His sheep. It had an intrinsic value in the Father's eyes. "Therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again." He does not say here for His sheep-it is the thing itself that is well-pleasing to the Father. We love because God has first loved us, but Jesus, the divine Son, can furnish motives for the Father's love. In laying down His life, He glorified the Father. Death was owned to be the just penalty for sin (being at the same time annulled and he who had the power of it, 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 2:14), and eternal life brought in as the fruit of redemption-life from God. Here also the rights of the Person of Christ are set forth. No man takes His life from Him: He lays it down Himself. He had this power (possessed by no other, true only of Him who had divine right) to lay it down, and power to take it again. Nevertheless, even in this, He did not depart from the path of obedience. He had received this commandment from His Father. But who would have been able to perform it save He who could say, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it again"?  They discuss what He had been saying. There were some who only saw in Him a man beside himself, and who insulted Him. Others, moved by the power of the miracle He had performed, felt that His words had a different character from that of madness. To a certain point their consciences were reached. The Jews surround Him, and ask how long He would keep them in suspense. Jesus answers that He had already told them; and that His works bore Him testimony. He appeals to the two testimonies which we have seen brought forward in the previous chapter (8 and 9); namely, His word and His works. But He adds, they were not of His sheep. He then takes occasion, without noticing their prejudices, to add some precious truths respecting His sheep. They hear His voice; He knows them; they follow Him; He gives them eternal life; they shall never perish. On the one hand, there shall be no perishing of life as within; on the other, no one shall pluck them out of the Saviour's hand-force from without shall not overcome the power of Him who keeps them. But there is another and an infinitely precious truth which the Lord in His love reveals to us. The Father had given us to Jesus, and He is greater than all who would seek to pluck us out of His hand. And Jesus and the Father are one. Precious teaching! in which the glory of the Person of the Son of God is identified with the safety of His sheep, with the height and depth of the love of which they are the objects. Here it is not a testimony which, as altogether divine, sets forth what man is. It is the work and the efficacious love of the Son, and at the same time that of the Father. It is not "I am"; but "I and the Father are one." If the Son has accomplished the work, and takes care of the sheep, it was the Father who gave them to Him. The Christ may perform a divine work, and furnish a motive for the Father's love, but it was the Father who gave it Him to do. Their love to the sheep is one, as those who bear that love are one.
Chapter 8, therefore, is the manifestation of God in testimony, and as light; chapters 9 and 10, the efficacious grace which gathers the sheep under the care of the Son, and of the Father's love. John speaks of God when he speaks of a holy nature, and man's responsibility-of the Father and the Son, when he speaks of grace in connection with the people of God.
Observe, that the wolf may come and catch  the sheep, if the shepherds are hirelings; but he cannot catch* them out of the Saviour's hands.
At the end of the chapter, the Jews having taken up stones to stone Him, because He made Himself equal with God, the Lord does not seek to prove to them the truth of what He is, but shews that, according to their own principles and the testimony of the scriptures, they were wrong in this case. He appeals again to His own words and works, as proving that He was in the Father and the Father in Him. Again they take up stones, and Jesus definitely leaves them. It was all over with Israel.
 Love and obedience are the governing principles of divine life. This is unfolded in the First Epistle of John as to ourselves. Another mark of it in the creature is dependence, and this was fully manifested in Jesus as man.
 The words catcheth and pluck in verses 12, 28 and 29 are the same in the original.
── John Darby《Synopsis of John》
The parable of the good shepherd. (1-5) Christ the Door. (6-9) Christ the good Shepherd. (10-18) The Jews' opinion concerning Jesus. (19-21) His discourse at the feast of dedication. (22-30) The Jews attempt to stone Jesus. (31-38) He departs from Jerusalem. (39-42)
Commentary on John 10:1-5
(Read John 10:1-5)
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.
Commentary on John 10:6-9
(Read John 10:6-9)
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.
Commentary on John 10:10-18
(Read John 10:10-18)
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.
Commentary on John 10:19-21
(Read John 10:19-21)
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.
Commentary on John 10:22-30
(Read John 10:22-30)
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.
Commentary on John 10:31-38
(Read John 10:31-38)
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.
Commentary on John 10:39-42
(Read John 10:39-42)
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.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on John》
 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
To him the door keeper openeth — Christ is considered as the shepherd, John 10:11. As the door in the first and following verses. And as it is not unworthy of Christ to be styled the door, by which both the sheep and the true pastor enter, so neither is it unworthy of God the Father to be styled the door keeper. See Acts 14:27; Colossians 4:3; Revelation 3:8; Acts 16:14.
And the sheep hear his voice — The circumstances that follow, exactly agree with the customs of the ancient eastern shepherds. They called their sheep by name, went before them and the sheep followed them. So real Christians hear, listen to, understand, and obey the voice of the shepherd whom Christ hath sent. And he counteth them his own, dearer than any friend or brother: calleth, advises, directs each by name, and leadeth them out, in the paths of righteousness, beside the waters of comfort.
 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
He goeth before them — In all the ways of God, teaching them in every point, by example as well as by precept; and the sheep follow him - They tread in his steps: for they know his voice - Having the witness in themselves that his words are the wisdom and the power of God. Reader, art thou a shepherd of souls? Then answer to God. Is it thus with thee and thy flock?
 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
They will not follow a stranger — One whom Christ hath not sent, who doth not answer the preceding description. Him they will not follow - And who can constrain them to it? But will flee from him - As from the plague.
For they know not the voice of strangers — They cannot relish it; it is harsh and grating to them. They find nothing of God therein.
 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
They — The Pharisees, to whom our Lord more immediately spake, as appears from the close of the foregoing chapter.
 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
I am the door — Christ is both the Door and the Shepherd, and all things.
 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
Whosoever are come — Independently of me, assuming any part of my character, pretending, like your elders and rabbis, to a power over the consciences of men, attempting to make laws in the Church, and to teach their own traditions as the way of salvation: all those prophets and expounders of God's word, that enter not by the door of the sheepfold, but run before I have sent them by my Spirit. Our Lord seems in particular to speak of those that had undertaken this office since he began his ministry, are thieves - Stealing temporal profit to themselves, and robbers - Plundering and murdering the sheep.
 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
If any one — As a sheep, enter in by me - Through faith, he shall be safe - From the wolf, and from those murdering shepherds.
And shall go in and out — Shall continually attend on the shepherds whom I have sent; and shall find pasture - Food for his soul in all circumstances.
 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.
The thief cometh not but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy — That is, nothing else can be the consequence of a shepherd's coming, who does not enter in by me.
 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.
But the hireling — It is not the bare receiving hire, which denominates a man a hireling: (for the labourer is worthy of his hire; Jesus Christ himself being the Judge: yea, and the Lord hath ordained, that they who preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel:) but the loving hire: the loving the hire more than the work: the working for the sake of the hire. He is a hireling, who would not work, were it not for the hire; to whom this is the great (if not only) motive of working. O God! If a man who works only for hire is such a wretch, a mere thief and a robber, what is he who continually takes the hire, and yet does not work at all? The wolf - signifies any enemy who, by force or fraud, attacks the Christian's faith, liberty, or life.
So the wolf seizeth and scattereth the flock — He seizeth some, and scattereth the rest; the two ways of hurting the flock of Christ.
 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
The hireling fleeth because he is a hireling — Because he loves the hire, not the sheep.
 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
I know my sheep — With a tender regard and special care: and am known of mine - With a holy confidence and affection.
 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father — With such a knowledge as implies an inexpressible union: and I lay down my life - Speaking of the present time. For his whole life was only a going unto death.
 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.
I have also other sheep — Which he foreknew; which are not of this fold - Not of the Jewish Church or nation, but Gentiles.
I must bring them likewise — Into my Church, the general assembly of those whose names are written in heaven.
And there shall be one flock — (Not one fold, a plain false print) no corrupt or divided flocks remaining.
And one shepherd — Who laid down his life for the sheep, and will leave no hireling among them. The unity both of the flock and the shepherd shall he completed in its season. The shepherd shall bring all into one flock: and the whole flock shall hear the one shepherd.
 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
I lay down my life that I may take it again — I cheerfully die to expiate the sins of men, to the end I may rise again for their justification.
 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.
I lay it down of myself — By my own free act and deed.
I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again — I have an original power and right of myself, both to lay it down as a ransom, and to take it again, after full satisfaction is made, for the sins of the whole world.
This commission have I received of my Father — Which I readily execute. He chiefly spoke of the Father, before his suffering: of his own glory, after it. Our Lord's receiving this commission as mediator is not to be considered as the ground of his power to lay down and resume his life. For this he had in him self, as having an original right to dispose thereof, antecedent to the Father's commission. But this commission was the reason why he thus used his power in laying down his life. He did it in obedience to his Father.
 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
These are not the words — The word in the original takes in actions too.
 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
It was the feast of the dedication — Instituted by Judas Maccabeus, 1 Macc. iv, 59, when he purged and dedicated the altar and temple after they had been polluted. So our Lord observed festivals even of human appointment. Is it not, at least, innocent for us to do the same?
 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.
In Solomon's portico — Josephus informs us, that when Solomon built the temple, he filled up a part of the adjacent valley, and built a portico over it toward the east. This was a noble structure, supported by a wall four hundred cubits high: and continued even to the time of Albinus and Agrippa, which was several years after the death of Christ.
 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
Ye do not believe, because ye are not of my sheep — Because ye do not, will not follow me: because ye are proud, unholy, lovers of praise, lovers of the world, lovers of pleasure, not of God. 27, 28, 29. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, etc.-Our Lord still alludes to the discourse he had before this festival. As if he had said, My sheep are they who, 1. Hear my voice by faith; 2. Are known (that is, approved) by me, as loving me; and 3. Follow me, keep my commandments, with a believing, loving heart. And to those who, 1. Truly believe (observe three promises annexed to three conditions) I give eternal life. He does not say, I will, but I give. For he that believeth hath everlasting life. Those whom, 2. I know truly to love me, shall never perish, provided they abide in my love. 3. Those who follow me, neither men nor devils can pluck out of my hand. My Father who hath, by an unchangeable decree, given me all that believe, love, and obey, is greater than all in heaven or earth, and none is able to pluck them out of his hand.
 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
See note ... "Joh 10:27"
 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
See note ... "Joh 10:27"
 I and my Father are one.
I and the Father are one — Not by consent of will only, but by unity of power, and consequently of nature.
Are — This word confutes Sabellius, proving the plurality of persons: one - This word confutes Arius, proving the unity of nature in God. Never did any prophet before, from the beginning of the world, use any one expression of himself, which could possibly be so interpreted as this and other expressions were, by all that heard our Lord speak. Therefore if he was not God he must have been the vilest of men.
 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
If he (God) called them gods unto whom the word of God came, (that is, to whom God was then speaking,) and the Scripture cannot be broken - That is, nothing which is written therein can be censured or rejected.
 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?
Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world — This sanctification (whereby he is essentially the Holy One of God) is mentioned as prior to his mission, and together with it implies, Christ was God in the highest sense, infinitely superior to that wherein those judges were so called.
 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.
That ye may know and believe — In some a more exact knowledge precedes, in others it follows faith. I am in the Father and the Father in me.
I and the Father are one — These two sentences illustrate each other.
 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
To the desert place where John baptized, and gave so honourable a testimony of him.
 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
John did no miracle — An honour reserved for him, whose forerunner he was.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on John》
During World War I, some Turkish soldiers tried to
steal a flock of sheep from a hillside near
Chapter 10. The Good Shepherd Gives Life
A Hireling Flees
I. Jesus the Gate of the Sheep
II. Jesus the Good Shepherd
III. Responses of the Jews
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》