The Gospel of John Commentary Chapters 1-11 (by chapter)

John 10 - Jesus, the Good Shepherd

John 10:1-42 - Jesus, the Good Shepherd

v1,2 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 
v3-5 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; 
and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." 

v6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. 

v7 Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the Door of the sheep. v8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. v9 I am the Door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 

v10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. 
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 

v11 "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 
v12,13 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 
v14,15 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 

v16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. 
v17 "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 
v18 No one takes 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 command I have received from My Father." 

v19-21 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. And many of them said, "He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?" Others said, "These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?" 

v22,23 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch. 
v24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, 
"How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." 
v25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. 
The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. 
v26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep as I said to you 

v27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 
v28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 
v29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. 
v30 I and My Father are one." 

v31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 
v32 Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" 
v33 The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You but for blasphemy and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God" 

v34-36 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, "I said, "You are gods"'? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, "You are blaspheming,' because I said, "I am the Son of God'? 

v37,38 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." 

v39-42 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand. And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptising at first, and there He stayed. Then many came to Him and said, "John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true." And many believed in Him there. 

Jesus, the Good Shepherd. 
There are two related sections of this teaching (v1-21 and v22-42), which were spoken at different times, but they both cover the same theme of Jesus' claim to be the Good Shepherd.  
v1-21 were spoken in Jerusalem soon after the Feast of Tabernacles (AD 32).  
v22-42 were spoken a couple of months later in Jerusalem at the Feast of Dedication. 

In John 10, Jesus makes some of His greatest claims of Deity which again result in the Jews trying to stone Him (see v31-33): 
“I am the Door of the sheep” (v7,9), 
“I am the Good Shepherd” (v11,14), 
“I have power to lay ‘my life’ down, and I have power to take it up again (the power to raise Himself from death)” (v18). 
“I and My Father are one” (v30). 

The central theme of this passage is: 
Jesus, our true and good Shepherd. 

To describe His ministry as our Shepherd He used a parable or allegory: “Jesus used this illustration (allegory) but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them” (v6). They should have understood Him because Shepherds and sheep were a major part of life in Israel, and Jesus built on their understanding of what a true shepherd did for his sheep. The relationship between Jesus and His followers is like the Shepherd and His sheep. Church leaders are under shepherds of Jesus, the chief-Shepherd (1Peter 5:2,3, Acts 20:28, John 21:15-19, Ephesians 4:11) 

The life of a shepherd in the Judean hills was hard. The ground was rough and stony. There were no lush fields with protecting walls or fences, as with our farms. He had to constantly watch the flock, for the sheep were bound to wander in their search for grass. The sheep who went astray were in great danger of getting lost, or falling, or getting trapped in a bush. Sheep are vulnerable and defenceless and need a shepherd or they are heading for quick destruction.  A true shepherd knew and loved all his sheep personally and called them all by name, so he knew when one was missing (Luke 15:3). It was a dangerous job, for he had to guard them against wild animals (wolves) and robbers. A true shepherd was willing to lay down his life to protect the sheep (John 10:11). David, as a shepherd boy, killed a lion and a bear, proving himself ready to take on Goliath, as the shepherd of Israel. 

Straying sheep are a picture of men in sin
, walking away from Christ, the Shepherd and the life and salvation (protection, guidance and provision) He offers: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6a). But the good Shepherd (Jesus) goes after each and every one of His lost sheep to call them back, and save them from death and restore them to the fold (His Kingdom), even laying down His life to accomplish this: “and the Lord has laid on Him (Jesus, in His death) the iniquity of us all”(Isaiah 53:6b).  This is taught by the parable of Jesus, the good Shepherd (Luke 15:3-7, Matthew 18:11-14), who lost one sheep and left everything behind to save him and rejoiced when the sinner repented (the sheep was recovered). “You (all) were going astray like sheep; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop (Overseer) of your souls” (1Peter 2:25). In His death Jesus took on and defeated the destroying forces of sin, satan and death (thieves, robbers and wild-beasts) for us. 

A true shepherd lived with his sheep from birth. They knew him and recognised his voice and followed no other. They were trained to only respond to his voice. He would not drive the sheep (no sheepdogs) but lead them going ahead to see if the way was safe. If a stranger called them, they stop and look in alarm and if the call was repeated, they would flee (v5). Sometimes a number of flocks were kept, all mixed together in a communal fold overnight. But they were easily separated when, in the morning, each shepherd would call to his own sheep and they would hear (recognise) his voice and run to him and follow him into the pasture (v3,4). 

God is described as the Shepherd of His people: 
“The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). 
“We are His people and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3). 
See also Psalms 77:20, 79:13, 80:1, 95:7. 

A true Shepherd is a picture of God’s vigilant love, protection and care for us. Likewise, the King of Israel, the Messiah, is also a Shepherd(as the son of David, He is typified by David in this): “He will feed his flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in His bosom, and will gently lead those with young” (Isaiah 40:11). God’s leaders are also called shepherds (like Moses and Aaron). 

Jeremiah and Ezekiel have passages that describe the duties of shepherds, and how the leaders (the shepherds of Israel) have failed to fulfil their responsibilities resulting in the sheep being scattered and lost, and that these bad shepherds will therefore be judged by God (Jeremiah 23:1-3, 50:6, Ezekiel 34:1-10). Then in Jeremiah 23:4-6 and Ezekiel 34:11-16, the Lord declares that He Himself will come to earth to be the Good Shepherd who will save, feed and care for His people. This speaks of the coming of the God-man Messiah as the true and good Shepherd.

Micah 5:2-4 predicted that this Divine Shepherd-Messiah must be born in Bethlehem (fulfilled by Jesus, Matthew 2). Zechariah 13:7predicted this Shepherd’s death (Jesus claimed to fulfil this in Matt 26:31, Mark 14:27). 

Psalms 22 and 23 are also a detailed prophecy of this Good Shepherd-Messiah: 
(1) Psalm 22 describes in detail His laying His life for us and then His rising from the dead. 
(2) Psalm 23 describes the resurrected Lord in His present-day ministry of leading His people into an abundant, whole life in fellowship with Him. 

Hebrews 13:20,21 points to Jesus Christ as the true fulfilment of this prophecy: “Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is pleasing in His sight.” 

So when Jesus claimed: "I AM the Good Shepherd (not just ‘a good shepherd’), who gives His life for the sheep” (v11), He was claiming to be the true Shepherd prophesied in the Old-Testament, the Messiah-King, even God manifested in flesh, Who would save, protect and lead His people into good pasture. See also Matthew 9:36, 18:12; Mark 6:34, 14:27; and Luke 12:32, where He confirmed this claim. 

Psalm 23:1 declared: “The LORD is my Shepherd”, and then Jesus came and said: “I AM He, I am the Lord Himself, I am the Good Shepherd, who will lovingly lead you into an abundant and eternal life. Follow Me!”

In John 10:1-30, Jesus sets forth His Messianic claim to prove Himself to be the Messiah
. He uses an extended allegory (parable) to communicate His message, which used the customs of the time to illustrate His role as the Good Shepherd (Messiah), who comes to lead His people (sheep) into abundant life. “Jesus used this illustration” (v6). The allegory naturally divides into two parts (v1-5) and (v7-18).

In the first part of His parable (v1-5), He shows Himself to be the TRUE Shepherd (Messiah), who alone has the ancestry and entrance (Virgin-Birth) into the earth required to fulfil the prophecies of the true Messiah.

In the second part of His parable (v7-18, and 27-30), He shows Himself to be the GOOD Shepherd, according to prophecy, by proving: 
(1) His good Character (His Love), in laying down His life down for us (v11,15,17,18), 
(2) His grace, power and ability to lead us into abundant and eternal life (for ‘good’ does not just signify honourable morality, but also loveliness, beauty, skill and grace). He did this by taking up His life again in resurrection and releasing it to us (v10,11,17,18). 

The Good Shepherd is the loving, lovely, life-giving Shepherd.

There were 2 kinds of sheepfolds that appear in the two parts of the story

(1) The communal ones in the towns where all the flocks were sheltered together at night. They were protected by a strong door, and the doorkeeper alone held the key. In the morning, the Shepherd would come for His sheep, the Doorkeeper would know Him and open to him and he would enter the fold and call to his sheep and lead them into pasture. 

(2) But when they grazed in the hills in the warm season, they often did not return at night, but collected the sheep into sheepfolds on the hillside, which were open spaces surrounded by a wall with an opening but no door (the shepherd lay in the gap).

1. The TRUE SHEPHERD (v1-5). In the first part of the Parable, Jesus presents Himself as the true Shepherd-Messiah of Israel, who comes to the communal Sheepfold (Israel) in the town, to lead His sheep into a new day and new heavenly pasture (in the hills). He enters by the appointed and necessary Door of a supernatural virgin-birth, and the Doorkeeper (the Holy-Spirit), who alone has the key to this Door, knows Him and opens the Door to Him (Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy-Spirit).   He comes into the Sheepfold (Israel) and calls out His own sheep (the believers) by name. They hear His voice and He leads them out. Many Israelites heard (believed in) Jesus and followed Him, and so came out of merely belonging to an earthly (national) fold, into also belonging to a heavenly fold that grazes in the hills (the Kingdom of Heaven).

First we see the communal Sheepfold (Israel): "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the Door (of virgin-birth), but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But He who enters by the Door (of virgin-birth) is the (true)Shepherd of the sheep. To Him the Doorkeeper (the Holy-Spirit) opens” (v1-3a). The thieves are false religious leaders and messiahs who come to the sheep pretending to lead them to salvation, but in fact they come to destroy (v10). They are the main enemies of God and the sheep. Beware! (2Cor 11:14). 

‘The Door’ speaks of the specific entrance into Israel (the Sheepfold) by which the true Shepherd (Messiah) must come: namely His Birth.The true Messiah is identified by His Birth. He must come through the Door specified by prophecy, with a predetermined pedigree of birth: the seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah, then of David’s royal line, and most important, the son of God, born by virgin birth (Gen3:15, Isa 7:14). His time of arrival was fixed by Daniel 9:24, the place must be Bethlehem: “Bethlehem, little town of Judah, out of you shall one come forth 
unto Me One who is to be Ruler (Shepherd) in Israel; whose origins 
are from of old, from everlasting (eternity). He shall stand, and shall feed (shepherd) His flock in the strength of the Lord” (Micah 5:2,4). 

Only such a One qualifies as the true Shepherd. Therefore, the Doorkeeper (the Holy-Spirit) opened the Door for Jesus to come into the Fold through the virgin birth (Luke 1:35). The Holy-Spirit opened the door into Israel for Jesus, and continued to do so later through the John the Baptist.  All others are false saviours who end up destroying the sheep (like Muhammad and Buddha). Like thieves trying to steal the sheep, they have to get in another way (illegally), because the Doorkeeper does not know them. This applies especially to the arch-thief, satan and his antichrist. 

“To Him the Doorkeeper (the Holy-Spirit) opens and 
(1) the sheep hear His voice and He calls His own sheep by name, 
and (2) (He) leads them out” (v3). His sheep are the true believers. 

This is a wonderful picture of our salvation through faith. 
(1) We hear Him speak to us through the Gospel, as He calls us by name to come to Him (Romans 10:17). We believe (trust) Him and respond to (obey) His voice. 

(2) When we respond to Him, trusting in His Word,
 He leads us out of the old penned-in life into a new life of freedom with Him, out of the darkness into following Him in the light of a new day, out of an earthly (national) fold into the kingdom of heaven, out of a merely natural life in this world into life in the hills (a new spiritual dimension in ‘heavenly places’). 

“And when He brings out His own sheep, He goes before them; 
and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice” (v4). 
 
He shows us the way to live. He does not drive but leads us. He does not ask us to do what He has not done first. We are to follow Him. We can do this because believers know His voice (claim this verse by faith, say: “I hear the voice of Jesus. He is my Shepherd. He leads and guides me.”) He keeps speaking to us and we hear and respond. He always speaks to us with loving reassurance, guidance and correction. As we stay close to Him, hearing and responding to His voice, we abide in peace, safety and blessing. 

“Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers" (v5).  
The sheep were trained to only respond to their shepherd. If a stranger kept trying to call them they would get alarmed and flee. In our spirit we know false teaching and false voices and flee from them, even if they sound reasonable and soothing. 
The thief may put on a sweet voice but his motive is to fleece and eat you!

2. The GOOD SHEPHERD (v7-18, 27-30). 
Secondly, Jesus shows Himself to be the GOOD Shepherd, again in fulfilment of prophecy through: 
(1) His good Character (His Love), ultimately proved by His Death, when He laid down His life down for us (v11,15,17,18), 
(2) His grace, power and ability to lead us into abundant and eternal life (for ‘good’ does not just signify honourable morality, but also loveliness, beauty, skill, ability and grace). He ultimately proved this in His Resurrection, when He took up His life again and released it to us (v10,11,17,18). 

Thus Jesus is the loving, lovely, life-giving Good Shepherd 

Thus God’s Shepherd would be marked by His supernatural birth and His sacrificial death. This would show Him to be the Good (gracious) Shepherd who would bring His people into eternal abundant life.

In the warm season in the hills often did not return at night but collected into sheepfolds on the hillside, open spaces with a wall with an opening but no door. At night the shepherd would ‘lay down’ across the opening and nothing could get in or out except over him. He was literally: ‘the Door.’ Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I AM THE DOOR of the sheep” (v7). 

 Having brought His sheep out of the earthly fold (the world), they now belong to His fold in the hills (the heavenly places of God). 

The second sheepfold in the hills is God’s heavenly Kingdom. 

The Flock is the Church, fully defined in v16, where Jesus prophesies the Church: “And other (Gentile) sheep I have which are not of this fold (Israel); them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock (the Church -made up of Jews and Gentiles together) and one Shepherd (the Lord Jesus Christ)” (v16). One Roman Catholic error is based on a mistranslation of this that says: “there will be one fold (rather than one flock).” The one-fold, they say, must be the Roman Catholic Church, thus excluding all other Churches from validity!

The earthly national folds (where we live alongside the unbelieving sheep - who belong to another shepherd) are just to hold and protect us during the night, but they are not our real home. For our true citizenship and our real life is in the heavenly places with Christ. Our primary identity is in being part of God’s Kingdom and Church, before belonging to any earthly sheepfold (our national, racial or social identity), for: “we are in the world, but not of it.” It is only true believers who belong in the spiritual (heavenly) fold. In the warm season the sheep often did not return to the town at night, but were collected into sheepfolds on the hillside.    These were open spaces with a surrounding wall, with an opening but no door.  At night the shepherd would ‘lay down’ across the opening and nothing could get in or out, except over (through) him. He was literally the Door of the sheep: 

“Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I AM the DOOR of the sheep (believers)” (v7).  This is one of Christ’s great ‘I AM’ claims of Deity, which goes hand in hand with: “I AM the GOOD SHEPHERD.” 

A door is an entrance into a new realm. In this case it is the entrance into the Kingdom of God. There are two Doors in this passage: 

First there is the Door of Physical (virgin) Birth through which Christ came into the earth (v1-3). 

Then in v7-9, there is the Door of Spiritual Birth (the New-Birth), which is the only way into the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-7). In both cases the Holy-Spirit is the Doorkeeper. Jesus entered through the first Door, and through His death and resurrection He became the second Door. Now He is the Door into life, the entrance way for believers into salvation and eternal life in God’s Kingdom (John 14:6).  To enter life we must go through Jesus. When we come to Him and believe in Him, we are born-again and enter His Kingdom. 

“All who ever came before Me (false messiahs and saviours of Israel who claimed to be God’s shepherds and doors to salvation) are thieves and robbers (trusting them leads to loss),but the sheep (believers) did not hear (follow) them” (v8). 

Only the One who entered through the appointed Door (from God to man) could be the Door for us (from man to God): “I AM the DOOR”(v9a). 

Jesus is the only way to God and Heaven, and if we come to God through Him, we are promised a great salvation (v9): 

(1) If anyone enters by Me (Jesus), he will be saved (we are saved from sin and judgement and enter life, we are safe from all that would destroy and we are secure in eternal life).  The only way into heaven is through Jesus (John 14:6). He laid His life down on the Cross and so became the Door, by which we may enter. He opened heaven’s door for all believers.

(2) and will go in (we have full access to God, and can now freely go into God’s Presence through prayer at any time through Jesus Christ - see Ephesians 2:18, Hebrews 10:20), 

(3) and 
(will go) out (into the world through Him). We still live in two worlds, the natural and the spiritual. We live in the world but belong to God’s Kingdom. We are free to come and go. We have authority in Jesus’ Name to enter His Presence, and also to go in His Name and with His Presence into the world. Our salvation provides for our fellowship with God, as well as our protection, health and prosperity in the world. 

(4) and find pasture (we have access to God’s blessings and provisions, His spiritual food and life, through His Word and Spirit - v9b). 

Jesus now presents Himself as the Good-Shepherd who has come with the purpose of leading us from death to LIFE (v10): 
“The thief (satan and his agents) does not come (to us) except to 
(1) steal (the enjoyment and blessings of this life), 
and (2) to kill (to cut our lives short by physical death), 
and (3) to destroy (to cause us to reject Christ and suffer eternal death)” (v10a). This is progressive death, in all its phases. 

“(But) I have come that they may have (as a possession) Life, and that they may have it more abundantly (life that overflows in this life and through all eternity, life abundant and everlasting, never running out)” (v10). 

Jesus came to deliver us from destruction and bring us into ever increasing life. In this verse Jesus draws a clear line between good and evil. He makes it clear how to distinguish His work from the devil. It is simple: Satan brings sin, sickness and death, but Jesus brings righteousness, healing and life. 

How does He get this Life to us? He is Life and He GIVES His life to us: 
"I AM the GOOD SHEPHERD. 
The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (v11). 

This is His central claim, to be ‘the I AM’,‘the LORD, my SHEPHERD’ who was promised in prophecy and wonderfully described in Psalm 23, as the One who leads His sheep into fullness of life, abundant and eternal. 

How does He give us His abundant life? He gives it in two senses: 
He gives it (1) by laying it down for us in His death (v11,15,17,18), 
so that (2) He could take it up again in His resurrection and give (release and impart) it to us, so we can take it up too: 

"Therefore My Father loves Me, for I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes 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 command I have received from My Father" (v17,18). 

To give us His abundant life, He had to lay it down for us and put it at our disposal. He took it up again in His resurrection and we can take it up also. He gave it up for us, to give it out to us. He laid it down, so that He could take (receive) it up again, in a givable form, to release it to us, putting it at our disposal. 

Psalm 22 shows the Good Shepherd in His death and 
Psalm 23 shows the resurrected Good Shepherd, leading His sheep into the more abundant life. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus became the Door into life, and the fulfilment of Psalm 23. He is the Lord, the Good Shepherd, who died and rose for us to bring us into His life: 

“The Lord is my SHEPHERD; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul (provision, rest, peace, healing): He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake (guidance and holiness)Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me (protection and security); Your rod(a club, often with nails, especially used against enemies, came to represent authority and was used for the sceptre (symbol of power) of rulers, who were Shepherds of people - symbolic of His Name) and Your staff (like a shepherd’s crook, it was used to bring back straying sheep - symbolic of His Spirit), they comfort me (The Shepherd also was skilful with a sling and stones - symbolic of using the words of God in a fight). You prepare a table before me in the presence of My enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over(total provision, especially of abundant life in the Holy-Spirit). Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever (abundant and eternal life).” 

Prophecy told us to recognise God’s Shepherd by:
 
(1) His miraculous birth (v1-3), 
(2) His sacrificial death (v11-15) 
and (3) His victorious resurrection (v17,18). 
This proves Jesus to be the (1) true, (2) good and (3) gracious Shepherd, Who brings His people into eternal, abundant life (that never runs out). 

The Good Shepherd is marked out from others by His sacrificial love for us, proven by His death on the Cross: “But a hireling, he who is not the Shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep” (v12,13). Jesus cares for us, and so was willing to die for us, taking on the beasts and thieves (sin, satan, curse and death), suffering in our place on the Cross so that we might live. 

“I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD; and I know (He has foreknown us, setting His love upon us from eternity) My sheep, and am known by My own (through faith).         As the Father knows Me (eternally), even so I know the Father (eternally);  and I lay down My life for the sheep(so that they may enter into the Divine Fellowship or mutual knowledge that is between the Father and Son through the Spirit, which is the essence of eternal life, see John 17:3)” (v14,15). 

His personal love for His sheep is proved in His VOLUNTARILY giving His life for us (it was not the nails but His love for us that held Him to the Cross!): 

"Therefore My Father loves Me, for I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes 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 command I have received from My Father" (v17,18). 

In these verses Christ tells us: 
(1) He voluntarily gave up His life for us. It was all in the plan and purpose of God. He had the power to save His life from death (Matthew 26:53) and showed His mastery over His life to the end by giving up His spirit when He still had plenty of breath (Matthew 27:50). It was His obedient love for the Father and for us (for our salvation) that took Him to the Cross, rather than being the victim of unfortunate circumstances, or than being overpowered or outwitted by satan. 

(2) He laid His life down knowing that He would take (raise) it up again.  He died in order to rise again, for by taking humanity through death and resurrection we are saved. Both are necessary for us. The end purpose and result is that ‘I may take it up again.’ His resurrection achieves His goal of bringing many sons to glory with Him. But in order to achieve this, He must ‘lay His life down’ in death. 

(3) He claims Deity in these verses, because He talks as One who He had sovereign power over His life and death. Only God can raise the dead, but Jesus here claims that authority and power for Himself. He predicts His resurrection and then proved His claims by raising Himself from the dead (see John 2:19).    In this, He acted in full unity with the Father. 

Later, Jesus again described the life and salvation He would provide for His sheep: “My sheep hear My voice (faith), and I (fore)know (love)them, and they follow Me (obedience). And I GIVE THEM ETERNAL LIFE (another claim of Deity), and they shall NEVER PERISH (salvation from judgement); neither shall anyone snatch them out of My Hand (safety, security and protection from all enemies). 
My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand (double security in the hands of the Father and the Son). I and My Father are One (an absolute statement of their full unity of Nature and Being, as well as purpose and work)" (v27-30). 

These are key Trinitarian verses. The Son is God, fully equal, yet distinct from the Father and submitted to Him, but the two are One.

His Messianic Claims forced men to be either for or against Him:
“Therefore (because of v1-18) there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. And many of them said, "He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?" Others said, "These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind ?" (v19-21). 
This refers to the Messianic Miracle of John 9 for according to their own teaching only the Messiah could have done this. Their only desperate explanation was that He did it by the power of the devil, as they had done before in Matthew 12:24 after Jesus had done another Messianic sign - the casting out of a deaf and dumb spirit. 

John 10:22-42 - A couple of months later Jesus continued to claim to be the God-man Messiah, the Good Shepherd, and He answered objections to these claims. 

"Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem (December 32 / January 33). 
and it was winter (between v21 and v22, Jesus had returned to Galilee before coming to Jerusalem again for Dedication). Jesus walked in the Temple in Solomon's porch. Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly" (v22-24). 
He had told them again and again, but they did not want to hear it. He avoided using the word ‘Messiah’ because in their mind the Messiah was a political leader who would lead Israel in a victorious war against the Romans rather than a Saviour from sin (the main purpose of His first Coming).

Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works (signs) that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep as I said to you” (v25,26). 
Here He again claims to be the Shepherd of Israel and He defines His sheep as those who believe in Him. If they were His sheep they would have heard His voice and believed as He said in John 10:3,27. These did not recognise His voice and so were not His sheep. This verse implies that from God’s viewpoint, His sheep (all who believe) are foreknown (elect) from eternity (Eph 1:4). It follows that anyone who is not one of His sheep, will not believe in Him. 

Jesus then describes His sheep as those who hear His voice (believe) and are secure in their eternal salvation, ending in His claim of equality with the Father: 
v27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 
v28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 
v29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. 
v30 I and My Father are one."
 (v27-30 are verses we have previously discussed). 

When He called Himself: “The (one and only begotten) Son”, and God: “My Father” the Jews rightly understood that He was claiming Deity, and then when He declared: “I and My Father are One” (v30), they became angry enough to try to kill Him: “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him” (v31) 

Jesus answered them, "Many good works 
(miracles) I have shown you from My Father (proving His claims). For which of those works do you stone Me?" (v32). “The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You but for blasphemy and because YOU, BEING A MAN, MAKE YOURSELF GOD" (v33). 
 
 
Jesus answered them (answering their criticism in v33 that a mere man cannot be God), "Is it not written in your law, "I said, "You are gods (Elohim)"'? (Psalm 82:6). If He called them gods (‘Elohim’ - the same word as used for God in Genesis 1:1), to whom the Word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified (set apart for His mission as the Lamb of God from the start of man’s time) and sent into the world (4,000 years later in the incarnation, see Rev13:8, Phil2:7) "You are blaspheming,' because I said, "I am the Son of God'? (v34-36). Jesus is justifying His claim of being God. At first sight (on superficial reading) He seems to be avoiding the key issue, by just saying His language He uses for Himself applies to all men. Of course, this misses the point of His profound argument.

Jesus is answering a specific objection to His claim to Deity: namely that a Man cannot also be God, that it is impossible for a God-Man to exist (v33). To answer this, He refers to Psalm 82, where human rulers are called gods (‘Elohim’- the Hebrew name for God): “I have said, ‘Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.’ But ye shall die like men” (v6,7).  To support this verse He asserts that Scripture is the inerrant, unbreakable Word of God. We may add that Adam was originally ‘the god (ruler) of this world’ (Gen 1:26, Psalm 8) before he lost this title to satan (2Cor4:4), because he was given dominion (under God) over all things. This shows that ‘god’ can denote a man who rules under God, who carries the authority of God. Of course this does not mean man is eternal God, so how does Psalm 82 justify Christ’s claim to be God? 

The issue He is answering is the exact one they raised in v33: ‘How can a man be God as well?” They correctly understand that by calling Himself ‘the Son of God’ Jesus claimed equality with God, but they have a problem with the idea that a man can also be God, or in other words, that the Divine Nature can be united to a human nature (in the case of Christ this is called the Hypostatic Union). Now many prophecies of the Messiah present Him as being both God and man (Isa 7:14, 9:6), He is even called God’s Son (Psalm 2:7) and in Matthew 22:41-45, Jesus shows the Jews from Psalm 110 that the Messiah is both the human ‘son of David’ as well as the Divine ‘David’s Lord’ at the Father’s right hand. Thus, not only is it possible for the God-Man to exist but that He does exist in the Person of Messiah. Jesus is making a similar argument here. They were wrong to say that a man can’t be God, for man was made in the image of God (hence: ‘children of God’- this was to make a union of the 2 natures possible), to have fellowship with Him, to function, act and be like Him, mirroring Him as much as a finite, created being can be like an infinite, eternal Being. This is so much so, that God calls men by His Name ‘Elohim’ (gods) in Psalm 82:6! If ordinary men can be rightly called ‘gods’ and ‘children of the Most High’ because of their created correspondence with the Divine nature, then why should there be a problem with the Anointed One (who is to come from God to man as the Messiah) as true God, choosing to take to (or unite with) Himself a fully human nature, becoming a God-Man and calling Himself ‘the Son of God’? 

v37,38 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." 
 He again points to His unique miracles as the Father’s confirmation of His claims, that He is eternally One with the Father (see v25,32,14:11). 

This repeated claim to be God stirred them up again: “Therefore they sought again to seize (arrest) Him, but He escaped out of their hand” (v39). 
"And He went away again beyond the Jordan to stay at the place where John was baptising at first, (the locals had heard John’s message often). Then many came to Him and said, "John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true." The outstanding and undeniable public miracles of Jesus combined with the accuracy of John’s prophecy about Christ, formed conclusive two-fold proof so that: “many believed in Him there” (v40-42).

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