corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

John 10

 

 

Verse 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.

The discourses and transactions of this chapter, though belonging to two different festivals, between which there was an interval of between two and three months, will be most conveniently embraced in one section, as the subjects are so much the same that the Remarks which they suggest cannot well be separated.

This discourse seems plainly a continuation of the closing verses of the preceding chapter. The figure of a shepherd and his sheep was familiar to the Jewish ear, (see Jeremiah 23:1-40; Ezekiel 34:1; Zechariah 11:1, etc.) 'This simple creature, the sheep,' says Luther, as quoted by Stier, 'has this special note among all animals, that it quickly hears the voice of the shepherd, follows no one else, depends entirely on him, and seeks help from him alone, cannot help itself, but is shut up to another's aid.'

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door - that is, by the legitimate way; without as yet saying what that was, Into the sheep-fold - the sacred enclosure of God's true people,

But climbeth up some other way - not referring to the assumption of ecclesiastical office without an external call-for those Jewish rulers who were specially aimed at had this (see the note at Matthew 23:2) - but to the want of a true call, a spiritual commission, the seal of heaven going along with the outward authority: it is the assumption of the spiritual guidance of the people without this that is meant.

The same is a thief and a robber.


Verse 2

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

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep - is a true, divinely recognized shepherd.


Verse 3

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 porter openeth - `To him is given right of free access, by order of Him to whom the sheep belong'-for it is better not to give this allusion a more specific interpretation. So Calvin, Meyer, Luthardt.

And the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.


Verse 4

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

And when he putteth forth - or 'turneth out.' [The aorist - ekbalee (Greek #1544) - is here rightly rendered 'putteth forth,' as in 'Luke 1:51-53; the idea being that of 'a succession of definite acts constituting a habit of so acting.' So probably eegapeesan (Greek #25) is to be explained in John 3:19, 'men love the darkness,' etc.]

His own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.


Verse 5

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

And [ de (G1161), rather, 'But'] a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.


Verse 6

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

This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. What is said in these three verses, though admitting of important application to every faithful shepherd of God's flock, is in its direct and highest sense true only of "the great Shepherd of the sheep," who in the first five verses seems plainly, under the simple character of a true shepherd, to be drawing His own portrait. So Lampe, Stier, etc.


Verse 7

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

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep - that is, The Way in to the fold, with all its blessed privileges, alike for the shepherds and the sheep. (Compare John 14:6; Ephesians 2:18.)


Verse 8

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

All that ever came before me - the false prophets; not as claiming the prerogatives of Messiah, But as perverters of the people from the way of life leading to Him. So Olshausen.

Are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them - the instinct of their divinely taught hearts preserving them from seducers, and attaching them to the heaven-sent prophets of whom it is said that "the Spirit of Christ was in them" (1 Peter 1:11).


Verse 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.

I am the door: by me if any man enter in - whether shepherd or sheep,

He shall be saved - the great object of the pastoral office, as of all the divine arrangements toward mankind.

And shall go in and out and find pasture. He "shall go in," as to a place of safety and repose; and he "shall go out," as to green pastures and still waters" (Psalms 23:2), for nourishment and refreshing; and all this only transferred to another clime, and enjoyed in another manner, at the close of this earthly scene (Revelation 7:17).


Verse 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.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come - or, 'I came' [ eelthon (Greek #2064)]

That they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly , [ perisson (Greek #4053)] - or rather, simply, 'have it abundantly.' I came, not to preserve a life already possessed, but to impart a life before unknown, and to communicate it in rich and unfailing exuberance. What a claim! And yet it is but a repetition, under a new aspect, of what He had taught in the synagogue of Capernaum (John 6:1-71); nay, but an echo of all His teaching; and He who uttered these and like words must be either a blasphemer, all worthy of the death He died, or "God with us:" there can be no middle course.


Verse 11

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

I am the good shepherd - not 'a,' but emphatically "The Good Shepherd," and, in the sense intended, exclusively so (see Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 37:24; Zechariah 13:7).

The good shepherd giveth , [ titheesin (Greek #5087)] - rather, 'layeth down;' as the word is properly rendered in John 10:15; John 10:17,

His life for the sheep. Though this may be said of literal shepherds who, even for their brute flock have, like David, encountered "the lion and the bear" at the risk of their own lives, and still more of faithful pastors, who, like the early bishops of Rome, have been the foremost to brave the fury of their enemies against the flock committed to their care; yet here, beyond doubt, it points to the struggle which was to issue in the willing surrender of the Redeemer's own life, to save His sheep from destruction.


Verse 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.

But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not - who has no property in them. By this He points to His own special relation to the sheep, the same as His Father's, the great Proprietor and Lord of the flock, who styles Him "My Shepherd, the Man that is my Fellow" (Zechariah 13:7); and though faithful under-shepherds, who are in their Master's interest, feel a measure of His own concern for their charge, the language is strictly applicable only to "the Son over His own house" (Hebrews 3:6).

Seeth [or 'beholdeth' theoorei (G2334)] the wolf coming. By this is meant, not (as Stier, Alford, etc., take it) the Devil distinctively, but generally, as we judge, whoever comes upon the flock with hostile intent, in whatever form; though the wicked one, no doubt, is at the bottom of such movements. So Lucke, Luthardt.


Verse 13

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

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 14

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

I am the good shepherd. See the note at John 10:11.

And know my [sheep], and am known of mine. Since the word "sheep" is a supplement, it is perhaps better to render the words, 'and know mine, and am known of mine' [ ginooskoo (Greek #1097) ta (Greek #3588) ema (Greek #1691) kai (Greek #2532) ginooskomai (Greek #1097) hupo (Greek #5259) toon (Greek #3588) emoon (Greek #1700)]. Lachmann and Tregelles read, 'and mine know me' [ ginooskousin (Greek #1097) me (Greek #3165) ta (Greek #3588) ema (Greek #1691)], but, as we judge, on insufficient evidence: Tischendorf abides by the received text.


Verse 15

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, even so know I the Father. This ought not to have begun a new sentence; because it is properly part of the previous verse. The whole statement will then stand thus: "And I know mine, and am known of mine, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father." So the Vulgate, and Luther's version, Bengel, DeWette, Lucke, and nearly every modern critic; and so Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Tregelles print the text. When Christ says He "knows His sheep," He means it in the special and endearing sense of 2 Timothy 2:19; and when He says, "I am known of mine," He alludes to the soul's response to the voice that has inwardly and efficaciously called it; for in this mutual loving acquaintance, ours is the effect of His. The Redeemer's knowledge of us, as Olshausen finely says, is the active element, penetrating us with His power and life; that of believers is the passive principle, the reception of His life and light. In this reception, however, an assimilation of the soul to the sublime Object of its knowledge and love takes place; and thus an activity, though a derived one, is unfolded, which shows itself in obedience to His commands. But when our glorious Speaker rises from this mutual knowledge of Himself and His people to another and loftier reciprocity of knowledge-even that of Himself and His Father-and says that the former is even as [ kathoos (Greek #2531)] the latter, He expresses what none but Himself could have dared to utter; though it is only what He had in effect said before (Matthew 11:27, taken in connection with the preceding and following verses; and Luke 10:21-22), and what in another and almost higher form He expressed afterward in His Intercessory Prayer (John 17:21-23).

And I lay down my life for the sheep. How sublime is this, following immediately on the lofty claim of the preceding clause! 'Tis just the riches and the poverty of "The Word made flesh;" one glorious Person reaching at once up to the Throne-in absolute knowledge of the Father-and down even to the dust of death, in the voluntary surrender of His life "for the sheep." A candid interpretation of this last clause - "for the sheep" - ought to go far to establish the special relation of the vicarious death of Christ to the Church.


Verse 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.

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold [ aulees (Greek #833)]:

Them also I must bring. He means the perishing Gentiles, of whom He speaks as already His sheep-in the love of His heart and the purpose of His grace-to "bring them" in due time.

And they shall hear my voice. This is not the language of mere fore-sight that they would believe, but the expression of a purpose to draw them to Himself by an inward and efficacious call, which would infallibly issue in their spontaneous accession to Him.

And there shall be one fold , [ poimnee (Greek #4167)] - rather, 'one flock.' The word for 'fold' in the previous part of the verse, it will be seen, is different.


Verse 17

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

Therefore , [ Dia (Greek #1223) touto (Greek #5124), 'For this cause'] doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life.} As the highest act of the Son's love to the Father was the laying down of His life for the sheep at His "commandment," so the Father's love to Him as His incarnate Son reached its consummation, and finds its highest justification, in that sublimest and most affecting of all acts.

That I might take it again - His resurrection-life being indispensable to the accomplishment of the fruit of His death.


Verse 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.

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. It is impossible for language more plainly and emphatically to express the absolute voluntariness of Christ's death, such a voluntariness as it would be manifest presumption in any mere creature to affirm of his own death. It is beyond all doubt the language of One who was conscious that His life was His own, which no creature's is, and, therefore, His to surrender or retain at will. Here lay the glory of His sacrifice, that it was purely voluntary. The claim of "power to take it again" is no less important, as showing that His resurrection, though ascribed to the Father, in the sense we shall presently see, was nevertheless His own assertion of His own right to life as soon as the purposes of His voluntary death were accomplished.

This commandment - that is, to "lay down His life, that He might take it again,"

Have I received , [ elabon (Greek #2983), rather, 'received I'] of my Father.} So that Christ died at once by "command" of His Father, and by such a voluntary obedience to that command as has made Him, so to speak, infinitely dear to the Father. The necessity of Christ's death, in the light of these profound sayings, must be manifest to all but the superficial.


Verse 19

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

There was a division therefore again among the Jews for - or 'because of' "These sayings."


Verse 20

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

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


Verse 21

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

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

Thus did the light and the darkness reveal themselves with increasing distinctness in the separation of the teachable from the obstinately prejudiced. The one saw in Him only "a devil and a madman;" the other revolted at the thought that such words could come from one possessed, and sight be given to the blind by a demoniac; showing clearly that a deeper impression had been made upon them than their words expressed.


Verse 22

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

And - or rather, 'Now,' as beginning a new subject,

It was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication. Recent interpreters, with few exceptions, conclude, from the silence of the Evangelist, that our Lord must have remained during the whole interval between the Feast of Tabernacles and this of the Dedication-a period of about two months and a half-either in Jerusalem or its immediate neighbourhood. But the opening words of this section - "Now it was at Jerusalem," etc.-imply, we think, the reverse. If our Lord remained so very long at the capital at this time, it was contrary certainly to His invariable practice; and considering how the enmity and exasperation of His enemies were drawing to a head, it does not seem to us very likely. But to suppose, with some harmonists, that our Lord went back during this interval to Galilee, and that a not inconsiderable portion of the matter of the first three Gospels belongs to this period, seems to us against all probability. We therefore take a middle course; and think that our Lord spent the interval between the above festivals partly in Peraea, within the dominions of Herod Antipas (where certainly we find Him at Luke 13:31), and partly in Judea, approaching to the suburbs of the capital (where certainly we find Him at Luke 10:38).

This festival of the Dedication was celebrated between two and three months after the Feast of Tabernacles. It was instituted by Judas Maccabeus, to commemorate the purification of the temple from the profanations to which it had been subjected by Antiochus Epiphanes (165 BC), and kept for eight days, from the 25th Chisleu (about the 20th December) - the day on which Judas began the first joyous celebration of it (1 Maccabees 4:52; 1 Maccabees 4:56; 1 Maccabees 4:59, and Josephus Ant. 12: 7,7).

And it was winter - implying some inclemency. Accordingly it is added,


Verse 23

And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.

And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch - for shelter. This portico was on the east side of the temple, and Josephus says it was part of the original structure of Solomon (Ant. 20: 9. 7).


Verse 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.

Then came the Jews that is as usual in this Gospel the rulers as observed on John 1:19 Then came the Jews - that is, as usual in this Gospel, the rulers, as observed on John 1:19.

Round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? [ teen (Greek #3588) psucheen (Greek #5590) heemoon (Greek #2257) aireis (Greek #142)] - or better, as in the margin, 'hold us in suspense.'

If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. But when the plainest evidence of it was resisted, what weight could a mere assertion of it have? nor can it be doubted that they had an ensnaring purpose in the attempt to draw this out of Him.


Verse 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.

Jesus answered them, I told you - that is, in substance (see John 7:37-38; John 8:35-36; John 8:58),

And ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.


Verse 26

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

But ye , [ all' (Greek #235) humeis (Greek #5210)]. The "ye" is here in emphatic contrast to the "sheep."

Believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. Our Lord here manifestly refers back to His discourse about the Shepherd and the sheep at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 10:1-18). He did not there expressly say what is here mentioned; but the sharp line of demarcation there drawn between the sheep who hear only their own shepherd's voice, and those who are led away by deceivers, implied as much, and what follows shows that His object was, first, to resume that subject, and then to carry it out further and raise it higher than before.


Verse 27

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

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. See the note at John 10:8 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. See the note at John 10:8.


Verse 28

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

And I give unto them eternal life - not 'I will,' but 'I do give' it them: it is a present gift. See the notes at John 3:36; John 5:24.

And they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. A very grand utterance, couched in the language of majestic, royal, supreme authority.


Verse 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.

My Father, which gave [rather, 'hath given' dedooken (G1325)] them me (see the notes at John 6:37-39) is greater than all - with whom no adverse power can contend (Isaiah 27:4).

And none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. The bearing of this statement on what is called by divines the perseverance of the saints has not escaped the notice of candid and reverential expositors, even of those churches which repudiate that doctrine. In this view the following remarks of Olshausen on these words of our Lord have special value: 'The impossibility of true believers being lost, in the midst of all the temptations which they may encounter, does not consist in their fidelity and decision, but is founded upon the power of God. Here the doctrine of predestination is presented in its sublime and sacred aspect; there is a predestination of the holy, which is taught from one end of the Scriptures to the other; not, indeed, of such a nature that an "irresistible grace" compels the opposing will of man'-of course not-`but so that that will of man which receives and loves the commands of God is produced only by God's grace.' But the statement of John 10:29 is designed only to introduce that of John 10:30.

I and my Father, [ Egoo (G1473) kai (G2532) ho (G3588) Pateer (G3962)]. (It should be 'I and the Father') are one , [ hen (Greek #1520) esmen (Greek #2070)]. Our language admits not of the precision of the original in this great saying, 'We (two Persons) are One (Thing).' Perhaps 'one interest' expresses nearly, though not quite, the purport of the saying. There seemed to be some contradiction between His saying they had been given by His Father into His own hands, out of which they could not be plucked, and then saying that none could pluck them out of His Father's hands, as if they had not been given out of them. 'Neither they have,' says He: 'Though He has given them to Me, they are as much in His own almighty hands as ever-they cannot be, and when given to Me they are not, given away from Himself; for HE AND I HAVE ALL IN COMMON.' Thus it will be seen, that, though oneness of essence is not the precise thing here affirmed, that truth is the basis of what is affirmed, without which it would not be true. And Augustine was right in saying the "We are" condemns the Sabellians, who denied the distinction of Persons in the Godhead, while the "one" condemns the Arians, who denied the unity of their essence. (Bengel, in his terse and pithy way, thus expresses it: Per sumus refutatur Sabellius; per unum, Arius.)


Verse 30

I and my Father are one.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 31

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

Then the Jews - the rulers again, as in John 1:19,

Took up stones again to stone him - and for precisely the same thing as before, the claim of equality with God which they saw He was advancing (John 5:18; John 8:58-59).


Verse 32

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

Jesus answered them, Many good works , [ kala (Greek #2570) erga (Greek #2041)] - that is, works of pure benevolence; to which Peter thus alludes (Acts 10:38), "Who went about doing good" [ euergetoon (Greek #2109)], or as a Benefactor: and see Mark 7:37.

From my Father - not so much by His power, but as directly commissioned by Him to do them. This He says, as Luthardt properly remarks, to meet the imputation of unwarrantable assumption of the divine prerogatives --

For which of those works do ye stone me? - or 'are ye stoning Me;' that is, going to do it.


Verse 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.

The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy - whose legal punishment was stoning (Leviticus 24:11-16),

And because that thou, being a man - that is, a man only,

Makest thyself God. Twice before they understood him to advance the same claim, and both times, as we have seen, they prepared themselves to avenge what they took to be the insulted honour of God, as here, in the way directed by their law.


Verse 34

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

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law (Psalms 82:6) - respecting judges or magistrates,

I said, Ye are gods? - as being the official representatives and commissioned agents of God.


Verse 35

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

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


Verse 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?

Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world. The whole force of this reasoning, which has been but in part seized by the commentators, lies in what is said of the two parties compared. There is both a comparison and a contrast. The comparison of Himself with mere men, divinely commissioned, is intended to show, as Neander well expresses it, that the idea of a communication of the Divine Majesty to human nature was by no means foreign to the revelations of the Old Testament; but the contrast between Himself and all merely human representatives of God-the One, "sanctified by the Father, and sent into the world," the other, "to whom the word of God" merely "came" - is expressly designed to prevent His being massed up with them as only one of many human officials of God. It is never said of Christ that "the word of the Lord came to Him;" whereas this is the well-known formula by which the divine commission even to the highest of mere men is expressed, such as John the Baptist (Luke 3:2): and the reason is that given by the Baptist himself (see the note at John 3:31). The contrast is between those "to whom the word of God came" - men of the earth, earthy, who were merely privileged to get a divine message to utter, if prophets, or a divine office to discharge, if judges-and "Him whom (not being of the earth at all), the Father sanctified (or set apart), and sent into the world" - an expression never used of any merely human messenger of God, and used only of Himself.

Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God? Our Lord had not said, in so many words, that He was the Son of God, on this occasion. But He had said what beyond doubt amounted to it-namely, that He gave His sheep eternal life, and none could pluck them out of His hand; that He had gotten them from His Father, in whose hands, though given to Him, they still remained, and out of whose hand none could pluck them; and that they were the indefensible property of Both, inasmuch as "He and His Father were One." Our Lord considers all this as just saying of Himself, "I am the Son of God" - One nature with Him, yet mysteriously of Him. The parenthesis, in John 10:35 - "And the Scripture cannot be broken" - `dissolved' or 'made void' [ lutheenai (Greek #3089)] - referring as it does here to the terms used of magistrates in Psalms 82:1-8, has an important bearing on the authority of the living oracles. The Scripture, says Olshausen, as the expressed will of the unchangeable God, is itself unchangeable and indissoluble. (Matthew 5:18.)


Verse 37

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

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


Verse 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.

But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works. There was in Christ's words, independently of any But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works. There was in Christ's words, independently of any miracles, a self-evidencing truth, majesty, and grace, which those who had any spiritual susceptibility were unable to resist (John 7:46; John 8:30). But, for those who wanted this, "the works" were a mighty help. When these failed, the case was desperate indeed.

That ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him - thus reiterating His claim to essential oneness with the Father, which He had only seemed to soften down, that He might calm their rage and get their ear again for a moment.


Verse 39

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

Therefore they sought again to take him - true to their original understanding of His words, because they saw perfectly well that He meant to "make Himself God" throughout all this dialogue.

But he escaped, [ exeelthen (G1831), 'went' or 'passed'] out of their hand - slipping, as it were, or gliding away out of their grasp, just when they thought themselves sure of having Him. (See the note at Luke 4:30; and at John 8:59.)


Verse 40

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

And went away again beyond Jordan, into the place where John at first baptized. (See the note at John 1:28.)


Verse 41

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

And many resorted unto him - on whom the Baptist's ministry appears to have left permanent impressions,

And said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true - what they now heard and saw in Jesus only confirming in their minds the divinity of His forerunner's mission, a mission unaccompanied by any of His Master's miracles. And thus, "many believed on Him there."

Remark: Since the malignity of His enemies increases, the benignity and grace with which Jesus addresses Himself to His own seem to grow also; as if the sharp drawing off of the one party made Him cling all the more to the other, drew out to them the more of His loving heart, and encouraged a fuller exhibition of the purposes and plans of saving mercy. In proportion, too, as His scornful adversaries seemed bent on depreciating Him, does He Himself seem to rise in the assertion of His own divine dignity and authority. Thus, after the virulent enmity to Him manifested in the scenes of the former chapter, how lovely is the whole discourse on the Shepherd and the sheep, extending over the first eighteen verses of this chapter! And where shall we find a livelier expression of the relation which Christ sustains both to men and to God, as the only way of access and entrance for the one and to the Other; of the absolute voluntariness and saving virtue of His death, as the secret of that self-exerting power in the exercise of which He resumed the life which He had of Himself laid down; of the sustenance which He provides for the continuance of the life He imparts, the pasture of His saved sheep; of the Father's love to Him for freely doing all this; and of the mutual knowledge of Himself and His sheep, as bearing no faint resemblance to that of Himself and the Father? But in the discourse at the Feast of Dedication, we find Him rising if possible, yet higher; speaking of the security that the sheep have, for that eternal life which in the exercise of His royal authority He gives them, in the impossibility of plucking them out of His hand: and lest this should seem to His audience small security, considering how little different from other men He outwardly appeared, He adds that His Father, at least, who gave His sheep to Him, would be admitted even by themselves to be greater than all; and as none could pluck them out of His hand, that was all the same as inability to pluck them out of His own hand, for He and the Father were one. This seemed too much, and accordingly they took up stones to stone Him as a blasphemer. But though He addressed to them an argument fitted to soothe and mollify them, He took care, lest it should take down His dignity in their eyes, to close it by reiterating in substance the very statement for which they had attempted to stone Him; and only by divinely eluding their grasp, and retiring to the further side of the Jordan, did they fail to seize before His time the Holy One of God!

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 10:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-10.html. 1871-8.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology