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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

John 10

 

 

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Verse 1

John 10:1. Verily, &c. — The Pharisees supported themselves in their opposition to Christ with this principle, that they were pastors of the church; and that Jesus, having no commission from them, was an intruder and an impostor, and that, therefore, the people were bound in duty to adhere to them against him. In opposition to this, Christ here describes who were the false shepherds and who were the true, leaving them to infer what they were. He introduces his discourse with, Verily, verily, I say unto you — To show, not only the certain truth, but the deep importance of what he uttered. He speaks by way of parable or similitude, taken from the customary way of managing sheep in that country. It is supposed that he was now in the outer court of the temple, near the sheep which were there exposed to sale for sacrifice, the sight of which reminded him of the language of the ancient prophets, “who often compared the teachers of their own time to shepherds, and the people to sheep. Accordingly, in describing the characters of the scribes and Pharisees, he made use of the same metaphor, showing that there are two kinds of evil shepherds, pastors, or teachers; one, who, instead of entering in by the door to lead the flock out and feed it, enter in some other way, with an intention to kill and destroy; another, who, though they may have entered in by the door, feed their flocks with the dispositions of hirelings; for when they see the wolf coming, or any danger approaching, they desert their flocks, because they love themselves only. The Pharisees plainly showed themselves to be of the former character, by excommunicating the man that had been blind, because he would not act contrary to the dictates of his reason and conscience to please them. But though they cast him out of their church, Christ received him into his, which is the true church, the spiritual enclosure, where the sheep go in and out and find pasture.” He that entereth not by the door into the sheep-fold, &c. — “I assure you, that whosoever, in any age of the church, assumed the office of a teacher, without commission from me, and without a sincere regard to the edification and salvation of men’s souls, was a thief and a robber; and in the present age, he is no better who assumes that office without my commission, and particularly without believing on me, and without intending my honour and the good of the church.” — Macknight. Add to this, those do not enter in by Christ, and indeed can have no authority from him, nor ability to become pastors of his flock, who do not first take care to secure, by faith working by love, an interest in, and union with him, or, to be found in him, not having their own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; to be in him new creatures: Philippians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 5:17. But climbeth up some other way — Enters the sheep-fold as a pastor of Christ’s flock, without the necessary prerequisites and qualifications, without first obtaining a saving acquaintance with Christ, and genuine love to him; without being called to, and qualified for the work by him, and of consequence, without authority from him; who, influenced by unworthy motives, by a view to wealth, or honour, or ease, or a maintenance, or some secular employment or advantage, gets himself appointed a minister of Christ’s church, through the interest of rich and powerful friends and connections, or the aid of natural abilities, and mere human learning; or some endowment or accomplishment which is not connected with, and does not imply true piety, and a manifest call from the Lord Jesus; the same is a thief and a robber — In God’s account; entering the fold “to fleece and butcher, not to feed the flock; robbing Christ of his honour, and starving the souls of his people, in order to enrich himself, and aggrandize his family.” — Scott.


Verses 2-5

John 10:2-5. He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd, &c. — “This mode of speaking, with us, conveys the notion that the shepherd is the only person who enters by the door; yet the door-keeper, and the sheep themselves, enter also the same way. The original expression is manifestly intended to denote the constant, not the peculiar, use which the shepherd makes of the door, as opposed to the constant use of thieves and robbers, to force their entrance by breaking or climbing over the fence. The comparison is made, not to the folds used by the common people in remote parts of the country, but to those belonging to the rich in the neighbourhood of a populous city, where the walls and other fences need to be stronger, and the entrance more carefully kept, on account of the greater danger from thieves.” — Campbell. To him the porter openeth — As the shepherd will always choose to enter in by that which is the regular appointed way, so, as soon as he approaches, the door-keeper opens the fold; that is, God in his providence, and by the influence of his Spirit, makes way for such a one to exercise his ministry among his people, and gives success to it. For as it is not unworthy of Christ to be styled the door, by which both the sheep and the true pastors enter, so neither is it unworthy of God the Father to be styled the door-keeper. See Acts 14:27; and Acts 16:14; Colossians 4:3; Revelation 3:8. It was supposed by Sir Isaac Newton, that as the words were spoken near the temple, where sheep were kept in folds to be sold for sacrifices, Christ here alludes to what was peculiar in those folds; that as they were kept locked, they not only excluded the thief, but the shepherd, till the door-keeper opened them. “But I cannot think,” says Dr. Doddridge, “whatever occasion Christ might take from the sight of sheep to represent his people under that image, and himself as a shepherd, he would describe them like sheep shut up in a pen to be sold for sacrifice: nor does the shepherd’s leading them out, &c., agree with this circumstance. In countries where there were so many savage beasts, it might be ordinarily necessary to have the folds better secured than among us; and the chief shepherd might often leave a servant to watch them while thus shut up, and come himself to lead them out to pasture in the morning.” And the sheep hear his voice — The people of God, knowing him to be a true pastor, hearken unto him. All the circumstances here mentioned 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, attend to, understand, and obey the voice of a shepherd whom Christ hath sent: and he counteth them his own, dearer than any friend or brother; calleth them by name — That is, instructs, advises, directs, encourages 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 — Leads them out into the pastures of the ordinances, invites them to the enjoyment of the privileges, and urges them to the practice of the duties of true Christianity; he goeth before them — In all these particulars, and 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 truth, 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 — One whom Christ hath not sent, who does 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. In other words, as sheep will not follow a strange shepherd, so the people of God will not hearken to false teachers, or to such as do not declare, plainly, fully, and with a divine unction, the very word of the truth of the gospel: but will avoid them, for they can easily distinguish them from the true messengers of God by their fruits, that is, by their doctrine and practice, and the inefficacy of their preaching to convert, sanctify, and save the souls of men.


Verses 6-8

John 10:6-8. This parable spake Jesus: but they understood not, &c. — In this symbolical way Jesus taught the Pharisees the difference between true and false teachers; but they did not understand the meaning of what he said: therefore he added, by way of explication, Verily, verily, I say unto you — I solemnly assure you of it, as an undoubted and most momentous truth; I am the door of the sheep — That is, the door by which the sheep- fold is entered. Or his meaning may be, I am not only the door by which the shepherds must enter; not only the person whose right alone it is to admit men to the office of shepherds, and who alone can qualify them for that office and dignity, but I am also the door of the sheep; it is by the knowledge of, and faith in me, by an interest in my merits, and by a participation of my Spirit, and in no other way, that men must or can enter into the truly spiritual enclosure of my church. All that ever came before me — Assuming the character of the Messiah, or any part thereof, or pretending, like your elders and rabbis, to a power over the consciences of men, attempting to make laws in and for the church, and teaching their own traditions as necessary to be observed, or other methods of obtaining salvation than by me; all those, who in former times assumed the character of teachers of religion, without a commission from me, and all those teachers and preachers of God’s word that enter not by the door into the sheep-fold, but run before I send them by my Spirit, and before they themselves are my true disciples, subjects, and servants, or are in me new creatures; (our Lord seems in particular to speak of those that had undertaken this office since he began his ministry;) are thieves and robbers — Persons influenced by improper motives, who had and have no warrant from above for assuming any such character, pretending to any such power, or undertaking any such office, and whatsoever their pretences have been or are, the administration of such persons had, and always will have, a tendency to destroy the souls they should watch over and feed: for they are not only thieves, stealing temporal profit to themselves, but robbers, plundering and murdering the sheep. But the sheep — My true people; did not hear them — Did not attend upon, relish or regard their doctrine.


Verse 9-10

John 10:9-10. I am the door — I therefore repeat it again, as a most important truth, that I myself am the only right door of entrance into the church of God; if any one, as a sheep, enter in — By me, through faith; he shall be saved — Now and hereafter; or rather, he shall be safe, like a sheep in its fold, safe from the wolf, and from those murdering shepherds; and shall go in and out — Under my care and guidance, and that of the shepherds whom I have sent, whose instructive voice he shall hear, and whose holy example he shall follow; and shall find pasture — Food for his soul in all circumstances: in consequence of his regard to me, his waiting upon me in mine ordinances, and his attendance on the ministry of those whom I appoint to dispense to him the word of life, he shall be fed and nourished with true doctrine, and shall obtain substantial happiness. The thief cometh not but for to kill, &c. — That is, nothing else can be the consequence of a shepherd’s coming, who does not enter in by me. Such assume the character of teachers divinely commissioned, for no other reason but to promote their own interest at the expense of men’s salvation; I am come that they might have life — Life spiritual and eternal; the life of grace and the life of glory. Christ came to quicken his church in general, which was rather like a valley filled with dry bones, than a pasture filled with grazing flocks. He came to vindicate divine truths, to purify divine ordinances, to correct men’s errors, to renew their hearts, to reform their lives, to redress their grievances, to sanctify and support them under their trials and troubles, to seek that which was lost, bind up that which was broken, strengthen that which was weak; and this, to his church, was as life from the dead. He came, that men might have life, as a criminal has when he is pardoned; a sick man when he is cured; a dead man when he is raised; that we might be justified, sanctified, and at last glorified. And that they might have it more abundantly — A life more abundant than that which was lost and forfeited by sin; more abundant than that which was promised by the law of Moses; more abundant than could have been reasonably expected, or than we are able to ask or think; that whatever measure of spiritual life in union with God, through Christ, of conformity to his image, or participation of his nature, we may have received, we may still desire and expect larger measures thereof; or to whatever degrees of holiness and usefulness we may have attained and manifested, we may still proceed to higher degrees, preparing and qualifying us for still higher degrees of future glory.


Verses 11-15

John 10:11-15. I am the good shepherd — Jesus, having represented himself as the door of the sheep, and intimated the regards which ought to be maintained to him as such, particularly by those that professed to be teachers of others, now changes the similitude, and represents himself, by way of eminence, the good shepherd, namely, the person frequently foretold in Scripture under that character, (see the margin,) and the proprietor of the sheep. The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep — win expose himself to any danger for their safety, because they are his own property; but he that is a hireling — Who attends the sheep merely for hire, who is employed as a servant, and paid for his pains; whose own the sheep are not — Who has neither profit nor loss by them, and proposes nothing to himself but his own gain; seeth the wolf — Or some other savage beast; coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth — Deserts them; because, instead of loving them, he loves himself, and therefore will not expose himself to any danger on their account; in consequence of which, the beast of prey, meeting with no resistance, catcheth, and scattereth the sheep — Seizes on some and disperses the rest; the two ways of hurting the flock of Christ. The wolf signifies an enemy who by force or fraud attacks the Christian’s faith, liberty, or life. Observe, reader, 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 judge: yea, and the Lord hath ordained that they who preach the gospel should live by 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 hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling — Because he loves the hire, not the sheep; and takes the work upon him merely for the wages he is to receive. From what our Lord here says, it plainly appears to be the duty of every minister of the gospel, intrusted with the care of a flock, to reside ordinarily among them. For, if approaching danger to himself, or them, is no excuse for his fleeing away and leaving them, far less will interest, or pleasure, or any lesser matter, be an excuse for such unfaithfulness. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep — With a tender regard and special care. Being the good shepherd, and the owner of the sheep, I pay such earnest and constant attention to my flock, and take such care of it, that I not only know every particular sheep, but I know every thing relating to each. I know the circumstance, wherein they are placed, am well acquainted with their wants, and can judge what aids they stand in need of. Besides, I love them all with an ardent affection, and approve of their obedience to me, because, though it is imperfect, it is sincere. And am known of mine — With a holy confidence and affection. As I know, love, and approve my sheep, so I am known and beloved of them in return, for they have just apprehensions of my dignity and character; in particular, they know that I am their Shepherd and Saviour, sent from God, and that I am able to feed them with knowledge, and to deliver them from the punishment of sin, and to bestow on them everlasting life. As the Father knoweth me, &c. — That is, I know my sheep, and am known of mine, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father; for so the passage ought to be rendered, and construed in connection with the foregoing verse; as if he had said, The mutual knowledge subsisting between me and my sheep, is like that which subsists between the Father and me. It is a knowledge which implies an inexpressible union. See John 17:21-22. And I lay down my life for the sheep — He speaks of the present time: for his whole life was only a going unto death. I show the greatness of the love which I bear to my sheep by dying for them, which no hireling did, or ever will do.


Verses 16-18

John 10:16-18. And other sheep have I — Whom I foreknow as repenting and believing in me; which are not of this fold — Not of the Jewish Church or nation, but Gentiles. Some, indeed, understand by these the Jews living out of the land of Canaan; but certainly they could not with propriety be said not to belong to the fold of Israel. The incorporating the believing Gentiles into one church with the Jews was a grand event, worthy of such particular notice. Them also I must bring — Namely, into my church, the general assembly of those whose names are written in heaven. And they shall hear my voice — The voice of my gospel, calling them to repentance, and inviting them to believe in me as their Redeemer and Saviour. And there shall be one fold — Greek, μια ποιμνη, one flock, though in different folds, no corrupt or divided flocks remaining; and one shepherd — Who laid down his life for the sheep, and will leave no hireling among them. This unity, both of the flock and the Shepherd, shall be completed in its season. The shepherds shall bring all into one flock, and the whole flock shall hear the one Shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me — He loves me more especially on this account, approving it as an act of eminent duty and love to him; because I lay down my life — That I am come into the world with this design, to give my life for the redemption of my sheep, which are dear to him, as well as to me; that I might take it again — And possess it for ever, to be employed for his glory and for the happiness of my people. In other words, I cheerfully die to expiate the sins of mankind, to the end I may rise again for their justification. No man taketh it from me — “This,” says Dr. Campbell, “can hardly be said with propriety, since he suffered by the hands of others. The English verb take, does not express the full import of the Greek, αιρεω, [here used.] In this place it is evidently our Lord’s intention to inform his hearers, that his enemies could not by violence take his life, if he did not voluntarily put himself in their power.” Hence he translates the clause, No one forceth it from me, but I give it up 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. I am able to raise myself from the dead! nay, I can do it as easily as I can die! Nevertheless, I do not lay down my life, nor rise from the dead, without the appointment of my Father. In both I act wisely, and agreeably to the divine will. This commandment — Or, this commission, as the word εντολη may be rendered; have I received of my Father — Which I readily execute. Our Lord’s receiving this commission as a Mediator, is not to be considered as the ground of his power to lay down and resume his life, for this he had in himself, 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.


Verses 19-21

John 10:19-21. There was a division among the Jews — These sayings of our Lord “affected the minds of the Jews differently, for some of them cried out that he was possessed and mad, and that it was folly to hear him; others, judging more impartially of him and his doctrine, declared that his discourses were not the words of a lunatic, nor his miracles the works of a devil. Moreover, they asked his enemies if they imagined any devil was able to impart the faculty of sight to one that was born blind alluding to the astonishing cures which Jesus had lately performed.” — Macknight.


Verse 22-23

John 10:22-23. And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication — Or, as εγενετο δε τα εγκαινια may be rendered, Now the feast of dedication came on at Jerusalem: for it does not appear that the preceding discourses, from John 7:14, were delivered at this feast, but at the feast of tabernacles. Dr. Campbell reads, Once, when they were celebrating the feast of dedication, it being winter, as Jesus walked, &c. This festival, which, according to the meaning of the Greek term, might be more properly called the feast of renovation, was instituted by Judas Maccabæus, (1 Maccabees 4:59,) in memory of their pulling down the altar of burnt-offerings, which had been profaned by the Pagans, and building a new one, dedicated to the true God, and of their purifying the temple from the pollutions and idolatries of Antiochus Epiphanes. “This restoration of the worship of God was a very joyful event to every religious Israelite; and being considered as a new dedication of the temple, great regard was paid to the festival instituted in remembrance of it. See Joseph. Antiq., John 12:11. Accordingly, though it was of human institution, our Lord did not scruple being present at it. The Jews celebrated this feast for eight days successively, beginning on the 25th of Casleu. But the latter half of that month falling in with the first half of our December, it was winter, and commonly bad weather at this feast. Wherefore, to avoid the inclemency of the season, Jesus walked 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.


Verses 24-26

John 10:24-26. Then came the Jews round about him, &c. — Here the Jews came and required him to put them out of doubt, by telling them plainly, whether he was the Messiah or not: Jesus knowing that it was not information they were seeking, but an opportunity of accusing him to the Romans, as a seditious person, who aspired to be a king, directed them, as before, to form a judgment of him from his actions. Jesus answered, I told you, and ye believed not — What our Lord had been lately saying of himself, (see the preceding verses,) as the good shepherd, was equivalent to a declaration of his being the Messiah. Besides, he had already performed those miracles which were to characterize and distinguish the Messiah, such as cleansing the lepers, giving sight to the blind, &c.; and if they had but followed the dictates of their own rabbis, or of their own unprejudiced reason, they must have acknowledged that he had sufficiently established his claim to the title of the Messiah. But ye believe not, 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 lovers of God. The reason why ye do not believe in me is not that the proofs of my mission are insufficient, but because ye are not of an humble and teachable disposition, free from worldly passions, and willing to receive the doctrine that comes from God. Persons of this character easily know, by the nature of my doctrine and miracles, who I am, and consequently readily believe in and follow me.


Verses 27-31

John 10:27-31. My sheep hear my voice, &c. — Our Lord still alludes to the discourse he had had before this festival. As if he had said, My sheep are those who, 1st, Hear my voice by faith; 2d, Are known (that is, approved) by me as loving me; and, 3d, Follow me, keep my commandments, with a believing, loving heart. And to those who, 1st, Truly believe, (observe three promises annexed to three conditions,) I give eternal life. He does not say, I will give, but I give. For he that believeth, hath everlasting life. Those whom, 2d, I know truly to love me, shall never perish, provided they abide in my love. 3d, 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. 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. Indeed, his hearers were provoked to such a degree by what he now said, that they took up stones, and were going to kill him outright, imagining that he had spoken blasphemy.


Verses 32-36

John 10:32-36. Jesus answered, Many good works have I showed you from my Father — That is, in confirmation of my mission from my Father I have wrought many miracles, all of a beneficent kind, and most becoming the perfections of my Father, who sent me. I have fed the hungry, I have healed the lame, I have cured the sick, I have given sight to the blind, I have cast out devils, and I have raised the dead: for which of all these are you going to stone me? The Jews answered, For a good work we stone thee not — We are going to punish thee with death, not for a good work, but for blasphemy; for, though thou art a man, weak and mortal as we ourselves are, thou arrogantly assumest to thyself the power and majesty of God; and by laying claim to the incommunicable attributes of the Deity, makest thyself God. This they took to be the plain meaning of his assertion, that he and the Father were one. Jesus — Not judging it proper, at that time, to bring the sublime doctrine of his Deity into further debate; answered them, Is it not written in your law — Or, in those sacred books which you own to be of divine original, (see Psalms 82:6,) where it is plain the persons that are spoken of are princes and magistrates; I said, Ye are gods? — “The Jewish magistrates were God’s deputies in an especial manner, because the people whom they governed were his peculiar people, and because, in many instances, they were expressly called by him to undertake the fatigues of government, and had an afflatus, or inspiration of the Spirit, for that end. Thus the high-priests derived their dignity from God, and were possessed of the Urim and Thummim, by which they inquired of the Lord. When Moses chose the seventy elders to assist him in the distribution of justice, God put his Spirit upon them, and they prophesied, Numbers 11:17. Joshua, who succeeded Moses by divine appointment, is said to have been a man in whom was the Spirit, Numbers 27:18. Many of the judges were raised up by God, and had his Spirit. When Saul was anointed, the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied, 1 Samuel 10:6; 1 Samuel 10:10.” — Macknight. If he (God) called them gods, to whom the word of God came — That is, to whom God was then speaking; and the Scripture cannot be broken — That is, nothing that is written therein can be censured or rejected. Dr. Campbell translates this clause, And if the language of Scripture is unexceptionable; observing, “Our Lord defends what he had said from the charge of blasphemy, by showing its conformity to the style of Scripture in less urgent cases; insomuch, that if the propriety of Scripture language were admitted, the propriety of his must be admitted also.” “This,” adds he, “is one of those instances wherein, though it is very easy for the translator to discover the meaning, it is very difficult to express it in words which shall appear to correspond to those of his author.” Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified — Hath set apart for the great work of redeeming and saving the human race; and sent into the world — For that purpose; Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God? — If the Scripture, which cannot err, gives the title of gods to mortal and sinful men, why should you reckon guilty of blasphemy, me, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world on so grand a design, because I assume to myself a title which so justly belongs to me, namely, that of the Son of God? Some set the argument in another light, thus: If they, to whom the word of God, and the revelation of his will came, are called gods in Scripture, how dare you say to the Word of God himself, by whom all the various revelations of the divine will have been made to men; how dare you say to such a person, on such an occasion, Thou blasphemest! Jesus, it must be observed, was charged here by the Jews with ascribing divinity to his human nature; and in reply to this he shows, that, calling himself the Son of God, did not imply that, and that his works proved such a union of the human nature with the divine as he had before asserted, than which no answer could have been more wise and pertinent.


Verses 37-39

John 10:37-39. If I do not the works of my Father, &c. — When I claim the character of the Son of God, I do not expect to be credited merely on my own affirmation: if I do not such glorious works as could not be performed by any but a divine agent, believe me not: but if I do — If it be apparent that I do such works, though you believe not me, and are regardless of my own testimony in the case, yet, at least, believe the works; and let their evidence remove the prejudices you have entertained; that ye may know, &c., that the Father is in me, and I in him — Namely, by such a union as abundantly justifies the expression which seems to give you such peculiar offence. In other words, Though ye do not believe what I say concerning my personal dignity, on my own authority, you ought to believe it on account of my miracles, which are plainly of such a kind, that it is impossible for any deceiver to perform them; they are the works of God himself, and therefore you ought to consider them as such. Therefore they sought again to take him — For this defence was so far from pacifying them, that they were rather the more enraged at him through it. But he escaped out of their hand — Withdrew himself, as he had done before, in an extraordinary manner. See John 8:59; Luke 4:30.


Verses 40-42

John 10:40-42. And, presently departing from Jerusalem, he went again beyond Jordan — Into Perea, a country for the most part desert and rocky; the place where John at first baptized — Called Bethabara, John 1:28; and there he abode — Probably till he came into Judea, to raise Lazarus from the dead, that being the next particular mentioned by this evangelist. If so, the time of his abode in these parts must have been considerable: and, as appears from what follows, was not spent there in vain. For many of the inhabitants of that place, who had been formerly acquainted with John the Baptist, and remembered the strong and repeated testimonies which he had borne to Jesus, resorted unto him — To attend his ministry; and said, John did no miracle — For it seems John was not endued with the power of working miracles, that the authority of Jesus might be more conspicuous and unquestionable; but all things that John spake of this man were true — The character which John gave of one that was to come after him, is completely verified by the doctrine and miracles of this person. And many believed on him there — Believed him to be the Messiah, the Son of God. And thus they happily improved this season of Christ’s recess among them, as the means of their instruction, and establishment in piety. Thus we see the testimony of John the Baptist was recollected to excellent purposes, while he himself was mouldering in his tomb. And what can a faithful minister account a greater happiness, or more earnestly desire, than that, even while he is dead, he may yet speak for the honour of Christ, and the salvation of souls?

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on John 10:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/john-10.html. 1857.

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