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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

John 10

 

 

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Verses 1-18

John 10:1-2. 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. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

The true Shepherd cares for the flock, the false ones are thieves and robbers who only care for the flesh or the fleece.

John 10:3. To him the porter openeth and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

John the Baptist was the porter who opened the door of Christ’s earthly ministry by bearing witness that he was the Son of God.

John 10:4-5. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

Christ is the great Leader of his people, and they will never go astray so long as they follow him. The sheep of Christ recognize their Shepherd’s voice, and come at his call; but “strangers” call to them in vain.

John 10:6-7. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

No one metaphor can fully describe our glorious Lord, for he is both Shepherd and Door to the sheep, and all else that they need.

“O my Saviour! Shield and Sun,

Shepherd, Brother, Husband, Friend, —

Every precious name in one,

I will love thee without end.”

John 10:8-10. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 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 came to take away life, but Christ came to give life, and that abundant life which shall last for ever and ever; but see what it cost him to give that life: —

John 10:11-13. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 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. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

Just now the contrast was between the Shepherd and the thief. Here it is between the Shepherd and the hireling. The hireling cares for himself; the Shepherd cares for the sheep and provides for them and cares for them even at the cost of his life.

John 10:14-15. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

There is mutual knowledge between the Shepherd and the sheep, and between the Father and the Son.

John 10:16. 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.

Or, more correctly, “one flock, one Shepherd.” The flock would never be complete without those “other sheep” which the Shepherd says he must bring into the fold, and which he says shall hear his voice. Not one of them will be missing in the day when they pass again under the hand of him that telleth them.

John 10:17-18. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 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.

The voluntariness of Christ’s sacrifice is its glory, and well may his Father love him because of it; and well may we, who are eternally to benefit by his death, also love him.


Verses 1-30

John 10:1. Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Now we may be absolutely certain that there is something of the utmost importance wherever Christ uses the solemn asseveration of “Verily, verily,” — the same word is “Amen, amen” and it has been well observed that if it were not for Christ’s “Amens,” our “Amens” would be of little value. It is because he who is the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, pleads in heaven that our “Amens” are accepted there. If, dear friends, Christ pays an earnest attention to our “Amens,” how much more ought we to attend to his, specially when he doubles them — “Amen, amen, I say unto you.”

John 10:1-3. He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

Here the people of God are compared to sheep. Their harmlessness and gentle character, their feebleness and quiet in the fold, their profitable uses, their defenseless state, requiring some one always to watch over them, the patience with which they are led to the shearer or to the slaughter, and the constancy with which they are associated with sacrifice, render sheep a most excellent symbol of the people of God. Doubtless the fold is the Church, within this fold all the saints of God are gathered, not always in the visible, but always in the invisible and indivisible Church of Christ. None may set up to be shepherds of this fold except those who come in a proper and fitting way, and that is not by a pretended apostolical descent, that is, not by a commission which they have received from their own assumption, but by a commission direct from Christ — coming in through him as by the door. The great true Shepherd, the antitype of all shepherds is Christ himself. To him the porter openeth. All the prophecies, which, like porters, kept the gates, opened at once to Christ; all godly hearts, which, like the porters of the gate, were watching for the coming of the true Shepherd, opened at once to Jesus; whether it were Anna or Simeon, they at once confessed him. The sheep hear his voice, and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. We are told by Eastern travelers that in the large district folds into which the sheep-farmers put their different flocks, while they are all assembled in one common flock, the shepherd of any one flock has but to make his appearance and begin to speak, and his sheep at once recognize him. Though another person should dress up in his garments they would take no notice of him; they know their shepherd by his voice.

John 10:4. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

The genius of the law is driving; the spirit of the Gospel is leading, and the joyful imitation follows.

John 10:5. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

Heretics attract their companies, but the faithful followers of Christ never go after them. They cleave to the truth, which is the voice of Christ, and they will not be persuaded by the most marvelous lying wonders, nor by the greatest arrogance, to depart from him who is their all.

John 10:6-8. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto ye, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

They made loud professions of being the true Messias, and some of them gathered great multitudes, and rebelled against the Roman power, but the true sheep, who waited for the true Shepherd, did not hear them.

John 10:9-14. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 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. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 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. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

This good Shepherd proves himself to be so by his actions. Remember, brethren, how carefully he watches his sheep from the tower of the flock, not one of them ever being absent from his eye for a single moment. How graciously he guides those sheep, leading them always by a right way that he may bring them to safety at the last. How plentifully doth he pasture his flock, making them to lie down in green pastures beside the still waters. And oh! how gloriously doth he defend his flock, dashing into the thickest of their foes, snatching the lamb out of the jaws of the lion and out of the paw of the bear. And we must not conclude this list of his deeds without remembering how readily he hath bought that flock, and how well he hath washed that flock, in blood flowing from his own veins, that he might present them all at the last, not one of them being wanting, nor one of them impure, but each of them like sheep that come up fresh from the washing. “I know my sheep.” It is not as if salvation was left to haphazard. He knew them before they were created. Having foreordained he did foreknow. He knew them when they did not know themselves, when they were wallowing in the mire like swine, he knew them still. He knows them now — unknown to fame, unregistered, perhaps, in the books of the visible Church “I know my sheep wherever they may be.” Then notice the next sentence, for this is the practical way by which you may judge whether you are his or not: “I am known of mine.” They know him as their only hope and trust, they know the sweetness of fellowship with him. They know the power of his arm, the efficacy of his blood, the faithfulness of his heart. They know the preciousness of his cross, and the glory of his grown.

John 10:15-16. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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.

No recognition of free-will here. Christ speaks as one who has the hearts of men in his control. He knows who are his that as yet are not called. He does not say he hopes they will yield to hear his voice, but they shall. Oh, irresistible grace, what can stand against thee? The blood-bought shall all be blood-washed; the foreordained and foreknown shall yet know him who hath saved them by his blood. In this we ought constantly to rejoice. The feebleness of the minister is no barrier to the carrying out of God’s purpose, nor is the hardness of the human heart any impediment to the completion of the divine degree. “Them also must I bring.” There is a heavenly necessity that all the chosen should be saved.

John 10:17; John 10:26. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 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. There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil and is mad, why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. 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. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the work that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

Believing does not make them sheep, but being sheep by divine election proves them to be such.

John 10:27-30. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

Happy are they, then, who have received the character of sheep, for thus they prove themselves to be the chosen of God, and in the hand of Christ, and in his Father’s grasp, they are eternally secure.

“If in my Father’s love,

I share a filial part.

Send down thy Spirit like a dove

To rest upon my heart.”

This exposition consisted of readings from John 10:1-30 and Hebrews 1:1-14.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on John 10:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/john-10.html. 2011.

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