-Jesus now takes up His discourse on the “Good Shepherd.” He states truly, truly, that he who does not enter by the door into the sheep fold, but tries to come in another way, is a thief and a robber. The One who enters by the door is the actual Shepherd of the sheep. “To Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His Voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.” He went on to describe how the true Shepherd puts forth all His own and goes out ahead of them with the sheep following because they KNOW His Voice. The sheep will not follow a stranger. They will flee from him, since they don’t know the voice of a foreigner. As Jesus used this figure of speech to produce a spiritual implication, the Jews did not understand the things He was proclaiming. So Jesus said to them again in a more plain language:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the Door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a Shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd, and I KNOW (emphasis mine) My own and My own KNOW Me, even as the Father knows Me and I KNOW the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My Voice; and they will become one flock with one Shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandant I received from My Father.”
This statement produced another division in His audience. Many were calling Him insane with a demon inside Him, which they warned others not to listen. Others, however, were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he (John 10:1-21)?” Remember, the context of this monolog was surrounded by Jesus’ healing of the blind man, which was explored in chapter 9.
-It was at this time that the Feast of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. This is what we now know as Chanukah, which is the “eight crazy nights” that Adam Sandler sings about. This Feast of Dedication commemorated the miraculous cleansing of the Temple under Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. after Antiochus Epiphanes had defiled the sacred grounds by sacrificing a pig on the altar of burnt offering. It is celebrated towards the end of December, usually, on the Hebrew calendar and is also known as the Festival of Lights (for more see: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/102911/jewish/What-is-Hanukkah.htm). So, as the text says, it was winter when Jesus was walking around the Temple area in the portico of Solomon. This is when the Jews gathered around Him and questioned Him to tell them plainly if He was the Christ. Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s Name, these testify of Me.” He uses the sheep metaphor again as He continues, “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My Voice and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My Hand.” He went on deeper into the psyche of the Trinity, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s Hand. I and the Father are One.” At this, which they took as blasphemy, they “picked up stones again to stone Him.” Jesus stood His solid ground undeterred and unafraid, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews retorted in their ignorance, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a Man, make Yourself out to be God.” Jesus used Scripture to prove His point and teach them some things they were unaware of, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I said, you are Gods (Psalm 82:6, see also Exodus 4:16; 7:1)’? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scriptures 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’?” He continued, “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may KNOW and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” At this He eluded their grasp and went away unscathed beyond the Jordan to the place where John the Baptist had originally been baptizing and spent time there away from the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem. But many came to Him in that place proclaiming the validity of John the Baptist’s statements towards this Jesus, and “many believed in Him there (John 10:22-42).”
-*Application*- First, have we listened to the Good Shepherd and became part of His fold. Sheep wander and are extremely fragile when left on their own. They need a shepherd and so do we, which is found in Jesus Christ alone. To hear His Voice, simply trust in Him, and He will reveal Himself. He desires us and wants us as those “other sheep (John 10:16)” that will become one with Him and the Father. Secondly today, we who may be leaders in the church or Christian ministry, or maybe just in our own families, need to heed the principles laid out here for being good under shepherds that do the work of the LORD here on this earth. Don’t be a hired hand and flee at the sight of trouble. Instead, we should lay down our lives for the good of the flock and be very strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9). Obedience in the Scriptures has to do with coming under the hearing of the one in authority. Let us do that with our Heavenly Father and teach those we have been given charge of to do that as well.
Verse to Memorize: John 10:10