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John chapter 10

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1Verily, 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. 2But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 6This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. 7Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10The 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. 11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12But 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. 13The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And 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. 17Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18No 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.
22And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 23And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. 24Then 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. 25Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. 26But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30I and my Father are one. 31Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33The 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. 34Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38But 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.

What does John chapter 10 mean?

Chapter 10 continues uninterrupted from the end of chapter 9. In fact, all of chapters 7, 8, 9, and the first half of chapter 10 occur in a fairly continuous timeline. At the end of chapter 9, Jesus was debating those who objected to His giving sight to a man born blind (John 9). As this chapter opens, Jesus is still speaking to those critics and attempting to explain truth to them.

Jesus lays out three analogies in the first half of this chapter. These are all centered on shepherding, a topic with which His audience would have been very familiar. These teachings are all separate. They carry slightly different symbolism and slightly different implications. Along the way, Jesus also makes the third and fourth of seven "I am" statements found in this gospel, where He stakes a claim to divinity. This chapter makes clear, yet often-disputed statements, about doctrinal questions such as salvation through means other than Jesus, if salvation can be lost, and whether the Bible contains errors.

First, Jesus points out that sheep only listen to the voice of their own particular shepherd. They won't listen to a stranger. Spiritually, this explains why men like the scribes and Pharisees don't accept Jesus: they are not part of "His" flock. In prior discussions, Jesus noted that these men are, ultimately, subjects of the Devil (John 8:42–47). They don't listen to the voice of God because they are part of some other flock. Unsurprisingly, Jesus' detractors don't get the point (John 10:1–6).

The second analogy is relatively brief, but it carries enormous implications. Sheep pens of that era were constructed with high walls and a single narrow opening. This was the only legitimate means of entry or exit—a point Jesus also noted in the first analogy. To control access, the gatekeeper would stand or lay across the opening: he would physically serve as the door. Jesus claims to have that same role, spiritually: He is "the Door," the one and only means by which sheep can enter the pen and find rescue from harm. This is the third of seven times in the gospel of John where Jesus uses the unique phrasing echoing the statement made by God in Exodus 3:14. The world, like sheep, can be divided into only two groups: those "in" and those "out," as defined by "the Door," which is Christ alone (John 10:7–9).

Finally, Jesus refers to Himself as the "Good Shepherd," as a contrast to the false religious leaders of Israel. He especially notes His willingness to die for the sake of the flock. Hired hands, as employees, only care for sheep until faced with personal risk. When in danger, they tend to run away. Unlike those false leaders, Jesus is willing to sacrifice Himself to save those He protects. In this comparison, Jesus once again uses the "I am" phrasing. This is the fourth time in the gospel of John where He highlights that theme. His statement also makes a clear, emphatic claim that those who are saved by faith in Jesus are saved permanently, and cannot be lost by any means (John 10:10–18).

As expected (Matthew 10:34–36), these teachings cause further argument. Eternal security, the exclusivity of Jesus, and so forth are points of sharp disagreement between Christianity and the world still today. Among the crowd listening to Jesus, some dismiss Jesus as insane, preferring their own traditions over the evidence of miracles. Others properly recognize Jesus as proven, by signs that can only be divine. We are not told how the debate ends (John 10:19–21).

John's gospel then jumps ahead several months, to the Feast of Dedication. This is not a mandatory feast, but Jesus chooses to attend. This is the celebration modern people know best as Hanukkah. While in Jerusalem, Jesus is cornered by an angry mob of religious leaders, in an enclosed part of the temple grounds. They challenge Jesus to repeat His teachings and then they attempt to stone Him. In response, Jesus points out that His words are in line with Scripture. And, He notes that His miracles ought to influence how these men respond. In so doing, Jesus also makes a clear statement about the perfection of the Bible; this is the doctrine of inerrancy. Those appeals fall on deaf ears, again, and Jesus has to make an unspecified escape (John 10:22–39).

After this, Jesus leaves the region controlled by Jerusalem's religious leaders, returning to Perea, where John the Baptist once preached. The people there are much more receptive, thanks to John, and many believe (John 10:40–42).

All of this sets the stage for Jesus' most spectacular miracle: the raising of Lazarus, described in chapter 11. After this, Jesus returns to Jerusalem in the triumphal entry, and His last public statements before His arrest and crucifixion, seen in chapter 12.
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