John Chapter 10 — a commentary
Christ continues His exchange with the Pharisees. He begins to speak of Sheep and Shepherds. The Pharisees saw themselves as shepherds to the flock. The more common term used for shepherd is Pastor. So when it comes to the flock of God we should always bare this in mind.
The sheepfold is God’s House. To attempt to get in by any other means than the door is to attempt to break in, which is why He calls that person a thief and a robber. Who is it that breaks in to people’s houses but thieves and robbers? To gain entrance into the sheepfold a person must have the authority to enter. The one who has this authority is the shepherd whose interest is the care of the sheep.
The Porter recognizes the authority of the Shepherd so that when the Shepherd comes knocking He will open the gate and let him in. The sheep hear the voice of the shepherd and they recognize His voice. He knows them intimately; He has a name for each one. He leads them out. (Psalm 23:1-3)
Notice that the Shepherd does not drive them from behind, but He goes before them. The shepherd is careful to go ahead in order that they may be led safely. When he calls the sheep hear and follow because they recognize his voice.
They know His voice but not the voice of the stranger; his voice they do not recognize so they do not follow it, in fact they will flee.
These Pharisees could not understand what He was telling them. See how far removed these Pharisees were from the common people. They did not understand anything about nurturing sheep, much less about Pastoring God’ Sheep!
So here we find Christ explaining to them the meaning of the parable. He is the door through which men must come if they want to enter the sheepfold. Like the men of Sodom who tried to find the door to Lot’s house but couldn’t because they were struck blind, so these Pharisees were blind to the way into God’s House.
Christ stands as a closed door. To gain entrance one must knock and ask to be allowed in.
Someone who claims to be a Pastor of the sheep, but who is not counted as such by Him, He states that they are thieves and robbers. They come to steal the sheep and rob them of the Kingdom of God! However the sheep are not fooled by the voice of the stranger. They set themselves up as the shepherds of the flock and expect people to come to them. They, in fact, usurp the position that Christ holds. Such are the clergy, the priests of Rome and the so-called new breed of apostles and prophets of the modern churches.
No true child of God would ever approve of the lies and hypocrisy and lifestyle of these fakers!
It is though Christ and Christ alone that people must enter. We must NEVER point people to anyone else other than Jesus Christ for salvation; not to a church, not to a priest, not to a vicar, not to saints, not to Alpha Courses, Y-courses, not to concerts and even less to ourselves. People must be left in no doubt that it is only through Jesus Christ will they find salvation and the Father. Because there is only one means of entry—the door!
By coming through Him we enter into communion with the Father. We can go in and out and find pasture (that is a place to find rest and feed our souls)! We are at liberty to come and go, to enter the Holy of Holies where the Father sits enthroned! (Hebrews 10:19-22)
Christ offers freedom and life; these people only offer bondage and death. Christ comes to enrich the heart; these come only to enrich their wallets. Christ comes to serve; these come to be served! Christ comes to bring glory to His Father; these come only to receive the praise and glory of men!
Christ is the Shepherd spoken of by the prophets (Ezek 34:23; 37:24; Zech 13:7). The good Shepherd will lay down his life for the sheep. He sees any and every sacrifice he has to make as worth it for the sheep. Not for what he will get out of it but what the sheep will get out of it at the end. The Good Shepherd is not in it for himself but for the sheep.
These men are hirelings, career Pastors. They are in it for the money. They care less about the flock than they do about their lifestyle. They will not protect the flock from the wolves and other predators. They will not lead their charges away from false teachers and false teaching. They do not protect and serve! Just the opposite! They will simply leave when the going gets tough. They will not stand by the flock when persecution comes. (Zechariah 11:17)
These people are nothing more than mercenaries. They fight for the highest bidder. If a better offer comes their way they will jump at the chance because they do not love the sheep! It is precisely because of this mentality that the flock suffers. They love wages more than work. They seek the benefits their position brings to them. (Matthew 23:1-8)
By speaking thus about these people Christ shows His opposition to them.
The Good Shepherd takes the time to know each of His flock. For all His care for the Church Christ still knows and cares for each individual. He calls them by their name and each one knows Him and loves Him. There is a mutual knowledge of each other. This relationship is never one sided. Christ is never distant to His flock. Where a Pastor comes between the people and Christ the Lord becomes distant to them.
Thus it is in the Roman Catholic Church, the people rely upon the priests and other intermediaries for their relationship with God. Christ is too distant; they need the intercession of heavenly saints and Mary.
Where churches follow the new breed of apostles and prophets the people depend upon these men and women for guidance. This is something that Christ hates! (Revelation 2:6 & 15)
Here we see that the same relationship Christ has with His sheep is the same type of relationship that He has with the Father. Just as the Shepherd first knows the Sheep so the Father first knows the Son and because of this the sheep know the shepherd and the Son knows the Father. (Romans 5:8 &1 John 4:19)
Here Christ speaks with regard to the gentiles who in the process of time would be added to His flock. At this point in time Christ had few followers. However the time would come when more would be added.
Christ voluntarily lay down His life. Under the Law thousands of sheep were sacrificed for the ransom of their shepherds. (Hebrews 9:7) But here we see Jesus, the shepherd, laying down His life for the sheep! (Zechariah 13:7) Initially the flock would be scattered, but then the flock would be gathered in and grow!
Christ also speaks of His resurrection. Though He would be put to death His body would not see corruption. (Psalm 16:10). Corruption sets in after 4 days (John 11:39) Christ rose from the tomb after 3 and a half days!
Whilst it is true that Christ suffered and died at the hands of the wicked this only happened because He willed it. When He prayed in the Garden He surrendered Himself to the Father’s will. They had no power over Him (John 19:10-11; Acts 2:23)
Christ was not put to death on account of His own sins or any crime that He had committed, nor was it because of the astuteness of His captors who had plotted and conspired against Him. It was all within His power and done in accordance with His will!
As usual Christ’s teachings cause division. Christ’s words stir up controversy. Today the big issue amongst Christians is UNITY! The apparent disunity amongst Christians is blamed on doctrine. It is argued that Christians are too hung up on doctrines and Dogmas and, because of this, Christians need to set aside their differences and unite around those things that they can agree upon.
It is argued that the differences between Non- Roman Catholic doctrine and Roman Catholic Dogma are minor. For this reason we should overlook those things that we disagree upon for the sake of unity!
Whilst it is true that Christ prayed that His followers should all be one, however they overlook His other teaching: (Luke 12:51), As Matthew Henry put it: it is better that men should be divided about the doctrine of Christ than united in the service of sin!
How often is someone who follows Christ described as a “fanatic”? Or they are called “Obsessive” even a nut? Often people comment about street preachers by asking, “What’s he on?” Speak about any other subject and nobody bothers, speak about Christ and the Bible and you will be considered a Bigot! Or else a dangerous extremist!
A common response from people’s companions and friends, ”Don’t listen to Him!” Sometimes they’ll even snatch the leaflets we hand them away.
Amongst other Christians we have been described as dangerous cultists because we oppose ecumenism and compromise with false teaching!
One thing is certain; men’s opinions of Christ were divided. We never read of anyone saying of Jesus, “Let’s wait and see if He turns out to be true or not!” People defended Him for they saw the works that He did. As I always point out to Muslims, “The Bottom line is this, either Jesus is the Son of God or He isn’t!” It is not enough to believe that Jesus is a great teacher, or one in a long line of prophets sent by God. We MUST accept Him as being the Son of God as the Bible teaches.
To proclaim the Bible as false is to proclaim Christ as being false. To proclaim the Bible as being untrustworthy is to proclaim Christ as untrustworthy. To proclaim the Bible as wicked is to proclaim Christ as wicked. Why? Because what is written in the Bible are the very words of God, the Holy Spirit inspired them.
There are some miracles that the devils cannot do. They cannot raise the dead, nor can they heal one born blind. They may counterfeit them but counterfeit miracles are tricks, illusions. The workers of these so-called miracles are charlatans; they use tricks to make things appear to be what they are not. Often they will pay people to come in and pretend that they are lame, or deaf or even blind. It is a fact that the vast majority of so-called healings are to do with the relief of pain or find their origin in the mind rather than the body! A form of hypnosis is carried out that relieves the symptoms but does not cure!
We see so too many stories of people who are supposedly healed at these big crusades yet only to see them relapse after a few days! Worse still we read of people dying as the direct result of them stopping their medication because the “healer” had declared to them that they were healed! And what is even worse is that these so-called healers will take money off these people at the same time. They offer false hope and place people under pressure to pay for it at the same time. (2 Peter 2:15-17)
This is timed during Chanukkah, which is the Feast of the Dedication. Some point during the month of December. This was an eight-day feast that celebrated the Miracle of the Light in the Temple. Here we have the Miracle of the Light of God walking in the temple!
There is no mention of the disciples accompanying Him, He appears to be on His own.
The Jews come round him like a swarm of bees (Psalm 118:12)! They want Him to speak and confess before them that He is the Messiah. They had asked John the Baptist the same question, which he denied stating that he was merely a messenger concerning the Messiah. We too, like John, are merely messengers! But here they are tempting Him. They are making Him responsible for their unbelief! They say that He is causing them to doubt when it was their own reluctance to believe that caused them to doubt. Many accuse us of “Putting people off by the message we preach!” When it is man’s unbelief that puts people off coming to Christ. They tell us we need to show love or do miracles of healing in order to get people to want to come to know Jesus, yet there was nobody who showed more love and did more miracles that Jesus and they still called out for Him to be crucified!
Christ does not say “Yes or no”, but “I have told you!” He had told them and they still didn’t believe. So He points them to the miracles. The works that He did proved that He was the Messiah; for they knew the prophecies concerning the works of the Messiah, and they knew that He had fulfilled them.
The reason they didn’t believe was that they were not His sheep. They pretended that they were unsure, but Christ stated that they weren’t unsure—they simply didn’t believe, and this was because they were not His sheep.
Christ gives the characteristics of His sheep; they hear His voice (they recognize it v4), they can discern it amongst all the other voices even from the false shepherd (Song of Solomon 2:8). He knows them (whereas He doesn’t know those that appear to be His sheep (Matthew 7:22-23), and they follow Him. (James 1:23-25)
This is the state of the follower, they are given eternal life and shall never perish, and nobody is able to take this away from them! Though the world may despise them, though the world hate them, abuse them or persecute them, they have a treasure that is more valuable than gold. One that will never perish for even gold and silver eventually perishes.
For this reason He tells us NOT to have our minds on worldly riches and have our affections towards the world and the things of this world. (Colossians 3:2-4; John 6:27; Matthew 6:19-21)
The Pharisees did all that they could to keep people from following Christ. They sought to vilify Christ in people’s minds, or they sought to threaten people and intimidate them. But it was the Father who gave them to Him. Nobody is more powerful than the Father and no amount of money, lies and intimidation will keep the sheep from following the shepherd!
Now Christ declares that He is one with the Father.
Sabellianism (also known as modalism, modalistic monarchianism, or modal monarchism) is the nontrinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one monadic God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons within the Godhead. This heresy is known as “Oneness” today and can be seen in the teaching of the Apostolic Church Movement, United Pentecostalism and the teaching of T D Jakes.
The Arian concept of Christ is that the Son of God did not always exist, but was created by—and is therefore distinct from—God the Father. This teaching can be seen in the doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of God International, Mormonism, Iglesia ni Cristo and William Branham.
The Jews become incensed and, yet again, seek to stone Him to death! In the Greek text we find the term translated as “Took up” is the word “Ebastasai” which carries the sense that they had already come prepared with stones to stone Him. On a previous occasion they had to go looking for stones, this time they had come looking for Him and came prepared.
Christ does not rise to the occasion by defending Himself. He simply asks a question, “For which good work did they want to stone Him?”
So we see that people want a Christ who will do miracles for them, however they do not want the message that accompanies the man! Churches and Christians would rather emphasize Christ’s love and Miracles and de-emphasize His message because, as was the case with these Jews, the message is offensive.
These Jews understood the implication of His statement that “I and my Father are one!” They knew that God is one and that by stating that He and His Father were one would mean that He was equal with God. They saw Him as a man; they did not recognize His deity!
They were so zealous over the Law! They accused Him of blasphemy. Even so, none of them kept the law and it is they who were guilty of blasphemy of the worst kind—equating the power of God with that of Satan!
He was not a man who made Himself out to be God, rather He was God who made Himself into a man!
This is the same problem that Muslims have—they can accept Jesus as a man and a prophet but not as the Son of God. They view the Godhead as being three gods, they argue that 1+1+1=3, thus three gods. I answer 1x1x1=1, Three yet one God.
Christ then appeals to the Law, but He calls it “Their Law”. He quotes Psalm 82:6.
This scripture refers to men who God had called to be Judges and, therefore, they were called gods! (Exodus 7:1)
“If this is so of the likes of Moses How can I be blaspheming, then, if I call myself the Son of God? If I do not do the works of my Father you should not believe me! But if I do, even though you don’t believe my words you should believe the works because they prove that I am one with God!” (Luke 7:19-23)
A man who can turn water into wine, can heal the sick, raise the dead, walk on water and command the weather—How can He not be the Son of God?
Their hearts were hardened even more. A person that hardens their heart against Christ and the Gospel only becomes more opposed to Him. Rather than believe these Jews sought to take Him. He persisted in His doctrine and they persisted in their hatred against Him. Christ never once wavered from His teaching, His doctrine. He did not dress it up to make it more alluring, nor did He soften it to make it less offensive—He spoke the truth! And what moved them to hate Him even more was the fact that He spoke the truth concerning them!
Christ again escapes, not out of fear but out of prudence. More proof of the fact of the time and manner of His death being for a determined time and in a determined manner!
He would only return to Jerusalem at Passover when He would be taken and put to death! Christ spends the next months away from Jerusalem. He knew that the next time He set foot in the city the authorities would have Him arrested and put to death!
He does not go up North to Galilee as He had done on previous occasions but He remains in the area by the Jordan to the place where John baptized. John’s followers would have remained there so it is to them that He goes.
People flocked to Him. They had believed John to be a prophet of God and they had heard what John had to say about Him. They recognized the Spirit of God in John even though he did not work miracles. Now they saw for themselves what John meant when he spoke to them about Jesus. They acknowledged that what John had testified was the truth.
Many disdain street preaching. They see it as a bad method of reaching people. They see it as a waste of effort and that we are aimlessly squirting out milk into thin air, that most of the message we scatter is like water spilled out on the ground and wasted. They have no faith in the message. They do not see the Word as seeds from the Spirit of God that contains the very life of God in them. Though they may not be effective in the lifetime of the preacher they are alive and bring life in the hearts of men. (Ecclesiastes 11:1 & Isaiah 55:11)
Many here believed. In Jerusalem some believed but here, were John had preached before, many believed. John preached repentance whereas Christ brought reconciliation and Grace. The Gospel sounds sweetest to those who have afflicted their souls because of sin, as the publican in the temple who could only pray, “Lord have mercy upon me a sinner!” (Psalm 34:18 & 51:17; Isaiah 57:15 & 66:2)
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