The Good Shepherd.
The Shepherd of the Sheep.
The Feast of Dedication.
The Jews Seek to Stone Jesus.
He Teaches Beyond Jordan.
1. He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold. The
sheepfold is a figure of the church, the door into which is Christ. The
sheepfolds of the East are large enclosures, open to the sky, but
walled around with reeds or stones or brick in order to afford a
protection against robbers, wolves, and other beasts of prey. There is
a large door at which the shepherd enters with the sheep.
2. He that entereth in by the door. The one who comes in by the
door is the shepherd. The figure is very plain to those familiar with
Eastern sheepfolds. The door is for the shepherd and the sheep, while
those who get in otherwise are robbers who seek to prey upon the
3. To him the porter openeth. The gatekeeper whose business is
to guard the entrance. This servant was furnished with arms to fight
off intruders, but the shepherd he would let in. It is not certain that
Christ intended to make the porter a figure of any spiritual thing, but
if so, he would represent God, who has decided who shall enter through
And the sheep hear his voice. This is true to the letter. The
sheep in the East are so tame and so trained that they follow their
keeper with the utmost docility. He leads them forth from the fold just
where he pleases. The Eastern shepherds lead their sheep, while
in our country we drive them.
He calleth his own sheep by name. This corresponds exactly with
the facts of Eastern shepherd life. They give names to sheep as we do
to horses, cows, and dogs. "Passing by a flock of sheep," says Mr.
Hartley, "I asked the shepherd to call one of his sheep. He instantly
did so, and it left its pasturage and its companions, and ran to the
shepherd with a promptitude and signs of pleasure that I never
4, 5. The sheep follow him: for they know his voice. Also
literally true in the East as all travelers testify, but a
stranger they will not follow, because his voice is strange. So
true is it that when a traveler has changed dress with the shepherd for
an experiment, they still have followed the disguised shepherd's voice
and refused to listen to the voice of a stranger in the garb of their
6. This parable spake Jesus unto them. The Greek word
rendered here "parable" is not so rendered elsewhere. It is rather a
7. I am the door of the sheep.
speak of shepherds in general. These shepherds enter into the fold and
go out by the same door as the sheep. Christ is that door; the Door
of the sheep, the one door for all, both sheep and shepherds. There
is no other way in, for "there is no other name, under heaven, given
among men, whereby we must be saved."
8. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers. Abbott
holds that the idea is, "All who came, not entering through the door,
but claiming to be before me, having the precedence, independent of me,
are thieves and robbers." This seems to harmonize with the context, and
is probably the Savior's meaning. He included the Jewish rabbis, the
Greek philosophers, the pretended prophets, and the "Infallible Pope."
These all refuse to bow to his authority.
But the sheep did not hear them. The true sheep.
9. By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved. Christ is at
once the door, the shepherd and the pasture. His pasture is the bread
and the water of life.
10. The thief cometh not, but to steal. All those who enter
otherwise than by the door wish to prey upon the flock.
11. I am the good shepherd. This title, applied to Jehovah in
Christ here applies to himself. The mark of the good shepherd is
that he giveth his life for his sheep. In that unsettled country
the shepherd had often to defend his flock.
12. But he that is a hireling . . . leaveth the sheep, and
fleeth. It is not the bare fact of a man receiving pay that makes
him a hireling. "The laborer is worthy of his hire."
He is a hireling who would not work were it not for this hire, and who
works where the hire is highest rather than were he can do the most
16. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold. Not
Jews, of whom his followers then were, but Gentiles who would soon be
called to him. These would hear his voice, enter through the door, into
the same fold as the Jewish Christians, so that there would be "one
fold and one shepherd." There is only one Church and one door into it,
and one Shepherd over it.
18. I lay it down of myself. His life. He gave himself for man
of his free will. He laid it down
on the cross; he took it up when he rose from the dead. Abbott says of
the lesson in
these eighteen verses,
"I understand this lesson to be
a parable with a double application. First, Christ compares the
Pharisees to shepherds, himself to the door, and declares that those
only are true shepherds who enter through the door; that is, through
Christ and his authority. All others are thieves and robbers. Then he
changes the application and declares himself the good shepherd whose
praises David and Isaiah sung, and indicates the nature of the service
that he will render unto his sheep by giving for them his life."
22. It was . . . the feast of dedication. Two months after the
last incidents, which occurred at and shortly after the Feast of
Tabernacles. The Feast of Dedication occurred in December, was not
divinely appointed, but was instituted by Judas Maccabæus in
B. C. 164, to commemorate the purification of the temple after it
had been defiled by the Syrians. Jesus took the occasion to teach the
people that came together. There is no proof that he observed it.
23. Walked . . . in Solomon's porch. A long covered colonnade
that was a part of the temple.
24. The Jews . . . said. The ruling class. They came, not for
information, but to secure ground for accusation.
25. I told you, and ye believed not. See
John 5:19; 8:36, 56, 58
26. Ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep. Not from lack
of proof, but from a lack within themselves. If, as his sheep, they
would follow (hear and obey), they would recognize him.
28. I give unto them eternal life. To his sheep. Eternal life
means, not eternal existence, but eternal bliss. God hath made the soul
deathless, but it may exist in banishment from heaven.
29. No man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. The
sheep who hear his voice and follow him
This is the condition of their safety. If they comply with it God's
grace will save them from the adversary.
30, 31. I and my Father are one. Are so united that the Father
is pledged to keep the sheep of the Son. These words the Jews held to
be blasphemy, and sought to stone him. Compare
33. For blasphemy. Because he said he and the Father were one.
34-36. Is it not written in your law. In
I said, Ye are gods? It was there addressed to judges. Christ's
argument is: If your law calls judges gods, why should I be held guilty
of blasphemy for saying that I am the Son of God?
Sanctified. Set apart.
39. Therefore they sought again to take him. A few moments
before they would have stoned him by mob violence
but when they had cooled somewhat they sought to arrest him.
40. And went away again beyond Jordan. He had been nearly three
months in Jerusalem, a very stormy ministry. Twice efforts were made to
twice, to arrest him
(7:32, 45; 10:39).
His time would not come yet for three months, till the next passover,
and he retired from the storm for a season. In the other gospels there
are recorded a number of the incidents of his ministry beyond the