John 10 Bible Study
Who’s the "shepherd" and the "sheep" (John 10:2)?
Jesus is the shepherd and His followers are the sheep.
Who’s the "thief and a robber" (John 10:1)?
How about the "doorkeeper" (John 10:3)?
Leaders who are supposed to guard and protect Jesus' followers on His behalf.
What do you think of the depiction above? How much of it is figurative and how much literal?
All of it is literal. Jesus is describing a sheepfold in a town, where the sheep of visiting shepherds are kept together. When a shepherd is ready to leave town again, he returns to the sheepfold and calls out his sheep, who recognized his voice and follow through the gate, which the doorkeeper opens. Individual flocks in the region were not thousands of animals but small enough for the shepherds to know their sheep individually and even name them like we name our pets.
What is the context of this passage?
It's the continuation of Jesus' words to the Pharisees at the end of chapter 9. He is saying that their inability to understand or follow Him shows that they don't belong to God. Since they don't understand, He shifts to another analogy below.
In John 10:7 and John 10:9, Jesus calls Himself a
"door". Is that figurative or literal?
Once again, it's literal. What Jesus is now describing is a shepherd's own sheep pen, which was either a cave or a fenced-in area with a gap in the fence. Once the sheep had been brought into the sheep pen for the night, the shepherd lay and slept across the mouth of the cave or the gap in the fence so that no sheep can leave or predator enter without awaking him; he literally served as the door of the sheep pen.
Who do you think “All” refers to in John 10:8?
The false Messiahs that came before Jesus, and by extension, after Him.
How about the "thief" in John 10:10?
And what about the "life" to be had "more abundantly" in John 10:10?
Jesus is talking about eternal life in heaven, not a materialistically abundant life on earth, which can be had without Jesus.
What do the sheep have to do to "be saved" (John 10:9)?
"Enter" by Jesus (John 10:9).
What do the sheep do in the "pasture" (John 10:9)?
What are we supposed to feed on?
The "Word" (John 1:1) of God, our "bread of life." (John 6:48)
How did the "good shepherd gives His life for the sheep" (John 10:11)?
By dying on the cross.
Jesus' sacrifice separates Him from the gods of what other religion?
All of them. The only true God turns out to be the one who gave His life for us.
What is a "hireling" (John 10:12)?
What does a hireling care about?
His own self-interest.
Who were the hirelings of the day?
The leaders of Israel.
Should Jesus' words have rang a bell by now with the Pharisees, who knew the Old Testament?
Yes, they should have remembered the prophecy given through the prophet Ezekiel: "And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock” - therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.” (Ezekiel 34:1-10)
What does he mean by “other sheep... which are not
of this fold” who will also "hear My voice" (John 10:16)?
Gentiles who will believe in Him.
Who took Jesus' life on the cross - the Jews or the Romans?
Neither. Nobody "took" Jesus' life. He gave it voluntarily: "I lay down My life... No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself." (John 10:17-18)
What powers does Jesus have?
The power to lay down His life, and the power to "take it again" (John 10:18) through resurrection.
What is the "Feast of Dedication" (John 10:22)?
It's a feast to celebrate the re-consecration of the temple of Jerusalem in 164 BC after the Jewish victory over the Syrian occupiers after the latter, in an effort to unify religion across its empire, built an altar to Zeus in the temple 3 years earlier.
What is the present name of this Jewish feast, held in late December?
Did Jesus keep the Jews in doubt about His identity and not speak plainly as
He spoke so plainly about it that "they took up stones to throw at Him" (John 8:59) the last time they squared off. (Note that a couple of months had elapsed between John 10:21, which was right after the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Feast of Dedication in John 10:22.)
Then what are they trying to do push him towards with their question in John 10:24?
What they consider to be blasphemy.
Why? And why did they "surround Him" (John 10:24)?
To try to arrest Him.
What does Jesus do?
He tells them "plainly" (John 10:24) once again.
Based on John 10:28, once you become Christian, who can
"snatch" you away from Jesus?
Nobody, and for emphasis Jesus repeats His statement in John 10:29 referencing God the Father.
Then what about the people who give up Christianity and
choose another religion or become atheist?
They were never really Christian - the sheep of Jesus - to begin with.
What about the "christians" who say, “Since we can't be
snatched away, let's do whatever we want?"
John 10:4 says His sheep "follow" Him. If they don’t follow Him, they aren't His sheep either.
What charge are the Jews bringing against Jesus that merits picking up
"stones again to stone Him" (John 10:31)?
"You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” (John 10:33)
What are they referring to?
Jesus' declaration in John 10:30, "I and My Father are one", which does equate Him with the Father.
Then are the Jews' charge against Him justified?
No, Jesus isn't a man who is making himself God; He is God declaring His deity.
What is Jesus referring to in John 10:34-36?
Psalm 82, which sarcastically calls unjust judges, "gods" (Psalm 82:6) and foretells "God" (Psalm 82:8) arising to judge the earth justly - "1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods. 2 How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3 Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked. 5 They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable. 6 I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. 7 But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations."
What is Jesus saying in John 10:37-38?
That since He walked His talk, His actions support His claim to deity, which they should believe.
How many founders of religions walked their talk like Jesus?
None. They said some things deemed to be virtuous but had trouble living up to their own words.
How do you think Jesus “escaped out of their hand” in John 10:39?
Probably just walked right through them again like He did in John 9:59.
Where did He go thereafter?
He went "Beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first" (John 10:40), which sounds like Bethabara on the other side of the Jordan river that we read about in John chapter 1: "These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing." (John 1:28)