John 10

Jesus says he is the gate or door to the sheep pen. He says he is the Good Shepherd. He proclaims that he and the Father are one. The Father is in him and he in the Father. The religious establishment pick up stones to execute him prematurely. He replies to their mob mentality with Scripture. Ps. 82 is discussed in detail here in vv. 34-36. He withdraws.

As I write in every introduction:

This translation and commentary are for everyone who needs an online reference, but the commentary is mainly for readers in developing and persecuting countries, where Christians cannot afford or do not have access to excellent printed Study Bibles or commentaries. The main goal is missional.

The translation is mine. I offer it only to learn what the Greek says. It tends to be literal, but complete literalness and readability are impossible, so I had to make adjustments.

Readers can go to and use the interlinear link to look up every Greek word, and then the links go to every occurrence of the word. They can also visit for many translations.

A GrowApp section is offered after every passage of Scripture, which asks challenging questions for deeper discipleship.

Links are provided for further study.

Let’s begin.

Jesus’s Sheep Hear His Voice (John 10:1-6)

1 “I tell you the firm truth: The one not entering through the door into the sheep pen but climbs over by another way is a thief and a robber. 2 But the one entering through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To this one the doorkeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and goes out with them. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, and they recognize his voice. 5 They do not in any way follow a stranger but flee from him because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus told them this figurative language, but they did not understand what things they were that he spoke to them.


Since the verb believe and the noun faith are so important in John’s Gospel, I would like to plant word studies at the beginning of each chapter. Then you can scroll back up here to read what the terms mean. I paste this word study again because this is online writing, so I don’t have to worry about cost per printed page.

The verb believe (verb is pisteuō, pronounced pih-stew-oh) and the noun faith have to penetrate one’s whole being. The noun faith is pistis (pronounced peace-teace or pis-tiss), and it is used 243 times. Its basic meaning is the “belief, trust, confidence,” and it can also mean “faithfulness” and “trustworthy” (Mounce p. 232). It is directional, and the best direction is faith in God (Mark 11:22; 1 Thess. 1:8; 1 Pet. 1:21; Heb. 6:1) and faith in Jesus (Acts 3:16; 20:21; 24:24; Gal. 3:26; Eph. 1:15; Col. 1:4; 1 Tim. 3:13). Believing (verb) and faith (noun) is very important to God. It is the language of heaven. We live on earth and by faith see the invisible world where God is. We must believe he exists; then we must exercise our faith to believe he loves us and intends to save us.

A true acronym:



Forsaking All, I Trust Him

One has to completely surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. The bottom line is that for John’s Gospel believing and faith must not get stuck in an intellectual assent. “I believe that God exists and Jesus lived.” Instead, everyone who believes or has faith must put their complete trust in God’s Son.

Word Study on Faith and Faithfulness

Now let’s move on.


Jesus is still speaking to the Pharisees, and they are the strangers in this proverbial teaching.

“I tell you the firm truth”: it literally read, “amen, amen, I tell you.” Truth” comes from the word amēn (pronounced ah-main and comes into English as amen). In the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) Jesus says amen only once (“amen, I tell you”), but in John he very often says the word twice, so I translate the double word as “firm truth.” It expresses the authority of the one who utters it. The Hebrew root ’mn means faithfulness, reliability and certainty. It could be translated as “Truly, truly I tell you” or “I tell you with utmost certainty.” (Bruce has “indeed and truly I tell you”). Jesus’s faith in his own words is remarkable and points to his unique calling. It means we must pay attention to it, for it is authoritative. He is about to declare an important and solemn message or statement. The clause appears only on the lips of Jesus in the NT.

Word Study: Truth

So now here is Jesus’s solemn pronouncement. It’s the Pharisees, as a single collective, who are the thief and the robber. The man born blind from birth sought help from the religious leaders, but they were impotent before his congenital blindness. They were not his true shepherds, who actually care for people, not cross-examine them in a courtroom, as we saw in John 9.

Quick Reference to Jewish Groups in Gospels and Acts

Let’s set up our two-level diagram, reading from the bottom up.

2.. What Does It or He Symbolize?


1.. Physical Object or Person

Now let’s fill in the diagram.

2.. The Pharisees, Religious Establishment


1.. Thief and robber

The thief and robber mislead the sheep, exploits them, steals them away from the true shepherd, destroys their faith with falseness—false doctrine or an over-emphasis on the law and heavy-handed regulations. Such were the Pharisees.

“Woe to the worthless shepherd,
    who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm and his right eye!
    May his arm be completely withered,
    his right eye totally blinded!” (Zech. 11:17, NIV)

Here is another passage on what bad shepherd do:

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. (Jer. 23:1-2, NIV)

Here is how God will intervene. He will tend the sheep themselves, and then place good shepherds over them.

“I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior. (Jer. 23:3-6, NIV)

So vv. 5-6 elevates the prophecy to include a righteous Branch from the line of David, the people’s Righteous Savior.


Jesus uses two metaphors: the door and the shepherd. So let’s set up our two-level diagram again.

2.. The way into eternal life, salvation through Jesus alone


1.. Door

Jesus will say that he is the door (v. 7). And in v. 8, he will say that anyone who enters through it will be saved. Only he is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by him. He is the entrance to a secure relationship with the Father (14:6).

For more information about the shepherd, see v. 11.


It is not clear to who the doorkeeper is. He is probably an undershepherd, or he may be the hired man, though this man abandons the sheep (v. 12), while the doorkeeper is responsible enough to open the door to the shepherd. He may be a foil in this illustration, to contrast him with the Good Shepherd (v. 11). A good man, but not on the same rank as the Good Shepherd. He opens the door / gate to the Good Shepherd.

I really like Bruce’s comments here.

The details were familiar to many of Jesus’ hearers; even today they are aptly illustrated by the way of a shepherd with his sheep in the Holy Land. The fold [pen] would be a stone enclosure, roughly square in shape, with an entrance on one side. This entrance was guarded by a doorkeeper or watchman whose business it was to admit authorized persons and keep out intruders. If anyone were seen climbing into the fold on one of the other sides, it was safe to assume that he was an intruder, up to no good. To discourage such persons, the top of the wall might be protected by briars. (Bruce, comment on vv. 3-5)

Bruce goes on to say that in the Scottish Highlands the shepherds claimed that he could call each sheep by his name, and the sheep would respond to it. It was the personal bond between each sheep and the shepherd. And the shepherd of the Bible days did not have a sheepdog.

I recall hearing a real-life illustration on a youtube channel. A European was having a picnic lunch in Palestine and saw flocks of sheep being led to a waterhole. The sheep from different flocks mingled. How would the shepherds sort them out? When the shepherds finished visiting, each shepherd, one at a time, raised his voice, called out, and the sheep snapped awake, leaped to their feet, and followed their shepherd out to the fields. No shepherd lost one sheep, for they recognized his voice. They followed him when he called.

Believing in his name means to believe in him, his person, his character, and his being—who he is, the Lord, the Son of God and the Messiah. The noun name stands in for the person—a living, real person. Let’s develop this thought, so it can apply to you.

What’s in a name?

You carry your earthly father’s name. If he is dysfunctional, his name is a disadvantage. If he is functional and impacting society for the better, then his name is an advantage. In Jesus’s case, he has the highest status in the universe, next to the Father (Col. 1:15-20). He is exalted above every principality and power (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-23; Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8). His character is perfection itself. His authority and power are absolute, under the Father. In his name you are seated in the heavenly places with Christ (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1). Now down here on earth you walk and live as an ambassador in his name, in his stead, for he is no longer living on earth, so you have to represent him down here. We are his ambassadors who stand in for his name (2 Cor. 5:20). The good news is that he did not leave you without power and authority. He gave you his. Now you represent him in his name—his person, power and authority. Therefore under his authority we have his full authority to preach the gospel and set people free from bondages and satanic spirits and heal them of diseases.

Remember that believing in his name is more than just intellectual assent or agreement with a doctrine. Belief has to go from the head to the heart (1:6-8), or so says the entirety of the Gospel of John.


“figurative language”: this is not quite the same as a parable, but a proverb. In any case, the Pharisees were supposed to recognize themselves in this figure of speech—the thief and robber—and the people were also to see themselves in the illustration—the sheep. Jesus was the door, and relationship with him is the way to relationship with the Father.


The sheep in the fold [pen] were protected by the walls. But when the shepherd summoned his own sheep out of the fold, what protection had they then? None, except what he provided. So long as they kept close to him, however, all was well: it is the mark of a good shepherd that he defends his sheep, even at the risk of his own life. This good shepherd is not only revealed as the true King of Israel; he is also the obedient Servant of the Lord, fulfilling the first part of his commission—‘to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him. (Isa. 49:5). (comment on v. 6)

Go to John 12:37-43 for a fuller explanation of figurative language and the religious leaders’ inability to understand.

GrowApp for John 10:1-6

A.. How did you first hear his voice that led to your salvation and relationship with him? Tell your story.

B.. How do you keep hearing his voice through the Word and the Spirit—both?

Jesus Is the Good Shepherd (John 10:7-21)

7 Then Jesus again said: “I tell you the firm truth: I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came ahead of me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep do not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved and will go in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came so that they may have life and have it in abundance. 11 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired man is not a shepherd, and the sheep do not belong to him. He sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and flees—then he catches and scatters them—13 because he is a hired man and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know my own, and my own know me. 15 Just as the Father knows me, I also know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 Further, I have other sheep which are not of this sheep pen. I must lead them, and they will hear my voice and will become one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason, the Father loves me because I lay down my life, in order that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. I have received this commandment from my Father.”

19 Again there was a division among the Jews, because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is out of his mind. Why do you listen to him?” 21 Others were saying, “These words are not of a demonized man. A demon can in no way open the eyes of the blind, can he?



“I tell you the firm truth”: please see v. 1 for more comments. Jesus intends to drive home the point and add some important proverbs or figures of speech.

“door”: please v. 2 for more information. In v. 8 he will say that anyone who enters through it will be saved.

This is the third of seven “I am” statements: I am door / gate. In Exod. 3:14, in the Septuagint (pronounced sep-TOO-ah-gent, a third to second century BC translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek), the Greek reads: “the LORD says, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’” (egō eimi, pronounced eh-goh ay-mee) is used in the phrasing (along with ho ōn). This is high Christology.


1 I Am the Bread of Life (6:35, 48) and Living Bread (6:51)
2 I Am the Light of the World (8:12)
3 I Am the Gate (10:7, 9)
4 I Am the Good Shepherd (10:11, 14)
5 I am the Resurrection and the Life (11:25)
6 I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (14:6)
7 I am the True Vine (15:1, 5)
BTSB, p. 2163, slightly edited

Or Jesus may refer to the “I am he” passages in Is. 40-55, as he did at John 8:24. Here is a list (all NIV and emphasis added):

Who has done this and carried it through,
calling forth the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord—with the first of them
and with the last—I am he.” (Is. 41:4)

10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
11 I, even I, am the Lord,
and apart from me there is no savior.
12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
13     Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?” (Is. 43:10-13, see v. 25)

Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Is. 46:4)

“Listen to me, Jacob,
Israel, whom I have called:
I am he;
I am the first and I am the last.
13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I summon them,
they all stand up together. (Is. 48:12-13)

12 I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mere mortals,
human beings who are but grass,
13 that you forget the Lord your Maker,
who stretches out the heavens
and who lays the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
because of the wrath of the oppressor,
who is bent on destruction? (Is. 51:12-13)

This is high Christology.


There is a little manuscript dispute, but let’s not trouble ourselves about it. There are many false shepherds, who are thieves and robbers. They are up to no good and will steal, kill and destroy (v. 10). See v. 1 for a few more ideas on what thieves and robbers do.

Jesus said “all who came before me.” To whom does that refer? Klink: “While this need not include as ‘thieves and robbers’ the faithful OT prophets, since they were true heralds of Christ, even ‘shepherding’ of Moses and the other OT prophets were insufficient in and of itself; they were temporary shepherds who shepherded through a veil which is only removed in the presence of the true shepherd (2 Cor. 3:7-18). The ‘exclusiveness and absoluteness’ of Christ not only supplements previous shepherding but fulfills it” (comment on v. 8). I’m not clear that “all” is so absolute, and since Jesus was talking to the religious establishment (Pharisees), he may be making a firm statement simply against them.


It is hard to imagine a clearer way, within a metaphor, to express Jesus’s exclusive claim on salvation. He will repeat this again in John 14:6. See the table under v. 7.

The verb is sōzō: Since the theology of salvation (soteriology) is so critical for our lives, let’s look more closely at the noun salvation, which is sōtēria (pronounced soh-tay-ree-ah and used 46 times) and at the verb sōzō (pronounced soh-zoh and used 106 times)

Greek is the language of the NT. BDAG defines the noun sōtēria as follows, depending on the context: (1) “deliverance, preservation” … (2) “salvation.”

The verb sōzō means “save, rescue, heal” in a variety of contexts, but mostly it is used of saving the soul. BDAG is considered by many to be the authoritative lexicon of the Greek NT, and it says that the verb means, depending on the context: (1) “to preserve or rescue from natural dangers and afflictions, save, keep from harm, preserve,” and the sub-definitions under no. 1 are as follows: save from death; bring out safely; save from disease; keep, preserve in good condition; thrive, prosper, get on well; (2) “to save or preserve from transcendent danger or destruction, save or preserve from ‘eternal’ death … “bring Messianic salvation, bring to salvation,” and in the passive it means “be saved, attain salvation”; (3) some passages in the NT say we fit under the first and second definition at the same time (Mark 8:5; Luke 9:24; Rom. 9:27; 1 Cor. 3:15).

As I will note throughout this commentary, the noun salvation and the verb save go a lot farther than just preparing the soul to go on to heaven. Together, they have additional benefits: keeping and preserving and rescuing from harm and dangers; saving or freeing from diseases and demonic oppression; and saving or rescuing from sin dominating us; ushering into heaven and rescuing us from final judgment. What is our response to the gift of salvation? You are grateful and then you are moved to act. When you help or rescue one man from homelessness or an orphan from his oppression, you have moved one giant step towards salvation of his soul. Sometimes feeding a hungry man and giving clothes to the naked or taking him to a medical clinic come before saving his soul.

All of it is a package called salvation and being saved.

Word Study on Salvation

What Is the Work of Salvation?

How Do We Respond to God’s Salvation?

I love the idea of the sheep going in and out of the door—Jesus—and finding pasture. Recall Ps. 23, quoted above, under v. 2. Salvation brings rest to the soul.


This a very famous verse among Renewalists. They look for satanic attacks that steal their abundance, kill their rest and pasture, and inflict a general destruction on their abundant life. However, the context is bad religious leaders—the Pharisees, in this case—whose lack of perspective put a healed man on trial in the previous chapter. They are the worthless shepherds who climb over by another way. Today, they can come in the form of all bad human shepherds or false teachers.

Nonetheless, I believe it can be expanded, pastorally, to encompass satanic attacks. A pastor (that is, a true under-shepherd, genuinely serving under the Good Shepherd) should proclaim to his congregation—his flock—that Satan intends to steal, kill and destroy.

“life”: this is more than mere existence. This is life of the next age, that age, which has broken into this age or right now. In other words, eternal life happens now, but we must be careful not to believe that everything in the new age, in everlasting life, is happening now. This is called over-realized eschatology (study of ends times and new ages). Not every new-age blessing becomes realized or accomplished right now. But let’s not remain negative. We get some benefits of the next age or new age right now. We get some benefits of eternal life, right now.

5 The Kingdom of God: Already Here, But Not Yet Fully

Let’s look at life by the book—by the prominent Greek lexicon.

It is the noun zoē (pronounced zoh-ay, and girls are named after it, e.g. Zoey). BDAG says that it has two senses, depending on the context: a physical life (e.g. life and breath) and a transcendent life. By physical life the editors mean the period from birth to death, human activity, a way or manner of living, a period of usefulness, earning a living. By transcendent life the lexicographers mean these four elements: first, God himself is life and offers us everlasting life. Second, Christ is life, who received life from God, and now we can receive life from Christ. Third, it is new life of holiness and righteousness and grace. God’s life filling us through Christ changes our behavior. Fourth, zoē means life in the age to come, or eschatological life. So our new life now will continue into the next age, which God fully and finally ushers in when Christ returns. We will never experience mere existence or death, but we will be fully and eternally alive in God.

Clearly, John means the fourth definition.

After listing really evil dictators of the twentieth century, who had ambitions to create heaven on earth, Carson refers to another commentator (Roy Clements) “Jesus is right. It is not the Christian doctrine of heaven that is the myth, but the humanist dream of utopia” (comment on vv. 9-10). Exactly. Excellent.


Jesus uses the present tense (“lays down his life”). Mounce says that the present tense “suggests that Jesus is speaking primarily of his entire life (not simply his death) as sacrificial. The incarnation in its entirety was an act of unbelievable condescension. The eternal Son laid down his life by becoming a man and living among us. Because he was a good shepherd, his life and death as the ideal leader of the flock is a model beautiful to behold” (comments on v. 11).

Jesus uses another figure of speech. He was the shepherd in v. 3, but here he uses the deeper egō eimi. See the table under v. 7.

Once again let’s set up the two-level interpretation:

2.. What Does It or He Symbolize?


1.. Physical Object or Person

2.. Jesus’s true leadership and care of God’s people


1.. Shepherd

So what does a shepherd do? He does the opposite of the thief and robber. The OT is filled with references to shepherds. Let’s begin with Ps. 23:1-4:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. (Ps. 23:1-4, NIV)

So a good shepherd feeds, leads and helps the sheep. Sometimes the sheep has to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but the shepherd’s rod and staff comforts and keeps him safe. Jesus will give you life and abundant life (v. 10).

In the next passage, God himself will tend to his sheep. Look at the wonderful things he will do for them, now through his Son, the Good Shepherd:

14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. (Ezek. 34:14-16, NIV)

I like the binding up of the injured. As for destroying the strong, some ancient versions say, “watch over,” so we have a manuscript dispute. Let’s focus on the positive.

Jesus is the Savior-Shepherd. He is such a good shepherd that he lays down his life for the sheep.

This is a verse which theologians who believe in limited atonement (Christ died for the elect only and not everyone). However, it is never a good idea to “limit” his atonement by indirect reasoning.

Example: (a) people can never resist his grace for salvation; (b) not all people are saved; (c) therefore his grace for salvation is not offered to everyone; and (d) therefore his salvation done on the cross (atonement) is limited to the elect or those who were called by grace; (e) and therefore, finally, the atonement is limited to the elect. Convoluted and indirect.

It is better to look directly at verses covering Christ’s atoning death on the cross—and he died for all. “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2, NIV, emphasis added). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding off his blood—to be received by faith (Rom. 3:23-25, NIV, emphasis added). This effects of redemption and atonement are received by faith. Therefore, the door is open to anyone and everyone—all—who have faith to receive his grace, which leads to redemption and the atonement being applied to anyone and everyone—all—who have faith! The initiative begins with God, and our faith responds to his freely offered grace—offered to anyone and everyone—all. His grace is efficacious or effective to the everyone who believes or has faith, and Christ’s sacrifice of atonement is received by faith.

Atonement: Bible Basics

Why the Cross?

The cross changes everything. As I read things, the call of the gospel goes to all, but some won’t respond in faith, but many will. Grace is resistible.

Jesus is about to announce that he has sheep who are not part of the current sheep pen, so this opens the atonement to future people. The number is potentially limitless.

Most importantly, this verse supports substitutionary atonement. Jesus took our place on the cross. He was our substitute.

What Is Penal Substitution?


The hired man does not care about the sheep as deeply as the shepherd does. He is a wage earner; he is not invested as deeply in the business as the shepherd it. The sheep do not recognize his voice. When the wolf comes—another expression for a thief or a robber—the hired man runs away. Then the wolf has easy pickings.

Clearly the Pharisees, as a collective, are the hired man, though Bruce seems to see him as a generic guardian (comment on vv. 10-13). Carson says he may embody religious leaders who performed their duty well enough in normal times, but only when they are paid (comment on vv. 12-13).

“In the economy of God, the door is not an inanimate object or mere periphery; the door is the access point to God and therefore entirely under his control. Never before has one person been a door and a shepherd, but never before had the Word became flesh (1:14)” (Klink, comment on v. 11).


In v. 16 it is implied that the new sheep “will become one flock (under) one shepherd.”

Jesus contrasts the good shepherd with the hired man. He recognized his own (sheep) and his own (sheep) recognize the good shepherd.

The equal intimacy of knowledge between the Father and the Son is deep and amazing.

Once again, Jesus proclaims that he will lay down his life for the sheep. See v. 11 for more comments about substitutionary atonement.

Jesus looks to the future and predicts more sheep who will enter through the door, and they will hear his voice, just like the current sheep do. They will be united, living in unity, as one flock, with one shepherd. He is referring to Gentiles (non-Jews). It is good to know that we too are included in this flock, even though we live two thousand years later.


These words of Jesus, then, point to the Gentile mission and to the formation of the community, comprising believing Jews and believing Gentiles, in which there is ‘neither Jew nor Greek’ (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11). The Jewish ‘sheep’ had to be led out of the ‘fold’ … before they could be united with the ‘other sheep’ to form one new flock …. What was to hold this enlarged flock together and supply the necessary protection from external enemies? Not enclosing walls but the person and power of the shepherd. The unity and safety of the people of Christ depend on their proximity to him … The walls have either been so comprehensive as to enclose a number of wolves along with the sheep (with disastrous consequences for the sheep), or they have been so restrictive as to exclude more sheep than they enclose. (comment on vv. 14-16)

Here is how the apostolic community carried out this unity between converted Jews and converted Gentiles:

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:26-29, NIV)

Two groups in the next excerpt are Jews and Gentiles:

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (Eph. 2:11-22, NIV)


Jesus lays it down, and the Father loves his obedience. Never forget that when you walk in obedience, the Father smiles on you. Please don’t believe that if you are disobedient, he hates you. He still loves you, but he will nudge you along to become obedient. Jesus proclaims that he takes his life back up again, referring to the resurrection. “Just as God is not merely one person but three persons, so also the role of shepherd is uniquely and necessarily shared by both the Father and the Son. And just as the cross is historically the epitome of death, so it is at the same time also the source of life—not only for Jews but also (and mysteriously) for the gentiles” (Klink, comment on v. 17).


It is important to know that not the Roman or Jewish authorities had the power to take Jesus’s life from him. He lays it down voluntarily. I recall these verses. Peter just cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear.

52 At that moment, Jesus said to him, “Return your sword to its place! For all taking the sword, by the sword will they perish!”  53 Or do you think that I am not able to call on my Father, and he will put at my disposal, now, more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:52-53)

Jesus had so much authority that he could call on his Father to send angels to stop the whole arrest. But the Father and the Son had a bigger plan.

Further, Jesus explains that his authority is derived from the Father.

“authority”: it is the noun exousia (pronounced ex-oo-see-ah), and it means, depending on the context: “right to act,” “freedom of choice,” “power, capability, might, power, authority, absolute power”; “power or authority exercised by rulers by virtue of their offices; official power; domain or jurisdiction, spiritual powers.”

The difference between authority and power is parallel to a policeman’s badge and his gun. The badge symbolizes his right to exercise his power through his gun, if necessary. The gun backs up his authority with power. But the distinction should not be pressed too hard, because exousia can also mean “power.”

“commandment”: In this case it seems this word is a synonym for “authority.”  Long ago, in eternity past, the Father and Son and the Spirit held a council and reached the decision that the creation of humanity was worth the risk. They knew that humanity would rebel, but they also decreed that the Son would redeem them. The Father and Son loved the whole world, despite their rebellion. This is what is meant by receiving the commandment of the Father.

Covenant of Redemption

“For this shepherd will not carry a wooden staff but a wooden cross. And the food and drink these sheep receive from this shepherd is not found in the field and steam but in his body and blood. That is why Jesus, the Good Shepherd speaks of his shepherding so strongly. For Jesus is fulfilling what God promised long ago that ‘I will save my flock’ (Ezek. 34:22). And this salvation is made possible at the cross” (Klink, comment on v. 18).


The Jews here go beyond the Pharisees to include the Jerusalem establishment, the religious leaders. (Klink believes these are ordinary Jews.) So they were divided, just as they were in John 9:16. Deut. 13:1-5 says that a prophet could perform signs, but he may lead people astray. Some of the establishment believed he may be a prophet like that. Jesus withstood many criticisms. How about us?

“words”: in v. 19 the noun logos is used (pronounced log-goss). In the plural logoi (pronounced lo-goi). The noun is rich in meaning. It is used 330 times in the NT. Since it is so important, let’s explore the noun more deeply, as I do in this entire commentary series.

The noun is rich and full of meaning. It always has built into it rationality and reason. It has spawned all sorts of English words that end in –log-, like theology or biology, or have the log– stem in them, like logic.

Though certain Renewalists may not like to hear it, there is a rational side to the Word of God, and a moment’s thought proves it. The words you’re reading right now are placed in meaningful and logical and rational order. The Bible is also written in that way. If it weren’t, then it would be nonsense and confusing, and we couldn’t understand the gibberish. (Even your prophecies have to make logical and rational sense on some level!) Your Bible studies and Sunday morning sermons have to make sense, also. Matthew’s Gospel has logic and rational argumentation built into it. People need to be ministered to in this way. God gave us minds and brains and expects us to use them. Your preaching cannot always be flashy and shrieky and so outlandishly entertaining that people are not fed in the long term. Movements like that don’t last over the years without the Word. I have observed this from firsthand experience in certain sectors of the Renewal Movement.

People have the deepest need to receive solid teaching. Never become so outlandishly supernatural and entertaining that you neglect the reasonable and rational and logical side of preaching the gospel and teaching the Bible.

On the other side of the word logos, people get so intellectual that they build up an exclusive Christian caste of intelligentsia that believe they alone can teach and understand the Word. Not true.

Bottom line: Just study Scripture with Bible helps and walk in the Spirit, as they did in Acts. Combining Word and Spirit is the balanced life.

It should be pointed out that Jesus often uses another noun for word: rhēma (pronounced rhay-mah). In John’s Gospel, synonyms are used often, so let’s not make a big thing of the nuanced differences. In any case, I wanted to point out for today’s Bible teacher in my corner of the church world that we must have better teaching or doctrine whether it is the logos or the rhēma.

GrowApp for John 10:7-21

A.. Jesus is the good shepherd. You are a sheep. He laid won his life for you. What does his sacrificial love mean to you?

I and My Father Are One (John 10:22-30)

22 At that time it was the Feast of Dedication; it was winter. 23 Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 Then the Jews encircled him and were saying to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus replied to them, “I have told you and you do not believe. The works which I do in my Father’s name—these testify about me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me, 28 and I give them eternal life. And they will never perish, and no one snatches them from my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch it from my Father’s hands. 30 I and my Father are one.”



These verses set up the dialogue. The temple in Jerusalem was captured by Antiochus Epiphanes and held for three years (167-164, B.C.). He set up an idolatrous altar on top of the altar of Israel’s God.  The Feast of Dedication celebrates the recapture of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus and his followers and reconstruction to its proper use in 25 Kislev ( = 14 December), 164 B.C. The Festival of Dedication is also called Ḥanukkah (pronounced khah-nook-kah), which commemorates the event. It is celebrated with lights, so it is further called the Festival or Feast of Lights. Jews today light candles in honor of those events and to remember the miraculous supply of oil to keep the sacred lampstand burning. You can look up more details everywhere online.

John mentions winter and Solomon’s covered colonnade possibly to indicate to indicate why Jesus sought shelter under it, which ran on the east side of the outer court of Herod’s temple. It must have been rainy.

In the book of Acts, Peter addressed the crowd there when they gathered to see a lame man healed (Acts 3:11). The Jerusalem believers regularly gathered there (Acts 5:12).


John used “plainly” three times in Chapter 7 (vv. 4, 13, 26). Here it could be translated as “openly” or “publicly.” Too many of the establishment and ordinary Jews had blinded eyes (John 12:40). They had a political or military expectation, so they could not perceive his Messiahship.

Mounce says that the Greek idiom “how long will you keep us in suspense” can also be translated as “how much longer will you persist in provoking us to anger” (comment on v. 24). The religious authorities want to flush him out in the open to proclaim himself Messiah, but if he had done so, people would have misunderstood him to be a military Messiah, but he instead wanted first to be the Suffering Servant. When he comes back a second time, he will defeat all of his enemies.

11 They surrounded me on every side,
but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
in the name of the Lord I cut them down. ….

22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad. …

27 The Lord is God,
and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar. (Ps. 118:11-12, 22-24, 27, NIV)

Judas Maccabaeus was nicknamed the “hammer.” “But this hero [Jesus] comes not like a ‘hammer’ but as a lamb—the Lamb of God (1:29)” (Klink, comment on v. 24).

What does the term Christ or Messiah really mean? The term means the Anointed One. In Hebrew it is Messiah, and in Greek it is Christ. It means that the Father through the Spirit equipped Jesus with his special calling and the fulness of power to preach and minister to people, healing their diseases and expelling demons (though demon expulsion is not mentioned in John’s Gospel). The Messiah / Christ ushered in the kingdom of God by kingdom preaching and kingdom works.

3. Titles of Jesus: The Son of David and the Messiah


The phrase “In my Father’s name” indicates that Jesus was surrendered to his Father; Jesus did not act on his own and by his own authority but was in close communication with him. If the religious establishment really knew God, they would perceive that Jesus was from the Father and his works were signaled to him from the Father, so that they would believe. In other words, the Father told him to work this or that miracle. If they truly knew his Father, they would connect the dots, and Jesus’s works would show that he is in intimate contact with the Father and was sent by the Father.

As I have noted elsewhere, here is the purpose of the signs, without a complicated commentary:

30 So then Jesus performed many other signs in front of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 These were written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)

The signs are for us to believe that he is the Messiah (or Christ), the Son of God. They are signposts, which point to Jesus and his glory.


The restoration of health, the restoration of sight, and the forthcoming restoration of life (in the Lazarus incident) were all works declaring the character as well as the power of God to those whose hearts were not totally insensitive. But where the heart of the spectator was insensitive, each successive work served but to harden it the more: it was raising of Lazarus that made Jesus’ enemies finally resolve to encompass his death (John 11:53). (comment on v. 25)

For more comments on the noun name, please scroll back up to v. 3.


In the prologue to John’s Gospel (1:1-18), Jesus came to his own, but they did not recognize him (1:11). The religious establishment and many ordinary Jews were part of the non-receivers. His sheep, in contrast, recognize his voice and follow him. He calls them by name because he knows each one by name (10:3-4). It is good to know that God is personal. He knows us better than we know ourselves. His sheep already follow him because they have already responded to his call. There is no word about God limiting the call just to the select few. The call goes out to everyone; some respond positively, and others respond, by their significant degree of free will, negatively. The religious establishment and many other Jews responded negatively, but some responded positively. After Pentecost, many thousands of Jerusalem and Judean Jews converted (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 6:7 [large number of priests], and 21:20).

“There is no God without Jesus, and there is no belief in God without believing in Jesus. Just as the Father works through the Son (v. 25), so also it is the Son that makes the Father known” (Klink, comment on v. 26).

In Jesus’s rebuke of the Jews, he is saying, “It is not just their (passive) inability to recognize him as their shepherd; it is also his (active) rejection of them as his sheep. Not only are the Jewish authorities declared incompetent as shepherds (10:1-21), but they are now no longer even able to call themselves sheep!” (Klink, comment on v. 27).


“eternal life”: see v. 10 for the basics. Jesus now promises his sheep eternal life, as he had before (3:15, 16, 6:40, 47). To have eternal life means that one lives forever (6:51, 58) or he will never see or taste death (8:51-52). Here in v. 27, his sheep will never perish, as John 3:16 famously says.

No one can snatch them out of his hand. Literally the Greek reads “anyone” or “someone” will not snatch them out of his hand. We have five characters. The Father, Jesus, the thief (v. 10), the sheep, and “someone.” The first two do not want to turn their hand upside down and drop the one sheep. The thief, which is the religious establishment, but let’s expand it to mean Satan, would love to snatch the sheep, but the Father and Jesus will not allow it, at least by direct assault and thievery. The “someone,” whoever he is or whatever it is, cannot snatch the sheep by direct assault or thievery. So what about the sheep? There are too many passages, planted throughout the NT, which say that a man can walk away from his salvation (e.g. Heb. 6:1-8). So the sheep, may be buffeted indirectly by circumstances and disappointment, can simply walk off the hand. True, God woos the wandering sheep and may even find him and bring him back (Matt. 18:12-13; Luke 15:4-6). But it is possible for the sheep itself to wander off, without the thief or another human being able to snatch him away.

Remaining a Christian or Falling Away?

Possible Apostasy or Eternal Security?


Here we have a manuscript problem. Most translations ignore the better reading (which Novakovic, Klink, and I have) and go with: “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all.” However, the better reading says, “What my Father has given me is greater than all.” But if you want to follow the majority of translations, you may certainly do so.

So now the question for me (and Novakovic and Klink) is: what does “what” refer to? I like Klink’s statement: “While [the ‘what’] includes the ‘sheep,’ as v. 28 makes clear, it must also include everything that the Father has elsewhere been described as having given to the Son, including authority, judgment, and life itself (5:22-27). Thus, it is not just the sheep that are in the Father’s hand … But authority, judgment, and life itself, under which the sheep are firmly and securely selected to dwell. What the Father gave to the Son was not merely sheep but his Sonship and everything that goes with it!” (comment on v. 29).

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3, NIV)


I add to Klink’s comments in v. 29: in the more immediate context: what the Father has given the Son is also complete unity with him, while his Son was on earth. In heaven for all eternity, the Father and Son were completely united, and this unity as a gift from the Father was maintained at the incarnation. This is the greatest given “what” of all.

By the way, the Greek here could be more literally translated as “I and the Father—we are one.”

“The work of the Father and Son are so intertwined that they must be described as one God, without denying their distinction as persons. In this way, the first verbal exchange comes to an end with one of the most elevated and divine statements in all of Scripture being used as a rebuke of the disbelief of the Jewish authorities” (Klink, comment on v. 30).

Athanasian Creed + Commentary

GrowApp for John 10:22-30

A.. As you remain in union with Christ, you are eternally secure. How do you respond to this promise?

B.. How do you remain in union with Christ or remain in Jesus’s and the Father’s hand?

The Jews Reject Jesus (John 10:31-39)

31 The Jews again picked up stones, so that they may stone him. 32 Jesus replied to them, “I have demonstrated many good works from the Father. For which work of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews replied to him, “We don’t stone you concerning a good work but concerning blasphemy, because you, though being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus replied to them, “Is it not written in your law that ‘I have said, “You are gods”’? [Ps. 82:6] 35 If he calls these ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came (and Scripture cannot be abolished), 36 do you say to the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world, ‘He is blaspheming’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, do not believe me. 38 But if I do them, and even if you may not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and continue to know that the Father is in me and I in the Father. 39 Then they were attempting to arrest him, but he departed out of their hands.



Jesus was making a similar point as he did in John 8:58-59. “Before Abraham was, I am.” The establishment Jews also intended to stone him at that time. As I noted under 8:59:

Lev. 24:16 says that anyone who blasphemes by assuming divine prerogatives must be put to death.

[A]nyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death. (Lev. 24:16, NIV)

The Romans would not allow the Jews to impose the death penalty, but after mob justice what could the authorities do? And they may even look the other way.


Jesus uses irony here. He knows they are going to stone him for his (alleged) blasphemy, but he asks them instead whether they were going to stone him for a good work. In other words, his works prove who he is, and these works permit him to make his claims in words. The works support his words. Therefore, he has a right to say that he and his Father are one.


No, it is not any one work that provokes them, but his words do. The religious establishment obsessed over words, as their oral traditions were accumulating rapidly from the past, their present, and would go on accumulating in their oral (unwritten) law—finally written down in the Talmudic literature. In contrast, Jesus has been insisting that his works demonstrate his divine origins.


I acknowledge that this syntax (sentence structure) is complex in these three verses, and professional grammarian Novakovic guided me through it in her grammar commentary. And she got her ideas from other grammarians.

Jesus is about to launch into the lesser to the greater argument (though Klink doubts this argument is used here [comment on v. 36]). These lesser beings in Ps. 82 are called elohim in Hebrew, the standard word for God (though elohim is actually plural in form). But in Ps. 82 they seem to be human judges or rulers. I have argued that these lesser beings are in fact human judges or rulers and not celestial or supernatural beings, in this post:

Who Were the ‘Sons of God’ in Genesis?

Also see:

6. Titles of Jesus: The Son of God

When Did Jesus “Become” the Son of God?

But that issue is secondary. The Septuagint (pronounced sep-TOO-ah-gent) is the third-to-second century (B.C.) translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. It uses the Greek plural form of god: gods (theoi). They are sentenced and condemned for not judging wisely. In contrast, Jesus is the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world. Apparently, the Father did not consecrate or send these human “gods” in the original context, or they were appointed but they rendered unjust verdicts, so they are to be punished. So if the true God calls these lesser, misguided beings “gods” or “sons of the Most High,” then the religious establishment should not object to Jesus calling himself the Son of God (the greater being) because he is not misguided; he is united with the Father and does what he sees his Father doing. So Jesus is greater than they are and has the right to call himself by this title.

“This pericope presents Jesus as the true judge of Israel and only one who is deserving of the office (and title) of ‘god,’ in contrast to the failed contemporary rulers of the of the Jewish people. The irony is stark. Jesus is not only the intended replacement of these judges but also a perfect replacement of their office” (Klink, comment on v. 35).

I agree with Morris, who says that the gods of Ps. 82:6 are human “judges of Israel, and the expression ‘gods’ is applied to them in the exercise of their high and God-given office” (comment on v. 34). Jesus’s argument is of the “how much more” variety. But Morris goes on to warn that Jesus is not placing himself on a human level equal merely to human judges because he says that he is the one whom the Father set aside (consecrated) and sent into the world. He claims a special filial (sonship) relationship with the Father (v. 36).

So the argument seems to go like this:

The judges / rulers in Ps. 82


The judges / rulers of Jerusalem in John 10


The judges / rulers were called ‘gods’ (elohim) and judged to be failures in Ps. 82


The judges / rulers of contemporary Jerusalem are also judged to be failures (though they are not literally called “gods” by Jesus).

“your law”: it is a catch-all term for the whole Hebrew Bible. “It cannot be set aside when the teaching is inconvenient. What is written remains written” (Bruce, comments on vv. 34-36).

Let’s look at how other commentators interpret those verses.

I now provide an overview of their comments here:

John 10:34-36 and Psalm 82: Who Were the ‘Gods’ and ‘Sons of Most High’?

They are unanimous that the ‘gods’ and ‘sons of the Most High’ are not celestial beings. Then who were they?

“Son of God”: Let’s look into some more systematic theology (as I do throughout this commentary). Jesus was the Son of the Father eternally, before creation. The Son has no beginning. He and the Father always were, together. The relationship is portrayed in this Father-Son way so we can understand who God is more clearly. In any case, on our repentance and salvation and union with Christ, we are brought into his eternal family.

Once again:

6. Titles of Jesus: The Son of God

When Did Jesus “Become” the Son of God?

Now that we have opened up some systematic theology about the Son in relation to Father God, let’s discuss even a little more systematic theology: The Trinity. The Father in his role as the Father is over the Son during the Son’s incarnation; the Father guides the whole of creation and the plan of the ages. The Son carries out the plan, notably by being born as a man, humbling himself, taking on the form of a servant (Phil. 3:7-8). He humbled himself so deeply and thoroughly that he died a death on the cross, the instrument of the death penalty.

4. Do I Really Know Jesus? He Took the Form of a Servant

In that link, I exegete Phil. 2:6-8.

However, the Father and Son are equal in their essence or nature. The Father is fully God and the Son is fully God, in their essence. Phil. 2:6 says that Jesus did not regard equality with God as something to hold on to, but he surrendered the environment of heaven and took the form of a servant.

Boiled down:

Function or role: the Father is over the Son while the Son was incarnated and accomplishing the plan of redemption

In their essence or essential natures: Father and Son are equal.

The Trinity: What Are the Basics?

The Trinity: What Are Some Illustrations?

The Trinity: Why Would God Seem So Complicated?

The Trinity: What Does He Mean to Me?

Athanasian Creed + Commentary


Jesus presents a hypothetical or conditional. If he is really not doing the works of his Father, don’t believe him. But if he is doing them, then they do not even have to believe him; they can believe in the works. The purpose in believing in the works is to believe that the Father and the Son are so unified that the Father dwells in his Son, and the Son dwells in his Father. Recall the two verses quoted in v. 25 and the purpose of the signs: the people may believe in the Messiah, the Son of God. Nicodemus privately believed that Jesus was a teacher sent from God because only such a teacher could do those signs (3:2), though Nicodemus stopped short of calling him the Son of God.


This verse reminds me of these two verses:

So then Jesus, knowing that they were about to seize him in order to make him king, withdrew alone to the hill country. (John 6:15)

So they were seeking to seize him, yet no one put their hands on them because his hour had not yet come. (John 7:30)

As I noted in my comments on 6:15 and 7:30, Jesus was not fearful of their plans because he trusted in God. This idea parallels a scene in Luke’s Gospel:

29 They got up and drove him out of the town and led him up to the edge of the hill on which their town had been built, to throw him off. 30 But he passed through the middle of them and left. (Luke 4:29-30)

In those two verses in Luke, they intended to seize him by force to throw him off a high point. But he miraculously walked through them, as if he had a divine hedge of protection surrounding him and keeping them away. The Father was not going to allow his Son to be subjected to the people’s will and plans.

God will not allow people or Satan to ultimately frustrate his plans. I say “ultimately” because sometimes his plans can be temporarily thwarted (1 Thess. 2:18). But God will make a way after the temporary hindrance.

GrowApp for John 10:31-39

A.. Jesus knew who he was in his Father. Do you really know who you are in Christ?

Jesus Leaves Jerusalem (John 10:40-42)

40 Then he departed again beyond the Jordan River to the place where John was baptizing the first time and stayed there. 41 And many people came to him and were saying, “John did not do one sign, yet everything John said about this man was true.” 42 So many believed in him there.


Carson calls this three-verse pericope: “Strategic retreat, continued advance.” Excellent.


Jesus stood toe to toe with the religious establishment in the previous pericope, but evidently he heard from his Father that it was now best to retreat. It is okay to flee persecution. His retreat was very symbolic. He went where John was baptizing the first time.

Should Christians Fight or Flee Persecution?

I recall these verses:

29 The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Look! The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world! 30 He is the one about whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who outranks me because he is ahead of me!’ 31 I myself did not know him, but in order that he may be manifest to Israel, for this reason I came baptizing in water.” 32 Further, John testified, saying: “I saw the Spirit like a dove coming down from heaven and remained on him. 33 I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize in water—he told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit coming down and remaining upon him—this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit!’ 34 And I saw and testify that this one is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34)

And these verses are even more relevant in this context:

31 “The one coming from above is over all. The one who is from the earth is of the earth and speaks from the earth; the one coming from heaven is over all. 32 What he sees and hears—he testifies to this, and no one accepts his testimony. 33 The one who accepted his testimony has certified that God is true. 34 God has sent the one who speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given everything in his hands. 36 The one believing in the Son has eternal life, but the one disobeying the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:31-38)

John is speaking in both those long passages. He is emphatic. One must believe in the Son; when one does believe, he will have eternal life. But if he does not believe, the wrath-judgment of God remains on him.

So it is no wonder that many who went eastward to the Jordan River believed in him.


Faith or believing is more than just intellectual assent. It has to be directed towards someone, in this case, Jesus. It encompasses your entire being and devotion.

Word Study on Faith and Faithfulness

Apparently, many Judeans expressed true faith in him. Recall that many Jerusalemites converted to the Messiah after Pentecost (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 6:7 [large number of priests]; 20:21). This statement ends this long section in Jerusalem on a triumphal note—a crescendo. Jesus was not defeated in going back to where his ministry began at his baptismal launch.

Jesus is now ready to go up the road from the Jordan River to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, about three or four months later (12:12-19), though he goes up to nearby Bethany to raise his friend Lazarus from the dead (11:11-44). Then he will depart again and then enjoy his triumphal entry.

GrowApp for John 10:40-42

A.. Who first testified to you that Jesus was the Son of God and you should believe in him? What convinced you? Tell your story.


Beasley-Murray George R. John. Word Biblical Commentary. Rev. ed. Zondervan, 1999.

Borchert, Gerald L. John 1-11. New American Commentary. Vol. 25a. Broadman and Holman, 1996.

Bruce, F. F. The Gospel of John: Introduction, Exposition, and Notes. Eerdmans, 1983.

Carson, D. A. The Gospel according to John. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Eerdmans, 1991.

The Greek New Testament. Fifth Revised Edition by Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger (United Bible Society, 2014).

Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of John: A Commentary. Vol. 1. Baker Academic, 2003.

Novakovic, Lidija. John 1-10: A Handbook on the Greek Text. A Handbook on the Greek Text. Baylor UP, 2020.

Klink, Edward W. John. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Zondervan, 2016.

Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to John. Rev. ed. Eerdmans, 1995.

Mounce, Robert H. John. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Rev. ed. Zondervan, 2007.

Works Cited


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