John, chapter 10:1-21, is a continuation of chapter 9. At the end of the ninth chapter, the man that was given his sight is falling down and worshipping Jesus. Then we hear Jesus say, “He came into this world for judgment, that they which see not, might see; and they which see, might be made blind.” The Pharisees asked, “Are we blind also?” The Lord said if they would recognize their blindness they would have no sin, but they were reluctant to admit their own spiritual blindness. Then, the Lord goes into the lesson about the good shepherd and shows the dichotomy that exists between Himself and the Pharisees.
There was a practice in Israel in those days that the shepherds would bring all their flocks to a corral and leave them overnight during the cold weather months. The corral was manned by a hired hand to guard the gate. The Lord is teaching a lesson that shows the unfaithfulness of the ones who were supposed to be taking care of the sheep. Instead of protecting them, they were preying upon them; instead of feeding them, they were feeding upon them. Then the Lord shows the difference between the true shepherd and the false by stating the two ways in which the sheep were let out of the corral; through the door or over the wall. Jesus is the one who came by the door; the Pharisees were the ones who were coming over the wall like a thief and stealing away God’s flock. Jesus came just as the Scripture prophesied and is the rightful Shepherd to the sheep; the sheep belong to Him. He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. The Pharisees were just hirelings and did not really care for the sheep.
The Lord now tells us who really killed Jesus; it was Jesus himself. Verse 18 says that no man could take His life but He was laying it down of His own free will. He also says that He has power to lay it down and He has power to take it again. He was talking about the crucifixion and the resurrection. If you insist on finding the culprit behind Jesus death, look no further, it was you; or may I say God’s great love for you that nailed Him to the cross. There is not a person ever born capable of putting the Lord to death if He didn’t allow them to do so.
The people are still divided over His claims. Some said He was mad and demon possessed. If it had been anyone other than the Lord Jesus who had made these claims, I would say that they had lost their mind, but the undisputable and overwhelming evidence screams that Jesus of Nazareth is none other than God in the flesh, the Messiah. No one else in all of history could make the claims that our Lord made without being labeled a mad man.
Verses 22-42 take place about two or three months later in Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication. This feast was not recorded in the Old Testament because it was not instituted until after the cleansing of the temple. Antiochus Epiphanies had sacrificed a pig on the altar and splattered its blood all over all the temple furniture thus rendering the temple profane. This feast was to commemorate the temple cleansing.
If you have come to Jesus for salvation, you are one of His sheep. You have experienced eternal cleansing and your body has become the temple of the Lord. You now have an ear to hear and a desire to follow the voice of the True Shepherd.
— Campbell is pastor of First Baptist Church, Mountain City.