The Way - Day 191 (John 10)

Daily Reading:
John 10
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Read John 10:27 aloud. Jesus is the shepherd and His sheep follow Him because they know his voice. Is Jesus YOUR shepherd? Share examples of how you "follow" His voice in your life. Are you only a reader of His word or are you a doer?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 90:12
OPTION 2: Proverbs 22:6
OPTION 3: Matthew 7:1-2
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for John 10 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
JOHN 10:1-21
The religious leaders were outraged at Jesus' healing of a blind man on the Sabbath (9:1-12), so they began their usual questioning of all those involved, which included the man whose sight had been restored (9:13-17; 24-34), as well as his parents (9:18-23). When Jesus was informed about the Pharisees' interrogation of this former blind man, He approached the man saying, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" and the healed man responded, "Lord, I believe! (9:35-38). Some of the Pharisees were nearby when Jesus was conversing with this man and they asked Jesus if they were blind in a spiritual sense (9:40). Because this question was asked in pride, Jesus revealed their blindness to sin and refusal to believe in Him as the Son of God (9:41).

In John 10, Jesus is still speaking with the same people as in the previous chapter. He attempts to further distinguish between the teachings of the religious leaders of the day and the teachings of Himself. The religious leaders relied on a system of man-made rules and traditions to bring favor with God, but Jesus' message was much different. Instead of relying on self-righteousness and obedience to a list of rules, Jesus teaches that He has been sent by His Father to call people to repentance and faith. Rather than trusting in their own good deeds for salvation, they should have humbled themselves in recognition of their sinfulness and believed in Jesus as their Savior. To illustrate that He was worthy to be trusted and believed above all others Jesus begins to speak, what is known as, the discourse of the Good Shepherd.

“...he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (10:1-5).
Many listening would identify with Jesus' illustration about sheep, a shepherd, and the doorkeeper of the sheep since this culture was surrounded by these images daily. But those listening did not understand that His words were illustrative of a spiritual truth (10:6). As the True Shepherd, Jesus could enter into the sheep pen and call His own sheep (those who believe) and they would recognize His voice and follow Him (10:2-4). There were also others (false teachers), who attempted to enter the sheep pen to call out the sheep, but they were thieves and robbers (10:1). These thieves and robbers, the religious leaders of Jesus' day, wanted to steal the sheep from their shepherd and lead them astray through deception.

Since the people did not understand His first illustration, Jesus decided to use another metaphor using sheep ranching. This time instead of picturing Himself as the shepherd, Jesus is pictured as the door of the sheep (10:7-10).

“I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:7-10).

Jesus claims that belief in Him is the only way to find life and gain access to God. Jesus' announcement about being the door is the third I AM statement in John's gospel, which is his attempt to convince his readers that Jesus is the Son of God sent to deliver mankind from the power and penalty of sin. The religious leaders, however, had proven to be thieves because they only cared for themselves. Jesus had come to bring life to all who would believe (10:10).

In His fourth I AM statement, Jesus says "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep" (10:11). Men hired to watch the sheep (false teachers) will not risk their own lives to save the sheep from predators, but the true shepherd will "lay down life for the sheep" (10:12-15). In a reference to His upcoming death, Jesus decrees Himself as the One who will give up His life so the sheep can live. Jesus would not only give up His life for the sake of the Jews, but also for the Gentiles. He would eventually bring both groups together as the church (10:16). Although Jesus would give up His life to pay for the sins of the sheep (those who would believe), He also indicated that death would not be His final destination.

"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father" (10:17-18).

After hearing Jesus' words, the Jews remained divided in their thinking about His true identity (10:19-21). Could they forsake their self-righteousness to trust in Jesus as the Shepherd and Savior who would forgive their sins? This is a question all of us must answer.

JOHN 10:22-42
John had written about the opposition Jesus faced during His ministry and, so far, he documented His conflicts at Jerusalem (5:1-47), the Passover (6:1-71), and the Feast of Tabernacles (7:1-10:21). Most of the opposition came from the religious leaders, who refused to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah. Their hatred for Jesus and His message caused them to seek ways to remove Him from the public eye and, ultimately, put Him to death. They had not yet succeeded in silencing Jesus, but they intimidated many of the people who had gathered to hear Him. The latest conflict (two months following John 7:1-10:21) takes place at the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights), which is a celebration of the rededication of Jerusalem’s temple after it had been desecrated around 165 BC.
John mentions that it is winter time (December) when Jesus enters the temple in Jerusalem and the Jews surround Him saying, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly" (10:22-24). This question is deceitful because the Jews were not really interested in the truth. They just wanted Jesus to publicly declare that He was the Messiah so they could authorize an attack on Him for blasphemy. Rather than wage a war of words with the religious leaders, Jesus confirms what He has already said.

"I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you" (10:25-26).

Jesus had repeatedly told them that He was the One sent by God, but they did not believe. Why did the Jews not believe that Jesus was the Messiah and Savior? The Jewish people were looking for a man who brought deliverance from their current circumstances and could free them from Roman rule. Jesus was not sent to free them from a political system, but free them from sin. The Jews did not accept Jesus because they were not properly related to Him by a spiritual birth, which only comes through repentance and faith in Jesus (John 3:1-21). Returning to His illustration of the sheep (those who believe) and Shepherd (Jesus Christ), Jesus reveals why they will not hear Him.

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand" (10:27-29).

Those who approach God through confession of sin and faith in Jesus as their Savior become God's sheep. They are given eternal life and become secure in the hands of God. The security we have in God through Jesus Christ does not stem from good works, but in the work which Jesus has already done. Jesus' death is payment for sin and His resurrection is an assurance of eternal life to those who repent and believe.

Jesus next words infuriate the Jews. "I and My Father are one" (10:30). By stating this, Jesus was not teaching that He and God the Father were the same person, but that they were unified in their work. The Jews interpreted this as blasphemy and picked up stones to kill Jesus (10:31), but He quickly asked them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" The Jews responded in anger. "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God" (10:33). Their reaction revealed that they viewed Jesus as just another man. Jesus then challenges His Jewish listeners.

"If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him" (10:37-38).

They did not have to believe on Him based on His words alone, but they could also evaluate the works He had done to see if His works were the works of God the Father (John 5:19). Instead of contemplating what Jesus had said, the Jews tried to take Him captive, but He escaped (10:39).

The religious leaders had every opportunity to believe in Jesus as Savior, but they chose to harden their hearts against the truth and embrace what they believed to be true. The failure to open our hearts to the truth will prevent many from discovering forgiveness of sin and hope through Jesus Christ. Open your heart and examine the claims of Christ to see if they are true or not. Do not merely accept what others have taught you, but read God's story to see if He has really offered eternal life to all who repent and believe.

Dear God, open our hearts to the truth of Your word so we can see Jesus.