John Chapter 10

The Good Shepherd

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John 10:1-42 NLTse “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! (2) But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (4) After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. (5) They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” (6) Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, (7) so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. (8) All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. (9) Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. (10) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (11) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. (12) A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. (13) The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. (14) “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, (15) just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. (16) I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. (17) “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. (18) No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” (19) When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. (20) Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” (21) Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” (22) It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. (23) He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. (24) The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” (25) Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. (26) But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. (27) My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (28) I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, (29) for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. (30) The Father and I are one.” (31) Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. (32) Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” (33) They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.” (34) Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ (35) And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ (36) why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. (37) Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. (38) But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.” (39) Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. (40) He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. (41) And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” (42) And many who were there believed in Jesus.

John continued his style of writing by recording a detailed account of Jesus’ parable about the good shepherd along with His detailed explanation. Once again we’re given another example showing how an entire chapter has to be studied as a whole. Breaking out any part of it will loose the spiritual meaning. But that doesn’t seem to stop some people from picking and choosing one little part or another to place their own interpretation on it.

Jesus began with an important detail. “I tell you the truth.” If we pay attention, we can see the significance. Jesus followed that with a contrast, “anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!” Jesus sets the scene by pointing out a choice between the truth and a thief. He didn’t compare truth with a lie, but truth was compared to a thief. Jesus added the word robber to make certain everyone caught the point.

Then Jesus returned to the truth. Jesus pointed out there is only, “one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” There is only one shepherd to follow. Jesus never said there were many shepherds, or a committee. Jesus didn’t point out an organization. Jesus pointed out one shepherd. Now it is important to know who that shepherd is. So Jesus added a detailed description.

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. Jesus used a series of symbols. We know which words are symbols by the way He repeated them. Among those key words we see shepherd and sheep. Those are spiritual words pointing to something far greater.

Symbols always point to something far greater.

Symbols can only be interpreted by God’s Word.

Key words help to point to scripture explaining the meaning of a symbol.

The meaning of a symbol is often explained within the chapter it is recorded.

Symbols must always be interpreted within context.

We also know we have to look at the chapter to find their proper interpretation within context. Since the entire chapter deals within the same context, we can be certain their spiritual meaning is correct.

We also see other key words such as gate, which Jesus quickly defined. “ I am the gate for the sheep.” Jesus identified Himself as the gate. Some people may ask how Jesus can be the gate and the shepherd. Look at how Jesus defined that gate. “Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.” We instantly see a reference to Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. We have to keep in mind, different symbols describe different aspects of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus and His ministry were never a one dimensional entity.

Authors repeat key words to draw attention to their use as symbols. Remember, symbols always point to something far greater.

We also see a series of action words and phrases. Gathered, walks ahead of them, follow, come in through, all show us the need for action. They describe how Jesus moves and we follow. Following Jesus has never been a sit in the back pew or stand in one place type of relationship. If Jesus is moving and if your not following, your left behind.

I hear a lot of people say they follow Jesus. But sad to say, I don’t see it in their actions because there are no actions. They learned about Jesus and stood in that one spot. There is no progress, no growth, no work, not even a set back. Nothing. What kind of relationship is that? How can you say your going up God’s mountain to learn, but never exhibit any proof you’ve learned anything?

That’s the problem a lot of people face. They are stuck in one spot. They heard about Jesus. They got excited. Then they found other people who believed a comfortable position was all they needed. Those people are arm chair quarterbacks. They like to tell other people what to believe, how to worship, their favorite subject evolves around limited participation in the spiritual war restricted to this planet. Those people don’t get up from their comfortable position. They don’t get off the bench. They don’t get play calls or instructions from the coach, the Good Shepherd. They sit by themselves and don’t hear His voice. Those people don’t get into the game. They don’t know the game plan or the score. They don’t study the strategy or attacks from the opposing team. They aren’t chased or threatened by the opposing team’s defense. They don’t do a thing to stop the opposing team from scoring.

Those action words are more important than most people realize. A moving target is more difficult to hit. The word follow is one of the more interesting words. It calls attention to a road. It also points out the act of accompanying, to walk together. If you’ve been taught Jesus died, went to Heaven, and sat down to wait until we’re ready, your following the wrong shepherd.

The thief attacked sheep in the sheepfold. That’s where the thief gains control of them. He convinced them, they’re safe as long as they stay where they are, in his control. The Good Shepherd shows the true sheep the gate. He wanted them to go in and out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.

You don’t think following Jesus requires action? Look at how Jesus explained it. “All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” Jesus knows what’s going on. He knows what’s going to happen. Those thieves and robbers will come before Jesus comes. If you’re not active, your as useful as a history book. History books don’t have the ability to transform words and lives like the Bible. They don’t have the ability to open new understanding every time you read it. All a history book does is list details the author thought were important. They can be one sided and twisted. Jesus began this lesson with a few important words. “I tell you the truth.”

Is that your ministry, the history book version of the gospels? Does your ministry involve nothing but a set of Bible Studies written by a committee, sharing a web site, DVD, sending people to a seminar, or repeating what someone told you? Is that God’s voice? Of course not! Your sharing the history book version of the message and wondering why it doesn’t work. Your not following what Jesus told us to do in this parable.

Where is the close personal relationship with the Good Shepherd? Where is the evidence you hear His voice and know it? What is the testimony He gave you yesterday or today? Using the history book method blocks out the true voice of the Good Shepherd. People are robbed of hearing His voice and following the road He is traveling.

“My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” We’ve seen Jesus’ sacrifice covered more than one day on that cross. If that’s all you know about Jesus, a man nailed to a cross, you missed those action words in this parable. Jesus told us He has a purpose. He tells us He gives a rich and satisfying life. What is that? Does a rich and satisfying life come from sitting around doing nothing? People have to be taught a rich and satisfying life every step of the way. Much of what people do, how they live before they hear the voice of the Good Shepherd is destroying their lives here and in eternity. Do you know what they have to change and how to change it? If you think you do, you’d better review the last few chapters. There were plenty of people Jesus had a hard time reaching and some He couldn’t reach. Those included priests, Pharisees, other religious leaders, people He grew up with, members of His own family, people who saw His miracles. Jesus did a lot more to draw those people to Him than we are able to do. What makes you think you know how to accomplish more than Jesus?

In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all– the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:1-2 NLTse).

If you’ve been to God’s mountain, where’s the proof? What has He taught you? How has He taught you to settle disputes? Not one method works for all people. Every situation, every person requires a new approach. We will never stop learning. If people claim they know everything and have all the truth, take the advice Jesus gave in this parable and run.

“A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.” Jesus told us, that care and concern from the wannabe shepherds is temporary at best. If your lucky, they’ll run away from you. What they run away from on the spiritual side is God. You can be certain, God is always trying to reach them. When God offered words of comfort, a message He wanted them to deliver, new ways to reach people, new understanding of His Word, and they refused to listen, they run away from God. Or as we’ve seen in this parable, they are not following. They prefer to stand still. The spiritual equivalent of running away.

There is of course hired hands who run when the wolf comes. They break down and give up when they face trials. But that’s not all. Jesus showed how money plays a factor. They run away from who, the wolf or the sheep? “He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock.” They run from the sheep to the wolf. That really opens a door for the wolf to come in and attack. The wolf gained a new weapon.

Jesus wanted people to understand another vital part of this lesson. How the connection with Him leads to a connection with God. “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.” To know Jesus is to know God. Jesus came down here to serve to show how God is willing to come here and serve. This is a vision of God few people can understand. It is a view of God the Pharisees refused to accept. They created a system where people sacrificed to get right with God. They messed up the entire process. They reversed the order.

That order is still distorted today in many ways. People still want to create their own process and often go to the other extreme by cutting corners. It’s not difficult to see the Pharisees had the wrong concept of the Messiah. Many people only learn from one mistake the Pharisees made. But that has never been the full story. The full story only comes from the lips of the True Shepherd. No one can tell you how fast to follow, how much to sacrifice, what you need to learn, and when you need to learn it. Only Jesus knows that. You have to know His voice and listen to it. Jesus made that more than clear.

“I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.” Jesus used two statements here which often get blended into one. What does Jesus mean by other sheep? We can do what most people do when they explain these verse. We can separate it from the parable and explain it’s meaning in human terms, so it sounds good, but benefits the incentive Jesus just warned about – money. Now that we know that method is not listening to Jesus’ voice, we have no other choice than to stick to facts in God’s Word.

The first thing to do is look up the meaning of the Greek word John used for “other.” It actually means “different.” Does that mean you find different sheep then make them just like you? Don’t all sheep look alike? If they did, Jacob would have left his uncle a poor man. Jacob took all the spotted and speckled sheep, leaving the good looking sheep with his uncle.

Let’s take a look back at Jesus’ ministry. He talked to Nicodemus, a well respected religious leader. Jesus also talked to a Samaritan woman. Jesus fed thousands of Gentiles. He ministered all over Israel, especially his hometown in Galilee. Not once did Jesus try to make them join one organization or try to make them all the same. When Jesus said they will be one flock, He was very careful to point out they would follow one Shepherd. Jesus is that single Shepherd. Jesus never placed any type of interpretation pointing to a single church or chosen organization. We’ve seen how Nicodemus ministered to other Jewish religious leaders. The Samaritan woman ministered in Samaria. The man possessed by thousands of demons ministered to other pig farmers and people in those towns. The Bible does not contain a single example telling us we’re supposed to steal or relocate people from where Jesus met them to make them part of an organization you feel comfortable in. Evidence for that does not exist in the Bible. On the contrary, we see evidence of Paul and the other disciples traveling around meeting people where they were, praying, teaching at a level and with examples they understood. Not what the disciples understood, but what God’s Spirit taught them at that moment. Jesus equipped them with what the disciples needed when they needed it. Nothing more and nothing less. We have to remember, it was a long learning process for the disciples to know Jesus’ voice and learn to listen to His Spirit.

Jesus continued to explain His relationship with His Farther. It is an example for us to follow. “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” Jesus’ sacrifice was voluntarily and so is ours. That’s why we see few people getting off the bench and into the game.

We hear the word volunteer in churches a lot. But in what context? More often than not, the direction of the church is determined in a boardroom. Of course God’s Spirit can be active in a boardroom, but there are problems with that. Static is one thing. If one person disagrees with a ministry, they can make so much noise it becomes difficult for others to hear Jesus’ voice. People have a way of slowing down and stopping progress.

It’s not unusual for members to secure positions on church boards based on financial support, not qualifications or their relationship with Christ. Often time, one family or person can dictate the direction of a church based on the tithe they pay. Jesus warned about that.

Jesus talked about a personal sacrifice between Him and His Father. When we apply that to the context of following Jesus, what do we get? We get the message of a close personal relationship with God to determine what sacrifice is offered as well as required. Aren’t all ministries one form of sacrifice or another?

When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” Not everyone agreed with Jesus. Not everyone is going to agree with what I wrote. But how can people argue with the fact, there is one Shepherd and everyone who follows Him has to listen to Him? Who in their right mind would introduce a new concept pointing to themselves or some church committee as a substitute or replacement for Jesus? But that’s the way people want to think and run things.

Trust is one of the hardest things to learn and develop. People tend to think and believe a church will be misled without their personal guidance. They establish their own set of rules, usually adopting a set of doctrines they’ve been taught and use those man made doctrines to guide their course. They can’t see, they don’t understand, Jesus’ road is not paved by doctrines. It it were, Jesus would have mentioned them and John would have provided a list. None of the gospel writers provided a list of established doctrines to follow. Every set of man make doctrines are made up of a list of texts segregated from God’s Word. And they use those segregated texts to separate themselves from other churches, the world, and other members in their own church who do not follow their rules to the letter. Their doctrines blinded them like the Pharisee’s doctrines blinded them in the previous story Jesus told.

If You Are the Messiah

John 10:22-42 NLTse It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. (23) He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. (24) The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” (25) Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. (26) But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. (27) My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (28) I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, (29) for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. (30) The Father and I are one.” (31) Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. (32) Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” (33) They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.” (34) Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ (35) And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ (36) why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. (37) Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. (38) But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.” (39) Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. (40) He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. (41) And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” (42) And many who were there believed in Jesus.

This was such an important lesson, Jesus repeated it at another time to another group of people. By now we should know, when Jesus repeated Himself, it’s time to pay attention. This time John told us the location, in the Temple. It wasn’t the courtyard, but one of the sections of the temple known as Solomon’s porch.

Jesus met those people in an open area in the temple dedicated to king Solomon, who built the first stone temple. We can see how this tells us how people worshiped the temple and people responsible for its creation more than the God who created them. This also shows us why some people need to control every aspect of a modern church. They claim they are protecting more than their own interests. The are protecting the church made of wood and stone, a symbol of their investment.

Those people heard what Jesus was teaching, but asked the question, “what’s in it for me?” They wanted a guarantee before committing themselves. The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” John showed us a glimpse of human nature at work.

I’m sure some of you crossed paths with people who wanted you to explain God and sum up the Bible in fifteen minutes of less. That’s a dangerous path to travel. If God sent them to you, He would have prepared you for those meetings. If you think your prepared on your own, your not listening to God’s voice. Let’s see how God’s’ Spirit prepared Jesus for this encounter.

Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.

Jesus already had a relationship with those people. He was not starting from scratch. Jesus told them what He told them before. If they didn’t understand it the first time, there was no reason to continue with the next lesson. Jesus listened to God’s Spirit and knew where those people were and followed explicit instructions from His Father. To illustrate that point so we can understand it, Jesus explained His relationship with His Father.

The Father and I are one.” Jesus used a simple explanation. Then He observed their reaction. Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. It wasn’t pretty, but showed an important lesson. People who don’t have a relationship with God don’t understand how someone can have something they don’t. Jealousy is a strong emotion few people can control. Selfishness also plays its part. Jesus knew that. So He explained how His relationship with God worked.

Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” Jesus pointed out how He works at God’s direction. That included everything. When we do work for God, we’re supposed to follow the same process without exception. When someone unexpected comes along, all we can do is what Jesus did, tell them about our relationship with God and Jesus. That does not mean they will understand, but it will plant a seed.

Jesus added a strange question to His explanation. Once again we see God’s Spirit working with strange questions. This may not seem like a strange question, but it is out of place in this conversion. Telling people about His relation with God, then immediately asking why they intended to stone Him.

They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.” Now Jesus knew what they were thinking. Not that Jesus didn’t already know, but by getting them to say it, focused their attention. Jesus opened a door. A condemned man is always allowed his last words. No matter how far away people are from God, most will allow a condemned man a last statement.

Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”

Jesus didn’t have a trial yet. But He introduced His best witness, the scriptures. We know there is a rule telling us, when Jesus quoted scripture, we gotta look it up.

Another important Bible Study rule is, when you see scripture quoted by an author, always look up the original texts. An inspired writer will only quote a small portion of scripture. Just enough to point you back to the original texts. It’s your job to open up and read the original texts. And remember to check to introduction and summation for the chapter the original scripture is located. This a a major way God uses to communicate with us. An easy way to locate the original texts is to use a chain reference in a Study Bible. Or you can use the TSK (Treasury of Scripture Knowledge) you can download and use with E-Sword, and other Bible computer programs.

God presides over heaven’s court; he pronounces judgment on the heavenly beings: “How long will you hand down unjust decisions by favoring the wicked? “Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people. But these oppressors know nothing; they are so ignorant! They wander about in darkness, while the whole world is shaken to the core. I say, ‘You are gods; you are all children of the Most High. But you will die like mere mortals and fall like every other ruler.'” Rise up, O God, and judge the earth, for all the nations belong to you. (Psalms 82:1-8 NLTse).

We see more than the simple connection Jesus pointed out in that particular answer. First we see a connection to the judgment Jesus referred to earlier. If those people looked at the scripture Jesus referred to, they would have seen one of the warnings Jesus tried giving them. They have to stop treating people they way they had been. How can they become effective witnesses for God if they continue to act the way they do? The scripture Jesus sent them to repeated other lessons Jesus tried to teach. He was showing them how He was explaining sections of God’s Word they didn’t want to agree with. So it wasn’t Jesus they were disagreeing with, it was God and His Word.

Then we see another warning. I say, ‘You are gods; you are all children of the Most High. But you will die like mere mortals and fall like every other ruler.'” Rise up, O God, and judge the earth, for all the nations belong to you.

John just showed us how important it is to follow basic rules of context. We can’t go through life thinking we have all the answers. We can’t ignore Jesus’ voice and expect to walk with Him. Jesus and His voice come as a package deal.

Jesus pretty much summed up the work He was sent to them to do. That particular group needed to see where they went wrong, they left God’s law behind. They forgot how to listen to God. That’s why Jesus is there, to explain details they didn’t know, or didn’t want to accept.

Jesus introduced another witness, the work they saw Him do. Jesus not only pointed to that work, but once again repeated Himself by telling them why He did the work and who gave Him the power to do it.

Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” And many who were there believed in Jesus.

What was with those people? Now that we’ve gotten to the summation, let’s take a look back at the introduction to see that happened in those two stories and how they are related.

This is one of the most important Bible Study rules of context you want to learn and use:

The introduction and summation of each chapter establishes the main theme, thought, and lesson on the chapter. Themes may be established by key words, thoughts, or contrasts.

John 10:1-3 NLTse “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! (2) But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

Jesus began the day telling a parable about sheep, a shepherd, thieves, and robbers competing for those sheep. Not everyone appreciated the parable. When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

The chapter ended with people trying to arrest Jesus again. They had their own way of dealing with people they didn’t agree with. As we neared the end of this chapter, we saw one of the problems, they didn’t want to refer to scripture Jesus sent them to. This showed how those people liked to ignore scripture, other portions besides those Jesus sent them. Why do we still have that problem today?

John ended this story on a positive note. After showing us how Jesus failed time after time, John assured us, many people did listen to Jesus. Many people accepted the miracles he reformed. Some even saw how everything John the Baptist said about Jesus was true. John also pointed out how those people didn’t need a long list of miracles to believe. I’m sure you’ve seen a few people like that. The few who meet Jesus, get to know Him, and never want to leave Him.

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