John 10


Jesus picks up on the “I am” or eimi of chapter 8.  Here he inserts the missing predicates to describe the “I am” statement.


John calls this a “figure of speech  (paroimian” and not a “parabole”) in 10:6 and not a parable. 

A figure of speech in this case involves a mysterious saying   compressed thought, rather than that of a simple comparison.


John does not record parables like the other gospels.


Bad shepherds in the OT

1 - Isa. 56:9-12; Jer. 23:1-4; 25:32-38; Ezek. 34; Zech. 11



“Amen, Amen”



Rulers in the OT are often called shepherds.  So the shepherd imagery is not just one of caring but also of ruling sovereignty over a people.


The sheep pen here would be outside the city near where several herds of sheep were kept.  At night the shepherds would bring them to

this large walled area to be watched for the night.  The keeper of the pen would not let anyone else but the shepherds in.

This meant if anyone else did get in they would get in some other way.


Two words describe those who come in:

1)      "thief" (kleptes, stressing trickery and subtlety)

2)      "robber" (lestes, stressing violence and plundering)


Both words exploit the sheep



Shepherds could drive their sheep from the back with sheep dogs or they could lead them in by walking in front.



Due to their hearts they did not understand



Jesus continues with the illustration but switches to focus on the gate.

Jesus is both the gate and the shepherd.

The shepherd would stand by the gate at night and watch the sheep enter the gate. 

The shepherd would then lay in front of the door to keep the sheep out and intruders out.

Thus, the shepherd became the door.




Religious leaders or false messiahs who did not take them to the gate. 

Jesus provided leadership and security.  The false shepherds provided only for themselves.



egw eimi  or “I am”


False shepherds only come to lead people in order to:

1)      Steal – steal money, possessions, positions, purpose

2)      Kill (-“quw” is a word that means “to slaughter, to kill for food”)  kill people, kill dreams, kill potential

3)      Destroy – harvesting a field, a forest, a mine, etc. destroys the field, forest, etc.                                                                                                  Fields are meant to be harvested; People are not created to be harvested.



Religious and political leaders often fall into the category of a thief or a robber.


Jesus came to bring life.

full” means “abundance, superfluous, more than is really necessary”

It means to have life to the full or to have a surplus of life.



The figure of speech is given in verses 1-5.

Then 7-10 develops the idea of the gate

Verses 11-18 develop the good shepherd image.


The bad shepherds killed the sheep so they could live.

The good shepherd will die himself so the sheep may live.


Good shepherds will:

1)      protect

2)      provide

3)      sacrifice self


“Good” is the word kalos and indicates the object as being noble and worthy.



“Life” is the word “psyche” and implies the entire person and is usually translated “soul”.  The word for “life is “zoe



This changes from the thief and the robber to the hired shepherd.

There is no one like the true shepherd


Hired shepherds are in danger of serving to serve themselves:

1 Peter 5:2,3           Acts 20:26-32





The other sheep are the Gentiles

There was not going to be a Jewish church and a Gentile church.  

There was one flock and one shepherd.



A love that responds to someone successfully passing the test of obedience.


Lay down life is now said for a third time. (11, 15, 17)

1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”