John 10: In this chapter, the Yeshua is going to give us the discourse on the Good Shepherd. So far, we have seen Yeshua relate Himself to the us in very familiar ways that we can easily relate to. He has compared Himself to water, bread, and light. These are all things that we understand and use daily. Now He is going to describe Himself as our Shepherd. Yeshua made Himself one of us and communicated to us in a very real way.
Yeshua is going to speak of the sheepfold in that day. Actually, the sheepfold in that area of Israel still operates in the same way. It was a public sheepfold. In the evening, the shepherds would turn in their sheep to the sheepfold for the night and leave them with the porter, who kept their sheep. The next morning, the shepherd would come to the door of the sheepfold, identify himself, and take his sheep back with him.
When Yeshua speaks of sheep in a symbolic manner, He is speaking of Israel (2 Chron. 18:16, Micah 2:12, Psalm 119:176, Psalm 53:6, Jer. 50:6, Matt. 10:5-6, 15:24). Yeshua is speaking of His people Israel and no one else.
(John 10:1 NASB) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.
John 10:1: The only reason someone would enter the sheepfold by a way other than the door, is to steal sheep. That means he is a thief and a robber.
(John 10:2 NASB) “But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.
John 10:2: The sheepfold is the nation of Israel. The only One who can come in and make the claim to them is Yeshua Messiah. When the shepherd goes to the door to claim his sheep from the doorkeeper (porter), he must have the proper credentials. Yeshua Messiah has all the credentials spoken of in the Word of Elohim. Hundreds of prophecies were fulfilled in Yeshua Messiah, if we were to search for them all. Just to name a few:
1. He was born of a virgin.
2. He was from the line of David.
3. He was born in Bethlehem.
4. He made the lame walk, the deaf hear and the blind see.
5. He was a prophet like Moses (and there are many, many similarities between Yeshua and Moses).
Yeshua is the Messiah and has all the credentials to prove it. If anyone else comes to the sheepfold to claim the nation Israel as their leader or Messiah, they couldn’t go to the door and make their claim. They would have to go over the fence and they would be a thief and a robber.
In the previous chapter, Yeshua had just told the Pharisees that they are blind and will die in their sins (John 9:39-41). Now He is calling them thieves and robbers. He is also showing His credentials as the true Messiah.
(John 10:3 NASB) “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.
John 10:3: Who does the doorkeeper/gatekeeper represent? The doorkeeper represents the Spirit of the Father. The doorkeeper opens up the gate for the shepherd. In the same way, the Spirit of the Father opens us up to Yeshua Messiah. We cannot hear the voice of Messiah in our lives unless the Spirit of the Father opens our ears.
The shepherd calls his sheep and his sheep recognize his voice and come running to him. If the sheep are not his, they do not recognize or even hear his voice, so they ignore it. Yeshua just got through telling the Pharisees that they are blind. Now He is saying they are deaf.
The shepherd calls his sheep out by name. Yeshua calls us out by name and leads us out. He called the blind man out and he heard His voice. He called each disciple out by name. He called Paul out by name. He stopped under a sycamore tree and called Zacchaeus.
He calls His people out and leads them out of their bondage of sin and is their keeper (Psalm 121:5, Isa. 27:3).
(John 10:4 NASB) “When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
John 10:4: Many times in a sheepfold, the sheep from many different shepherds are all in the same pen. But when the shepherd comes to the door of the sheepfold, his sheep hear his voice and they come to him. They recognize his voice and they follow him out of the pen and into the fields (Micah 2:12-13).
(John 10:5 NASB) “And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
John 10:5: The people of Elohim will flock to His Word and His Ways because they know to recognize Truth (Isa. 8:16, 20). Why is do His sheep come running to Torah? Because of how it affects them (Psalm 19:7-11). Yeshua is the Good Shepherd who leads His people to the path of righteousness (Psalm 23:1-3).
(John 10:6 NASB) This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.
John 10:6: The King James Version uses the word “parable” instead of illustration. This is not exactly a parable, but an allegory or metaphor. This is just like “I am the bread of life”, or “I am the light of the world.” To understand the precise meanings of these allegories, we must go to the Tanakh for understanding.
(John 10:7 NASB) Jesus therefore said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
John 10:7: This may sound like a strange metaphor until you understand what the door of the sheepfold really is. The door is not actually a wooden gate swinging on hinges. The sheepfold had no such thing. The doorway to the sheepfold was actually a guard that slept across the entrance. Yeshua says He is that Door.
(John 10:8 NASB) “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.
(John 10:9 NASB) “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
John 10:9: The only way to Elohim is through Yeshua Messiah. One cannot come to Elohim any other way (Psalm 100). He leads His people and shows them the Way (Isa. 40:11).
(John 10:10 NASB) “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.
John 10:10: The false shepherds only come to steal, kill, and destroy (Isa. 56:11). They will be judged by Elohim (Ezek. 34:2-16).
Yeshua doesn’t want to destroy or kill or steal. He wants to give His people life and give it abundantly. What is meant by Him giving Life (Ezek. 20:11, Lev. 18:5, Neh. 9:29)? Yeshua stripped the Talmudic Laws and traditions of the Pharisees from the Torah. In doing so, He gives us life and gives it more abundantly.
(John 10:11 NASB) “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
John 10:11: This is the fourth great “I AM” declaration by Yeshua Messiah. So far we have:
1. I am the Bread of Life.
2. I am the Light of the World.
3. I am the Door.
4. I am the Good Shepherd.
When He says He is the “Good Shepherd,” he is saying that He is the Son of David that was sent to lead His sheep to the Father (Ezek. 34:17-25, 37:24).
He says the Good Shepherd lays down His Life for His sheep. This is the Son of David (1 Sam. 17:34-36, 2 Sam. 24:17, Isa. 53:6-7).
(John 10:12 NASB) “He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them.
(John 10:13 NASB) “He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep.
John 10:13: A good shepherd will give his life for his sheep. But someone who is just hired on to do a job, will not. He will run at the first sign of trouble (Zech. 11:16-17).
(John 10:14 NASB) “I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me,
John 10:14: He says once again that His sheep know Him and knows them. Who are those that Elohim knows? It is those who follow His Torah (Matt. 7:19-21, John 14:15, 1 John 2:3-7).
(John 10:15 NASB) even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
John 10:15: The Son knows the Father and the Father knows the Son (Matt. 11:27).
We read in the Tanakh how David was also a shepherd. He risked his life against the lion and the bear for his sheep. But the Son of David laid down His life for His sheep (Isa. 53:4-10).
(John 10:16 NASB) “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd.
John 10:16: The “other sheep” are the Gentiles that have been brought into Israel. This was prophesied in Torah (Gen. 49:9-10) and in the Tanakh (Psalm 22:26-31, 72:17-19, 98:2-3, Isa. 49:6, 56:8). The way to Elohim is not through a bloodline. It is through faithfulness in Yeshua that we are grafted in to Israel (Eph. 2:11-13, 19).
(John 10:17 NASB) “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
(John 10:18 NASB) “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
John 10:18: Yeshua Messiah willingly laid down His life for His people. He did this without even uttering a word in His own defense. He could have asked His Father to send legions of angels to save Him, but He didn’t (Matt. 26:53).
He also had the power to take it again. He resurrected on the third day and overcame death. His people will do the same thing.
(John 10:19 NASB) There arose a division again among the Jews because of these words.
(John 10:20 NASB) And many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?”
John 10:20: This is not the first time the Pharisees accused Him of this in the book of John (John 7:20, 8:48). That seems to be their only defense. They cannot refute His signs or His teachings. They can only try to discredit the source of His power.
(John 10:21 NASB) Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?”
John 10:21: Yeshua caused division among the people. Many of them realized that only Elohim could make a man that was blind from birth see (Ex. 4:11, Psalm 146:8, Prov. 20:12).
(John 10:22 NASB) At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem;
(John 10:23 NASB) it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.
(John 10:24 NASB) The Jews therefore gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
John 10:24: Yeshua didn’t hide who He was. He did not admit that He was Messiah to the masses yet, but it had been proclaimed many times so far. Andrew told his brother who Yeshua is (John 1:41). Nathaniel recognized Him for who he is (John 1:49). The woman at the well knew who He was and the men of Samaria saw who He was also (John 4:42). Now these people are trying to blame Yeshua for not being clear enough!
(John 10:25 NASB) Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these bear witness of Me.
(John 10:26 NASB) “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep.
John 10:26: Yeshua says that His works bear out who He is. His life and teaching demonstrated it. His signs and miracles proved it. But since they are not His sheep, they do not see it and cannot hear His voice (Romans 11:7-10, 2 Cor. 4:3-4, 1 John 4:6).
(John 10:27 NASB) “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
John 10:27: When His people hear the Word of Elohim, they run toward it and embrace it. Many people are mistaken in thinking they can run towards paganism and that Elohim knows them. They are wrong (1 Kings 18:21)
(John 10:28 NASB) and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.
John 10:28: Yeshua gives eternal life to His people and they will not perish. Notice that He does not say they will not die, but they will not eternally perish (Isa. 45:17, Psalm 37:28-31, 103:17-18).
(John 10:29 NASB) “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
John 10:29: The Good Shepherd goes out into the fields with 100 sheep and He will come back with 100 sheep. He will not come back with only 99.
It is common knowledge to shepherds that sheep are notoriously stupid. From what I understand, they will wander off and get lost at the drop of a hat. If a sheep is only a half mile away from the flock, he will just wander around in circles crying. He cannot find his way back. He cannot defend himself. He is just prey for the predators of the fields. It is totally up to the shepherd to defend him and keep him.
Yeshua Messiah is our Shepherd in the same way. He is the One who protects us and keeps us. If we did our own keeping, then we would all wander away from our Father and lose Him every hour of every day. But that is not the case. We are not the keepers of our redemption. Yeshua Messiah is our Good Shepherd and our Keeper. It is the Spirit of the Father within us that keeps us.
(John 10:30 NASB) “I and the Father are one.”
John 10:30: This is a very blatant and open claim by Yeshua Messiah and it can only be understood in the context of Him being a form of Elohim. He is the Word of Elohim revealed in the flesh.
(John 10:31 NASB) The Jews took up stones again to stone Him.
John 10:31: If someone states that in the previous passage, Yeshua is not claiming to be Elohim, they are wrong. That is certainly how the Pharisees understood His statement. They thought for sure they caught Yeshua in blasphemy.
The question arises, what is blasphemy? Is it taking the name of Elohim in vain (Ex. 20:7)? That commandment in Torah means that we cannot use the name of Elohim for empty reasons and it also means that we cannot take a false oath in His Name. There is no indication that Yeshua used the Father’s name in any way.
The Greek word for blasphemy is G988. blasphaymia, from G989; slander:– abusive language(1), blasphemies(4), blasphemous(2), blasphemy(6), railing(1), slander(3), slanders(1). In context of the Brit Hadasha, it means to slander Elohim. There was a commandment against cursing Elohim (Lev. 24:10-16). The Hebrew word translated “blasphemy” in that context means “to curse.” Blasphemed – H6895. qabab, [866d]; a prim. root; to utter a curse against, curse:– blasphemed(1), curse(10), curse all(1), cursed(2).
The Pharisees wanted to stone Yeshua, not for taking the Father’s name in vain or for cursing the Father because He did no such thing. But they wanted stone Him for slandering the Father, or making a false statement about Him.
Another interesting side note is that the Brit Hadasha has no direct prohibitions referring to the third commandment, which is against taking His name without purpose, or using it flippantly.
(John 10:32 NASB) Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”
(John 10:33 NASB) The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”
John 10:33: They recognize He has done many good works from the Father. They could not deny that. The Pharisees considered the words of Yeshua to be slander against Elohim because He said He was One with the Father.
(John 10:34 NASB) Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’?
John 10:34: The Greek term “nomos” that is translated as “law” refers to the entire Tanakh. Yeshua is quoting Psalm 82 where it calls the judges “elohim” or “gods.” In Psalm 82, the judges are called “gods” because they are doing the work of Elohim by judging righteously. Moses was told that he was essentially God to Pharoah also (Ex. 4:16, 7:1).
Once again, the Hebrew term “elohim” means “mighty one(s).”
(John 10:35 NASB) “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),
John 10:35: On another side note, Yeshua said that Scripture cannot be broken. Scripture is permanent and forever (Luke 16:17, Isa. 40:8, Psalm 119:82, 154, 160).
(John 10:36 NASB) do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
John 10:36: Yeshua is saying if those who carry out the Word of Elohim are called “elohim” themselves, then the term “sons of Elohim” also (and probably more aptly) applies to those who have the Word of Elohim come upon them.
Yeshua has proven many times over that He has been sent of the Father through the signs He has shown. So what is wrong with Him calling Himself the “Son of Elohim?”
(John 10:37 NASB) “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;
(John 10:38 NASB) but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”
John 10:38: Yeshua is pointing to the signs He has shown them. If those signs He has performed are not the signs the Father said He would perform in the last days, then do not believe Him. But they saw Yeshua made the blind see, the lame walk and many other miraculous signs prophesied for the last days. There is no denying that these prophesied works made full the prophesied Words of the Father.
(John 10:39 NASB) Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.
(John 10:40 NASB) And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there.
(John 10:41 NASB) And many came to Him and were saying, “While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true.”
John 10:41: John said that he is witness that Yeshua is the Son of Elohim, just as He is saying in this chapter (John 1:29-34, Matt. 3:13-17). He also testified that Yeshua was sent from the Father (John 3:29-36).
John was sent to be witness to the identity and Truth of Yeshua being His Father’s Word made flesh.
(John 10:42 NASB) And many believed in Him there.
John 10:42: Many entrusted (Gr. – pisteuo) Yeshua there. Yeshua had many sheep there. That is why He was calling out. If you are one of His sheep, you will hear His voice. If you are not His sheep, you will not be interested in His Word and in His ways, which is His Torah.
Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
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Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
Fort Smith, Arkansas