The Good Shepherd. 1* “Amen, amen, I say to you,a whoever does not enter a sheepfold* through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. 2But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4* When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,b because they recognize his voice. 5But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” 6Although Jesus used this figure of speech,* they did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
7* So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8* All who came [before me] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. 11I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.c 12A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.d 13This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.e 16I have other sheep* that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.f 17This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.g 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.* This command I have received from my Father.”h
19Again there was a division among the Jews because of these words.i 20Many of them said, “He is possessed and out of his mind; why listen to him?”j 21Others said, “These are not the words of one possessed; surely a demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?”k
Feast of the Dedication. 22The feast of the Dedication* was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter.l 23* And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense?* If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”m 25Jesus answered them, “I told you* and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.n 26But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.o 27My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.p 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,* and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.q 30* The Father and I are one.”r
31The Jews again picked up rocks to stone him.s 32Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” 33The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.”t 34* Jesus answered them,u “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? 35If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and scripture cannot be set aside, 36can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated* and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?v 37If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; 38but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize [and understand] that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”w 39[Then] they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power.
40He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.x 41Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign,* but everything John said about this man was true.” 42And many there began to believe in him.y
* [10:1–21] The good shepherd discourse continues the theme of attack on the Pharisees that ends Jn 9. The figure is allegorical: the hired hands are the Pharisees who excommunicated the cured blind man. It serves as a commentary on Jn 9. For the shepherd motif, used of Yahweh in the Old Testament, cf. Ex 34; Gn 48:15; 49:24; Mi 7:14; Ps 23:1–4; 80:1.
* [10:1] Sheepfold: a low stone wall open to the sky.
* [10:4] Recognize his voice: the Pharisees do not recognize Jesus, but the people of God, symbolized by the blind man, do.
* [10:6] Figure of speech: John uses a different word for illustrative speech than the “parable” of the synoptics, but the idea is similar.
* [10:7–10] In Jn 10:7–8, the figure is of a gate for the shepherd to come to the sheep; in Jn 10:9–10, the figure is of a gate for the sheep to come in and go out.
* [10:8] [Before me]: these words are omitted in many good early manuscripts and versions.
* [10:16] Other sheep: the Gentiles, possibly a reference to “God’s dispersed children” of Jn 11:52 destined to be gathered into one, or “apostolic Christians” at odds with the community of the beloved disciple.
* [10:18] Power to take it up again: contrast the role of the Father as the efficient cause of the resurrection in Acts 2:24; 4:10; etc.; Rom 1:4; 4:24. Yet even here is added: This command I have received from my Father.
* [10:22] Feast of the Dedication: an eight-day festival of lights (Hebrew, Hanukkah) held in December, three months after the feast of Tabernacles (Jn 7:2), to celebrate the Maccabees’ rededication of the altar and reconsecration of the temple in 164 B.C., after their desecration by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Dn 8:13; 9:27; cf. 1 Mc 4:36–59; 2 Mc 1:18–2:19; 10:1–8).
* [10:23] Portico of Solomon: on the east side of the temple area, offering protection against the cold winds from the desert.
* [10:24] Keep us in suspense: literally, “How long will you take away our life?” Cf. Jn 11:48–50. If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly: cf. Lk 22:67. This is the climax of Jesus’ encounters with the Jewish authorities. There has never yet been an open confession before them.
* [10:25] I told you: probably at Jn 8:25 which was an evasive answer.
* [10:29] The textual evidence for the first clause is very divided; it may also be translated: “As for the Father, what he has given me is greater than all,” or “My Father is greater than all, in what he has given me.”
* [10:30] This is justification for Jn 10:29; it asserts unity of power and reveals that the words and deeds of Jesus are the words and deeds of God.
* [10:34] This is a reference to the judges of Israel who, since they exercised the divine prerogative to judge (Dt 1:17), were called “gods”; cf. Ex 21:6, besides Ps 82:6 from which the quotation comes.
* [10:36] Consecrated: this may be a reference to the rededicated altar at the Hanukkah feast; see note on Jn 10:22.
* [10:41] Performed no sign: this is to stress the inferior role of John the Baptist. The Transjordan topography recalls the great witness of John the Baptist to Jesus, as opposed to the hostility of the authorities in Jerusalem.
a. [10:1–5] Gn 48:15; 49:24; Ps 23:1–4; 80:2; Jer 23:1–4; Ez 34:1–31; Mi 7:14.
c. [10:11] Ps 23:1–4; Is 40:11; 49:9–10; Heb 13:20; Rev 7:17.
f. [10:16] 11:52; Is 56:8; Jer 23:3; Ez 34:23; 37:24; Mi 2:12.
n. [10:25] 8:25 / 5:36; 10:38.
r. [10:30] 1:1; 12:45; 14:9; 17:21.
t. [10:33] 5:18; 19:7; Lv 24:16.