John 10

Chapter ten finishes the story of the Feast of Tabernacles, then jumps ahead a couple of months. In verses 1-21, Jesus added two new “I am” statements. First, he told a parable about a sheepfold and its gatekeeper (John 10:1-10). The gatekeeper alone decided who was allowed to enter and exit the sheepfold. Jesus claimed, “I am the door for the sheep” (John 10:7). His purpose in coming was the exact opposite of the enemy. Instead of offering only death and destruction, Jesus offers life and abundance.

Shifting the parable a little bit, Jesus declared that he was not only the door, he was also “the good shepherd” (John 10:11-13). This designation separated from those who were only hired to watch the sheep, whose only goal was their own safety and salary, and who run at the first sign of trouble. This was a direct reference to the Pharisees, based on Ezekiel 34, where God condemned the false shepherds who mistreated his “sheep,” the nation of Israel. Once again Jesus prophesied his own death, this time including his resurrection, stating that he himself was in control of its occurrence (John 10:14-18). With each of these several interactions during the feast, the division in the crowd grew wider, with the favorite accusation that Jesus was demon-possessed (John 10:19-21).

John 10:22 moves forward about three months to “the feast of the Dedication” in winter (more commonly known as “Hanukkah”). Jesus was back in Jerusalem in the Temple area, where the religious leaders approached him again, looking for something for which they could condemn him. This time they wanted him to claim to be Messiah (John 10:22-30). Instead, he once again claimed full deity, rather than being just a great prophet. When they intended to kill him again, he stopped them and asked for their reasoning (John 10:31-39). When they claimed that he had blasphemed by claiming to be equal with God, he deftly claimed that it was not blasphemy if it were true. This infuriated them, and they tried to grab him again but to no avail. He left Israel for a short while, staying on the other side of the Jordan River, where many people came to believe in him (John 10:40-42).