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The Pharisees are frequently around to challenge whatever Jesus says and does, but He always gets the better of them. Once again, Jesus turns what the Pharisees say inside out. They think blindness is a curse that evidences sin, and they think vision ensures knowledge and understanding—even concerning spiritual matters. Instead, the Pharisees’ confidence in their vision and discernment make them unable to see the truth about Jesus. Ironically, they have blind trust in their sighted leaders. By refusing to believe in Him, they are the sinners—not the blind man.

10 Jesus: I tell you the truth: the man who crawls through the fence of the sheep pen, rather than walking through the gate, is a thief or a vandal. The shepherd walks openly through the entrance. The guard who is posted to protect the sheep opens the gate for the shepherd, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When all the sheep have been gathered, he walks on ahead of them; and they follow him because they know his voice. The sheep would not be willing to follow a stranger; they run because they do not know the voice of a stranger.

Jesus explained a profound truth through this metaphor, but they did not understand His teaching. So He explained further.

Jesus: I tell you the truth: I am the gate of the sheep. All who approached the sheep before Me came as thieves and robbers, and the sheep did not listen to their voices. I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be liberated, will go in and go out, and will find pastures. 10 The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep in His care. 12 The hired hand is not like the shepherd caring for His own sheep. When a wolf attacks, snatching and scattering the sheep, he runs for his life, leaving them defenseless. 13 The hired hand runs because he works only for wages and does not care for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep, and My sheep know Me. 15 As the Father knows Me, I know the Father; I will give My life for the sheep. 16 There are many more sheep than you can see here, and I will bring them as well. They will hear My voice, and the flock will be united. One flock. One shepherd. 17 The Father loves Me because I am willing to lay down My life—but I will take it up again. 18 My life cannot be taken away by anybody else; I am giving it of My own free will. My authority allows Me to give My life and to take it again. All this has been commanded by My Father.

Jesus loves to explain truth through everyday things like vines, fruit, fishing, building, and shepherding, as He does here. He is a master communicator. In this metaphor, Jesus is the shepherd. Eventually He becomes the sheep as well. On the cross, He is destined to become the innocent sacrifice that makes all future sin sacrifices and burnt offerings unnecessary.

19 When He spoke these words, some of the Jews began to argue.

Many Jews: 20 He has a demon and is a raving maniac. Why are you people listening to Him?

Other Jews: 21 No demon-possessed man ever spoke like this. Do demons give sight to the blind?

22-23 It was winter and time for the Festival of Dedication.[a] While in Jerusalem, Jesus was walking through the temple in an area known as Solomon’s porch, 24 and Jews gathered around Him.

Jews: How long are You going to keep us guessing? If You are God’s Anointed, the Liberating King, announce it clearly.

Jesus: 25 I have told you, and you do not believe. The works I am doing in My Father’s name tell the truth about Me. You do not listen; 26 you lack faith because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep respond as they hear My voice; I know them intimately, and they follow Me. 28 I give them a life that is unceasing, and death will not have the last word. Nothing or no one can steal them from My hand. 29 My Father has given the flock to Me, and He is superior to all beings and things. No one is powerful enough to snatch the flock from My Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.

31 The Jews gathered stones to execute Jesus right then and there.

Jesus: 32 I have performed many beautiful works before you in the name of the Father. Which of these can be judged as an offense that merits My execution?

Jews: 33 You are not condemned for performing miracles. We demand Your life because You are a man, yet you claim to be God. This is blasphemy!

Jesus: 34 You know what is written in the Scriptures. Doesn’t it read, “I said, you are gods”?[b] 35 If the Scriptures called your ancestors (mere mortals) gods to whom the word of God came—and the Scriptures cannot be set aside— 36 what should you call One who is unique, sanctified by and sent from the Father into the world? I have said, “I am God’s Son.” How can you call that blasphemy? 37 By all means, do not believe in Me, if I am not doing the things of the Father. 38 But examine My actions, and you will see that My work is the work of the Father. Regardless of whether you believe in Me—believe the miracles. Then you will know that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.

39 Once again, some of the Jews tried to capture Him, but He slipped away, eluding their grasp. 40 Jesus crossed the Jordan River and returned to the place where John was ritually cleansing the people through baptism[c] in the early days. He lingered in the area, 41 and scores of people gathered around Him.

Crowds: John never performed any miracles, but every word he spoke about this man has come to pass. It is all true!

42 In that place, many believed in Him.


  1. 10:22-23 The Festival of Lights or Hanukkah
  2. 10:34 Psalm 82:6
  3. 10:40 Literally, immersing, to show repentance

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