John 10


Christ speaks the parable of the sheepfold, 1-6.

Proclaims himself the door of the sheepfold, 7-10,

and the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep,


The Jews are again divided, and some revile and some vindicate

our Lord, 19-21.

His discourse with the Jews at the temple, on the feast of

dedication, 22-29.

Having asserted that he was one with the Father, the Jews

attempt to stone him, 30, 31.

He vindicates his conduct, and appeals to his works, 32-38.

They strive to apprehend him; he escapes, and retires beyond

Jordan, 39, 40.

Many resort to and believe on him there, 41, 42.


Verse 1. Verily, verily, &c.] From Joh 10:6, we learn that this

is a parable, i.e. a representation of heavenly things through the

medium of earthly things. Some think our Lord delivered this

discourse immediately after that mentioned in the preceding

chapter; others think it was spoken not less than three months

after. The former, says Bishop Pearce, was spoken at the feast of

tabernacles, see chap. 7, or about the end of September, and this

at the feast of dedication, or in December. See Joh 10:22.

Christ, says Calmet, having declared himself to be the light of

the world, which should blind some while it illuminated others,

Joh 9:41, continues his discourse, and, under the similitude of

a shepherd and his flock, shows that he was about to form his

Church of Jews and Gentiles, and that into it he would admit none

but those who heard his voice. The unbelieving and presumptuous

Jews, who despised his doctrine, are the sheep which hear not the

voice of the shepherd: the proud and self-sufficient Pharisees are

those who imagine they see clearly while they are blind. The blind

who become illuminated are the Gentiles and Jews who turn from

their sins and believe in Jesus.

The light of the world, the good shepherd, and the door which

leads into the sheepfold, are all to be understood as meaning

Jesus Christ; the hireling shepherds, the wilfully blind; the

murderers and robbers are the false Christs, false prophets,

scribes, Pharisees, wicked hireling priests, and ungodly ministers

of all sorts, whether among primitive Jews or modern Christians.

Our Lord introduces this discourse in a most solemn manner,

Verily, verily!-Amen, amen!-it is true, it is true!-a Hebraism

for, This is a most important and interesting truth; a truth of

the utmost concern to mankind. At all times our Lord speaks what

is infallibly true; but when he delivers any truths with this

particular asseveration, it is either, 1. Because they are of

greater importance; or, 2. because the mind of man is more averse

from them; or, 3. because the small number of those who will

practise them may render them incredible. Quesnel.

He that entereth not by the door] Christ assures us, Joh 10:7,

that he is the door; whoever, therefore, enters not by Jesus

Christ into the pastoral office, is no other than a thief and a

robber in the sheepfold. And he enters not by Jesus Christ who

enters with a prospect of any other interest besides that of

Christ and his people. Ambition, avarice, love of ease, a desire

to enjoy the conveniences of life, to be distinguished from the

crowd, to promote the interests of one's family, and even the sole

design of providing against want-these are all ways by which

thieves and robbers enter into the Church. And whoever enters by

any of these ways, or by simony, craft, solicitation, &c. deserves

no better name. Acting through motives of self-interest, and with

the desire of providing for himself and his family, are innocent,

yea, laudable, in a secular business; but to enter into the

ministerial office through motives of this kind is highly criminal

before God.

Verse 2. He that entereth in by the door] Observe here the

marks, qualities, and duties of a good pastor; The first mark is,

that he has a lawful entrance into the ministry by the internal

call of Christ, namely, by an impulse proceeding from his Spirit,

upon considerations which respect only his glory, and upon motives

which aim at nothing but the good of his Church, the salvation of

souls, the doing the will of God, and the sacrificing himself

entirely to his service, and to that of the meanest of his flock.

Verse 3. To him the porter openeth] Sir Isaac Newton observes

that our Lord being near the temple, where sheep were kept in

folds to be sold for sacrifices, spoke many things parabolically

of sheep, of their shepherds, and of the door to the sheepfold;

and discovers that he alluded to the sheepfolds which were to be

hired in the market place, by speaking of such folds as a thief

could not enter by the door, nor the shepherd himself open, but a

porter opened to the shepherd. In the porter opening the door to

the true shepherd, we may discover the second mark of a true

minister-his labour is crowned with success. The Holy Spirit opens

his way into the hearts of his hearers, and he becomes the

instrument of their salvation. See Col 4:3; 2Co 2:12;

1Co 16:9; Re 3:8.

The sheep hear his voice] A third mark of a good shepherd is

that he speaks so as to instruct the people-the sheep hear HIS

voice; he does not take the fat and the fleece, and leave another

hireling on less pay to do the work of the pastoral office. No:

himself preaches Christ Jesus the Lord, and in that simplicity

too, that is best calculated to instruct the common people. A man

who preaches in such a language as the people cannot comprehend

may do for a stage-player or a mountebank, but not for a minister

of Christ.

He calleth his own sheep by name] A fourth mark of a good pastor

is that he is well acquainted with his flock; he knows them by

name-he takes care to acquaint himself with the spiritual states

of all those that are entrusted to him. He speaks to them

concerning their souls, and thus getting a thorough knowledge of

their state he is the better qualified to profit them by his

public ministrations. He who has not a proper acquaintance with

the Church of Christ, can never by his preaching build it up in

its most holy faith.

And leadeth them out.] A fifth mark of a good shepherd is, he

leads the flock, does not lord it over God's heritage; nor

attempts by any rigorous discipline not founded on the Gospel of

Christ, to drive men into the way of life; nor drive them out of

it, which many do, by a severity which is a disgrace to the mild

Gospel of the God of peace and love.

He leads them out of themselves to Christ, out of the follies,

diversions, and amusements of the world, into the path of

Christian holiness: in a word, he leads them, by those gentle yet

powerful persuasions that flow from a heart full of the word and

love of Christ, into the kingdom and glory of his God.

Verse 4. He goeth before them] A sixth mark of a true pastor is,

he gives them a good example: he not only preaches, but he lives,

the truth of the Gospel; he enters into the depths of the

salvation of God; and, having thus explored the path, he knows how

to lead those who are entrusted to his care into the fulness of

the blessings of the Gospel of peace. He who does not endeavour to

realize in his own soul the truths which he preaches to others

will soon be as salt without its savour; his preaching cannot be

accompanied with that unction which alone can make it acceptable

and profitable to those whose hearts are right with God. The

minister who is in this state of salvation the sheep, genuine

Christians, will follow, for they know his voice. It was the

custom in the eastern countries for the shepherd to go at the head

of his sheep, and they followed him from pasture to pasture. I

have seen many hundreds of sheep thus following their shepherd on

the extensive downs in the western parts of England.

Verse 5. And a stranger will they not follow] That is, a man

who, pretending to be a shepherd of the flock of God, is a

stranger to that salvation which he professes to preach. His

mode of preaching soon proves, to those whose hearts are

acquainted with the truths of God, that he is a stranger to them;

and therefore, knowing him to have got into the fold in an

improper way, they consider him a thief, a robber, and a murderer;

and who can blame them if they wholly desert his ministry? There

are preachers of this kind among all classes.

Verse 7. I am the door of the sheep.] It is through me only that

a man can have a lawful entrance into the ministry; and it is

through me alone that mankind can be saved. Instead of, I am the

door, the Sahidic version reads, I am the shepherd; but this

reading is found in no other version, nor in any MS. It is

evidently a mistake of the scribe.

Verse 8. All that ever came before me] Or, as some translate,

all that came instead of me, προεμου, i.e. all that came as the

Christ, or Messiah, such as Theudas, and Judas the Gaulonite,

who are mentioned, Ac 5:36, 37; and who were indeed no other than

thieves, plundering the country wherever they came; and murderers,

not only slaying the simple people who resisted them, but leading

the multitudes of their followers to the slaughter.

But our Lord probably refers to the scribes and Pharisees, who

pretended to show the way of salvation to the people-who in fact

stole into the fold, and clothed themselves with the fleece, and

devoured the sheep.

The words, προεμου, before me, are wanting in EGMS, Mt. BKV,

seventy others; Syriac, Persic, Syriac Hieros., Gothic, Saxon,

Vulgate, eleven copies of the Itala; Basil, Cyril, Chrysostom,

Theophylact, Euthymius, Augustin, and some others. Griesbach has

left them in the text with a note of doubtfulness. The reason thy

these words are wanting in so many respectable MSS., versions, and

fathers, is probably that given by Theophylact, who says that the

Manicheans inferred from these words that all the Jewish prophets

were impostors. But our Lord has borne sufficient testimony to

their inspiration in a variety of places.

κλεπτης, and ληστης, the thief and the robber, should be

properly distinguished; one takes by cunning and stealth; the

other openly and by violence. It would not be difficult to find

bad ministers who answer to both these characters. Tithes have

been often enforced and collected in a most exceptionable manner,

and in a most disgraceful spirit.

The reflection of pious Quesnel on this verse is well worth

attention. A pastor ought to remember that whoever boasts of being

the way of salvation, and the gate of heaven, shows himself to be

a thief and an impostor; and though few are arrived at this degree

of folly, yet there are many who rely too much upon their own

talents, eloquence, and labours, as if the salvation of the

sheep depended necessarily thereon: in which respect they are

always robbers, since they rob the grace of Christ of the glory of

saving the sheep. God often puts such pastors to shame, by not

opening the hearts of the people to receive their word: while he

blesses those who are humble, in causing them to be heard with

attention, and accompanying their preaching with an unction which

converts and saves souls. Let every man know that in this respect

his sufficiency and success are of the Lord.

Verse 9. I am the door: by me if any man enter, &c.] Those who

come for salvation to God, through Christ, shall obtain it: he

shall be saved-he shall have his sins blotted out, his soul

purified, and himself preserved unto eternal life. This the

scribes and Pharisees could neither promise nor impart.

Go in and out] This phrase, in the style of the Hebrews, points

out all the actions of a man's life, and the liberty he has of

acting, or not acting. A good shepherd conducts his flock to the

fields where good pasturage is to be found; watches over them

while there, and brings them back again and secures them in the

fold. So he that is taught and called of God feeds the flock of

Christ with those truths of his word of grace which nourish them

unto eternal life; and God blesses together both the shepherd and

the sheep, so that going out and coming in they find pasture:

every occurrence is made useful to them; and all things work

together for their good.

Verse 10. But for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy] Those

who enter into the priesthood that they may enjoy the revenues of

the Church, are the basest and vilest of thieves and murderers.

Their ungodly conduct is a snare to the simple, and the occasion

of much scandal to the cause of Christ. Their doctrine is deadly;

they are not commissioned by Christ, and therefore they cannot

profit the people. Their character is well pointed out by the

Prophet Ezekiel, Eze 34:2, &c.

Wo be to the shepherds of Israel, that do feed themselves! Ye

eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool; ye kill them that

are fed: but ye feed not the flock, &c, How can worldly-minded,

hireling, fox-hunting, and card-playing priests read these words

of the Lord, without trembling to the centre of their souls! Wo to

those parents who bring up their children merely for Church

honours and emoluments! Suppose a person have all the Church's

revenues, if he have God's wo, how miserable is his portion! Let

none apply this censure to any one class of preachers,


That they might have life] My doctrine tends to life, because it

is the true doctrine-that of the false and bad shepherds tends to

death, because it neither comes from nor can lead to that God who

is the fountain of life.

Might have it more abundantly.] That they might have an

abundance, meaning either of life, or of all necessary good

things; greater felicity than ever was enjoyed under any period of

the Mosaic dispensation; and it is certain that Christians have

enjoyed greater blessings and privileges than were ever possessed

by the Jews, even in the promised land. If περισσον be considered

the accusative fem. Attic, agreeing with ζωην, (see Parkhurst,)

then it signifies more abundant life; that is, eternal life; or

spiritual blessings much greater than had ever yet been

communicated to man, preparing for a glorious immortality. Jesus

is come that men may have abundance; abundance of grace, peace,

love, life, and salvation. Blessed be Jesus.

Verse 11. I am the good shepherd] Whose character is the very

reverse of that which has already been described. In Joh 10:7, 9,

our Lord had called himself the door of the sheep, as being the

sole way to glory, and entrance into eternal life; here he

changes the thought, and calls himself the shepherd, because of

what he was to do for them that believe in him, in order to

prepare them for eternal glory.

Giveth his life for the sheep.] That is, gives up his soul as a

sacrifice to save them from eternal death.

Some will have the phrase here only to mean hazarding his life

in order to protect others; but the 15th, 17th, and 18th verses,

Joh 10:15, 17, 18, as well as the whole tenor of the new

covenant, sufficiently prove that the first sense is that in which

our Lord's words should be understood.

Verse 12. But he that is a hireling] Or, as my old MS. Bible

reads it, the marchaunt, he who makes merchandise of men's souls;

bartering them, and his own too, for filthy lucre. Let not the

reader apply this, or any of the preceding censures, to any

particular class or order of men: every religious party may have a

hireling priest, or minister; and where the provision is the

greatest there the danger is most.

Whose own the sheep are not] A hireling priest, who has never

been the instrument of bringing souls to God, will not abide with

them in the time of danger or persecution. They are not the

produce of his labour, faith, and prayers: he has no other

interest in their welfare than that which comes from the fleece

and the fat. The hireling counts the sheep his own, no longer than

they are profitable to him; the good shepherd looks upon them as

his, so long as he can be profitable to them.

Among the ancient Jews some kept their own flocks, others hired

shepherds to keep them for them. And every owner must naturally

have felt more interest in the preservation of his flock than the

hireling could possibly feel.

Verse 14. I-know my sheep] I know, ταεμα, them that are mine: I

know their hearts, their wishes, their purposes, their

circumstances; and I approve of them; for in this sense the word

to know is often taken in the Scriptures. Homer represents the

goatherds as being so well acquainted with their own, though mixed

with others, as easily to distinguish them.



Iliad. 2. 474.

"As goat-herds separate their numerous flocks

With ease, though fed promiscuous."

And am known of mine.] They know me as their father, protector,

and Saviour; they acknowledge me and my truth before the world;

and they approve of me, my word, my ordinances, and my people, and

manifest this by their attachment to me, and their zeal for my

glory. The first clause of the 15th verse should be joined to the

fourteenth. Joh 10:14-15

Verse 16. Other sheep I have] The Gentiles and Samaritans. As if

our Lord had said, Do not imagine that I shall lay down my life

for the Jews, exclusively of all other people; no: I shall die

also for the Gentiles; for by the grace, the merciful design and

loving purpose of God, I am to taste death for every man,

Heb 2:9; and, though they are not of

this fold now, those among them that believe shall be united with

the believing Jews, and made one fold under one shepherd,

Eph 2:13-17.

The original word, αυλη, which is here translated fold,

dignifies properly a court. It is probable that our blessed Lord

was now standing in what was termed the inner court, or court of

the people, in the temple, see Joh 10:23; and that he referred to

the outer court, or court of the Gentiles, because the Gentiles

who were proselytes of the gate were permitted to worship in that

place; but only those who were circumcised were permitted to come

into the inner court, over the entrance of which were written, in

large characters of gold, these words, Let no uncircumcised person

enter here! Our Lord therefore might at this time have pointed out

to the worshippers in that court, when he spoke these words, and

the people would at once perceive that he meant the Gentiles.

Verse 17. Therefore doth my Father love me] As I shall be

shortly crucified by you, do not imagine that I am abandoned by my

heavenly Father, and therefore fall thus into your hands. The

Father loveth me particularly on this account, because I am

going to lay down my life for the life of the world. Again, do not

suppose that I shall be put to death by your rulers, because I

have not strength to resist them. I LAY DOWN my life voluntarily

and cheerfully; no one can take it away from me, see Joh 10:18;

and I shall give you the fullest proof of my supreme power by

raising, in three days, that very crucified, wounded body from the


Verse 18. I have power] Or, authority, εξουσιαν. Our Lord

speaks of himself here as man, or the Messiah, as being God's

messenger, and sent upon earth to fulfil the Divine will, in dying

and rising again for the salvation of men.

This commandment have I received] That is, I act according to

the Divine commandment in executing these things, and giving you

this information.

Verse 19. There was a division] σχισμα, a schism, a rent.

They were divided in their opinions; one part received the light,

and the other resisted it.

Again] There was a dissension of this kind before among the same

people; see Joh 9:16.

Verse 20. He hath a devil, and is mad] So, then, a demoniac and

a madman were not exactly the same in the apprehension of the

Jews; no more than the effect is the same with the cause which

produces it. Some will have it that, when the Jews told our Lord

that he had a demon, they meant no more than that he was deranged;

but here these matters are evidently distinguished. They believed

him to be possessed by a demon, who deranged his faculties, and

that he must have been a wicked man, and a deceiver, thus to be

put under the power of such a spirit.

Verse 21. These are not the words of him that hath a devil.] If

he were deranged by an unclean spirit, his words would bear a

similitude to the spirit that produced them; but these are words

of deep sense, soberness, and piety: besides, could a demoniac

open the eyes of blind men? "This is not the work of a demon. Now

we have seen that this man has restored a man who was born blind.

Therefore it is demonstrably evident that he is neither a madman

nor a demoniac.

Behold the usage which the blessed Lord received from his

creatures! And behold with what meekness and gentleness he

conducts himself!-not a word of impatience proceeds from his lips;

nor a look of contempt or indignation is seen in his face. And

what was he doing to merit all this? Why, he was instructing the

ignorant, and telling the wretched that he was just going to die

to save their souls! Amazing love of God, and ingratitude and

obduracy of men! Let not the disciple suppose that, in this

respect, he shall be above his master. When a minister of Christ

has done his utmost to do good to his fellow creatures, let him

not be surprised if he meet with nothing from many but reproaches

and persecutions for his pains. The grand point is to take Jesus

for an example of suffering, and to be armed with the same mind.

It appears that the words spoken by the friendly Jews prevailed;

and that the others were obliged to abandon the field.

Verse 22. The feast of the dedication] This was a feast

instituted by Judas Maccabeus, in commemoration of his purifying

the temple after it had been defiled by Antiochus Epiphanes. This

feast began on the twenty-fifth of the month Cisleu, (which

answers to the eighteenth of our December,) and continued for

eight days. When Antiochus had heard that the Jews had made great

rejoicings, on account of a report that had been spread of his

death, he hastened out of Egypt to Jerusalem, took the city by

storm, and slew of the inhabitants in three days forty thousand

persons; and forty thousand more he sold for slaves to the

neighbouring nations. Not contented with this, he sacrificed a

great sow on the altar of burnt offerings; and, broth being made

by his command of some of the flesh, he sprinkled it all over the

temple, that he might defile it to the uttermost. See Prideaux's

Connection, vol. iii. p. 236, edit. 1725. After this, the whole of

the temple service seems to have been suspended for three years,

great dilapidations having taken place also in various parts of

the buildings: see 1 Macc. 4:36, &c. As Judas Maccabaeus not only

restored the temple service, and cleansed it from pollution, &c.,

but also repaired the ruins of it, the feast was called τα

εγκαινια, the renovation.

It was winter.] χειμωνην, or, it was stormy or rainy

weather. And this is the reason, probably, why our Lord is

represented as walking in Solomon's porch, or portico, Joh 10:23.

Though it certainly was in winter when this feast was held, yet it

does not appear that the word above refers so much to the time of

the year as to the state of the weather. Indeed, there was no

occasion to add it was winter, when the feast of the dedication

was mentioned, because every body knew that, as that feast was

held on the twenty-fifth of the month Cisleu, it was in the winter


John has here omitted all that Jesus did from the time when he

left Jerusalem, after the feast of tabernacles in September was

ended, until the feast of the dedication in the December

following: and he did it probably because he found that the other

evangelists had given an account of what our Lord did in the

interval. St. Luke relates what our Lord did on his way from

Galilee to Jerusalem, to this feast, Lu 17:11-37; 18:1-14.

Observe, likewise, that this time here mentioned was the fourth

time (according to John's account) that Jesus went up to the

feasts at Jerusalem in about a year: for, first, he went up to

the feast of the passover, Joh 2:13;

next to the feast of pentecost, as it seems to have been,

Joh 5:1;

then to the feast of tabernacles, Joh 7:2, 10; and,

lastly, to the feast of the passover in which he was crucified.

John seems purposely to have pointed out his presence in Jerusalem

at these four feasts, because all the other evangelists have

omitted the mention of every one of them. See Bishop Pearce; and

See Clarke on Joh 5:1.

Verse 23. Solomon's porch.] By what we find in Josephus, Ant. b.

xx. c. 8, s. 7, a portico built by Solomon, on the east side of

the outer court of the temple, was left standing by Herod, when he

rebuilt the temple. This portico was four hundred cubits long, and

was left standing, probably, because of its grandeur and beauty.

But when Agrippa came to Jerusalem, a few years before the

destruction of the city by the Romans, and about eighty years

after Herod had begun his building, (till which time what Herod

had begun was not completed,) the Jews solicited Agrippa to repair

this portico at his own expense, using for argument, not only that

the building was growing ruinous, but that otherwise eighteen

thousand workmen, who had all of them, until then, been employed

in carrying on the works of the temple, would be all at once

deprived of a livelihood.

Verse 24. How long dost than make us to doubt?] Or, How long

dost thou kill us with suspense? εωςποτετηνψυχηνημωναιρεις,

literally, How long wilt thou take away our life? Mr. Markland

would read αιωρεις for αιρεις, which amounts nearly to the same

sense with the above. The Jews asked this question through extreme

perfidiousness: they wished to get him to declare himself king of

the Jews, that they might accuse him to the Roman governor; and by

it they insolently insinuated that all the proofs he had hitherto

given them of his Divine mission were good for nothing.

Verse 25. I told you, &c.] That is, I told you before what I

tell you now again, that the works which I do, bear testimony to

me. I have told you that I am the light of the world: the Son of

God: the good shepherd: that I am come to save-to give life-to

give liberty-to redeem you: that, in order to this, I must die,

and rise again; and that I am absolute master of my life, and of

my death. Have you not noticed my omniscience, in searching and

discovering the very secrets of your hearts? Have you not seen my

omnipotence in the miracles which I have wrought? Have not all

these been sufficient to convince you?-and yet ye will not

believe!-See the works which bore testimony to him, as the

Messiah, enumerated, Mt 11:5.

Verse 26. Ye are not of my sheep] Ye have not the disposition of

those who come unto me to be instructed and saved: see what


Verse 27. My sheep hear my voice] But ye will not hear:-my sheep

follow me; but ye will neither follow nor acknowledge me. Any

person who reads without prejudice may easily see, that our Lord

does not at all insinuate that these persons could not believe,

because God had made it impossible to them; but simply because

they did not hear and follow Christ, which the whole of our

blessed Lord's discourse proves that they might have done. The

sheep of Christ are not those who are included in any eternal

decree, to the exclusion of others from the yearnings of the

bowels of eternal mercy; but they are those who hear, believe in,

follow, and obey the Saviour of the world.

Verse 28. They shall never perish] Why? Because they hear my

voice, and follow me; therefore I know, I approve of and love

them, and give them eternal life. They who continue to hear

Christ's voice, and to follow him, shall never perish. They give

themselves up to God-believe so on Jesus that he lives in their

hearts: God hath given unto them eternal life, and this life is in

his Son; and he that hath the Son hath life, 1Jo 5:11, 12. Now it

is evident that only those who have Christ living in and governing

their souls, so that they possess the mind that was in him, are

his sheep-are those that shall never perish, because they have

this eternal life abiding in them: therefore to talk of a man's

being one of the elect-one that shall never perish-one who shall

have eternal life-who shall never be plucked out of the hand of

God, &c., while he lives in sin, has no Christ in his heart, has

either never received or fallen away from the grace of God, is

as contrary to common sense as it is to the nature and testimonies

of the Most High. Final perseverance implies final faithfulness-he

that endures to the end shall be saved-he that is faithful unto

death shall have a crown of life. And will any man attempt to say

that he who does not endure to the end, and is unfaithful, shall

ever enter into life?

Verse 29. My Father-is greater than all] More powerful than all

the united energies of men and demons. He who loves God must be

happy; and he who fears him need fear nothing on this side


Verse 30. I and my Father are one.] If Jesus Christ were not

God, could he have said these words without being guilty of

blasphemy? It is worthy of remark that Christ does not say, I and

MY Father, which my our translation very improperly supplies, and

which in this place would have conveyed a widely different

meaning: for then it would imply that the human nature of Christ,

of which alone, I conceive, God is ever said to be the Father in

Scripture, was equal to the Most High: but he says, speaking then

as God over all, I and THE Father, εγωκαιοπατηρενεσμεν-the

Creator of all things, the Judge of all men, the Father of the

spirits of all flesh-are ONE, ONE in nature, ONE in all the

attributes of Godhead, and ONE in all the operations of those

attributes: and so it is evident the Jews understood him. See

Joh 17:11, 22.

Verse 31. The Jews took up stones] To stone him as a blasphemer,

Le 24:14-16, because he said he was

one with God. The evangelist adds the word again, because they

had attempted to do this before, see Joh 8:59; but it seems they

mere prevented from doing this now by the following discourse.

Verse 32. Many good works have I showed you] I have healed your

sick, delivered those of you who were possessed from the power of

demons; I have fed multitudes of your poor, and I have taught you

in all places, at all times, without expense, with patience; and

is this my reward?

To show good works or good things is a Hebraism, which signifies

to do them really, to give good things liberally. The phrase

is similar to the following: Who will SHOW us any good? Ps 4:6;

i.e. who shall give us good things. SHOW us thy mercy, Ps 85:7;

i.e. give us to feel the effects of thy mercy. Thou hast SHOWED

thy people hard things, Ps 60:3; i.e. thou hast

treated them with rigour. Thou hast SHOWED me great and sore

troubles, Ps 71:20; i.e. thou hast

exposed me to terrible hardships.

Verse 33. But for blasphemy] I have elsewhere shown that the

original word, βλασφημειν, when applied to men, signifies to speak

injuriously of their persons, character, connections, &c.; but

when applied to God it signifies to speak impiously, i.e. contrary

to his nature, perfections, the wisdom of his providence, or

goodness of his works.

Thou, being a man] That is, only a man-makest thyself God. When

Christ said before, Joh 10:30,

I and the Father are one, had the Jews understood him (as many

called Christians profess to do) as only saying he had a unity of

sentiments with the Father, they would not have attempted to treat

him for this as a blasphemer; because in this sense Abraham,

Isaac, Moses, David, and all the prophets, were one with God. But

what irritated them so much was that they understood him as

speaking of a unity of nature. Therefore they say here, thou

makest thyself God; which word they understood, not in a

figurative, metaphorical, or improper sense, but in the most

literal meaning of the term.

Verse 34. Is it not written in your law] The words which our

Lord quotes are taken from Ps 82:6, which shows that, under the

word law, our Lord comprised the Jewish sacred writings in

general. See also Joh 12:34; 15:25.

Ye are gods?] That is, judges, who are called elohim.

That judges are here meant appears from Ps 82:2, &c., and also

from what follows here. And this is probably the only place where

the word is applied to any but the true God. See Parkhurst

under the root .

Verse 35. Unto whom the word of God came] Bishop Pearce thinks

that "the word λογος, here, is put for λογοςκρισεως, the word

or matter of judgment, as in 2Ch 19:6, where Jehoshaphat, setting

up judges in the land of Judah, says: Take heed what ye do: judge

not for men, but for the Lord, who is with you in judgment-λογοι

τηςκρισεως, in the words or matters of judgment,-SEPT., which is

nearly according to the Hebrew to bedebar mishpat, in

the word or matter of judgment. In De 1:17, when a charge is

given to the judges that they should not be afraid of the face of

man, this reason is given: for the judgment is God's. Hence it

appears probable that λογος is here used for λογοςκρισεως: and it

is called λογοςθεου, because it is the judgment that properly

belongs to God, and which they who give it on earth give only as

acting in the stead of God. A way of speaking very like to this is

found in Heb 4:13, where the writer says, προςονημινο

λογος, with whom we have to do, i.e. by whom we are to be


But the words λογοςθεου may be here understood for the order,

commission, or command of God; and so it properly signifies,

Lu 3:2; and in this sense it is found often employed in the Old

Testament. When it is there said that the word of the Lord came,

&c., it means, God gave an order, commission, &c., to such a

person, to declare or do such and such things.

And the scripture cannot be broken] αυθηναι, dissolved,

rendered of none effect, i.e. it cannot be gainsayed or set aside;

every man must believe this, because it is the declaration of God.

If those were termed gods who were only earthly magistrates,

fallible mortals, and had no particular influence of the Divine

Spirit; and that they are termed gods is evident from that

scripture which cannot be gainsayed; what greater reason then have

I to say, I am the Son of God, and one with God, when, as

Messiah, I have been consecrated, sent into the world, to instruct

and save men; and when, as God, I have wrought miracles which

could be performed by no power less than that of omnipotence?

Verse 37. If I do not the works, &c.] I desire you to believe

only on the evidence of my works: if I do not do such works as God

only can perform, then believe me not.

Verse 38. Believe the works] Though ye do not now credit what I

have said to you, yet consider my works, and then ye will see that

these works prove that I am in the Father and the Father in me;

and, consequently, that I and the Father are one. This seems to be

the force of our Lord's argument; and every man must see and feel

that it is conclusive. There was no possibility of weakening the

force of this reasoning but by asserting that these miracles were

not wrought by the power of God; and then they must have proved

that not only a man, but a bad man, such as they said Jesus was,

could work these miracles. As this was impossible, then the

argument of Christ had a complete triumph.

Verse 39. They sought again to take him] They could not reply to

his arguments but by stones. The evidence of the truth could not

be resisted; and they endeavoured to destroy the person who spoke

it. Truth may confound the obstinately wicked, but it does not

convert them; and it is a just judgment of God, to leave those to

perish in their gainsayings who obstinately continue to gainsay

and disbelieve.

But he escaped] In such a way as we know not, for the evangelist

has not specified the manner of it.

Verse 40. Beyond Jordan] Rather, to the side of Jordan, not

beyond it. See Clarke on Joh 6:22,

and See Clarke on Mt 19:1.

Where John at first baptized] That is, at Bethabara: see

Joh 1:28.

Afterwards, John baptized at AEnon: Joh 3:23.

Verse 42. Many believed on him there.] The people believed on

him: 1. because of the testimony of John the Baptist whom they

knew to be a good and a wise man, and a prophet of the Lord; and

they knew he could neither deceive nor be deceived in this mater;

and, 2. they believed because of the miracles which they saw Jesus

work. These fully proved that all that John had said of him was

true. The scribes and Pharisees with all their science could not

draw a conclusion so just. Truth and common sense are often on the

side of the common people, whom the insolently wise, the

unsanctifiedly learned, and the tyrannically powerful sometimes

disingenuously brand with the epithets of mob and swinish


1. THIS and the preceding chapter contain two remarkable

discomfitures of the Jewish doctors. In the former they were

confounded by the testimony of a plain uneducated man, simply

appealing to the various circumstances of a matter of fact, at

which they cavilled, and which they endeavoured to decry. In this

chapter the wise are taken in their own craftiness: the Pharisees

are confounded by that wisdom which is from above, speaking of and

manifesting the deep things of God. Sometimes God himself stops

the mouths of gainsayers; at other times he makes the simplest of

his followers too mighty for the most learned among the doctors.

Ancient and modern martyrologies of the people of God abound with

proofs of both these facts. And the persecutions of the

Protestants by the Papists in the reign of Queen Mary afford a

very large proportion of proofs. In these the mighty power of God,

and the prevalence of truth, were gloriously apparent. Both the

word of God and the Protestant cause were nobly illustrated by

those transactions. May that abomination that maketh desolate

never more sit in the holy place!

2. It must be remarked, by every serious reader, that our Lord

did frequently speak of himself to the Jews, as being not only

sent of God as their Messiah, but as being one with him. And it

is as evident that in this sense the priests and Pharisees

understood him; and it was because they would not credit this that

they accused him of blasphemy. Now, if our Lord was not the person

they understood him to state himself to be, he had the fairest

opportunity, from their strong remonstrances, to correct their

misapprehension of his words, if they really had mistaken his

meaning-but this he never attempts. He rather strengthens his

assertions in his consequent discourses with them; which, had not

his positions been true, he could not have done, even as an honest

man. He not only asserted himself to be equal with God, but wished

them to believe it to be true; and he amply confirmed this

heavenly doctrine by the miracles he wrought.

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