John 10

The Shepherd Who Gives Up His Life[a]

I Am the Good Shepherd[b]

Chapter 10

The Good Shepherd

1 “Amen, amen, I say to you,
anyone who does not enter
the sheepfold through the gate
but climbs in some other way
is a thief and a bandit.
2 The one who enters through the gate
is the shepherd of the flock.
3 The gatekeeper opens for him,
and the sheep hear his voice.
He calls his own sheep by name
and leads them out.
4 “When he has brought out all his own,
he goes on ahead of them,
and the sheep follow him
because they know his voice.
5 However, they will never follow a stranger.
Rather, they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize
the voice of strangers.”

6 Jesus used this parable to instruct them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 Therefore, Jesus spoke to them again,

“Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate of the sheepfold.
8 All who came before me
were thieves and bandits,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
9 “I am the gate.
Anyone who enters through me
will be saved.
He will go in and out
and will find pasture.
10 “A thief comes only
to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come
that they may have life,
and have it in abundance.
11 “I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd
lays down his life for the sheep.
12 The hired hand,
who is not the shepherd
nor the owner of the sheep,
sees the wolf approaching,
and he leaves the sheep and runs away,
while the wolf catches and scatters them.
13 He runs away
because he is only a hired hand
and he has no concern for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd.
I know my own,
and my own know me,
15 just as the Father knows me
and I know the Father.
And I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 “I have other sheep too
that do not belong to this fold.
I must lead them as well,
and they will hear my voice.
Thus, there will only be one flock,
one shepherd.
17 “This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life
in order to take it up again.
18 No one takes it away from me.
I lay it down of my own free will.
And as I have the power to lay it down,
I have the power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.”

19 Once again, these words provoked a division among the Jews. 20 Many of them were saying, “He is possessed and out of his mind. Why should we listen to him?” 21 But others said, “No one possessed by a demon could speak like this. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”[c]

I and the Father Are One

22 Feast of the Dedication.[d] At that time, the feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple along the Portico of Solomon.[e] 24 The Jews gathered around him and asked, “How much longer will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus replied,

“I have told you,
but you do not believe.
The works that I do in my Father’s name
bear witness to me,
26 but you do not believe
because you are not my sheep.
27 “My sheep listen to my voice.
I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life,
and they will never perish.
No one will ever snatch them from my hand.
29 My Father who has given them to me
is greater than all,
and no one can snatch them
out of the Father’s hand.
30 I and the Father are one.”[f]

31 Once again, the Jews picked up rocks to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have performed in your presence many good works from my Father. For which of these works are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered, “We are not going to stone you for any good work you have done, but for blasphemy. Even though you are a man, you are claiming to be God.” 34 Jesus replied,

“Is it not written in your Law,[g]
‘I said: You are gods’?
35 If those to whom
the word of God was addressed
are called ‘gods’
—and Scripture cannot be set aside—
36 how can you say, ‘You blaspheme,’
to the one whom the Father has consecrated
and sent into the world
for saying, ‘I am the Son of God’?
37 “If I am not performing
the works of my Father,
then do not believe me.
38 However, if I am doing them,
then even if you do not believe me,
at least believe my works,
so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me
and I am in the Father.”

39 They again tried to seize him, but he escaped from their clutches.

40 The Testimony of John the Baptist.[h] He went back across the Jordan to the place where John had first been baptizing, and he remained there. 41 Many people came to him, and they were saying, “John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many there came to believe in him.


  1. John 10:1 The parable of the good shepherd, the feast of the Dedication, and the raising of Lazarus are three passages that describe who Christ is and what he wants to be for us. The ideas of life and unity dominate in these pages. The desire of Jesus is that we have access to the full reality of life. He gives life to the point of giving up his own; he is the life.
    Another preoccupation impels him: to gather into one all who believe in him. So the work of God is to overcome the forces of death, destruction, and dispersion, forces that disfigure the world and our existence.
  2. John 10:1 The image of the flock and the shepherd occurs frequently in the Bible to describe the relationship of Israel with God, or simply the relations of the people with their leader (this language came spontaneously to any civilization of antiquity). More than once the Prophets denounced as wicked shepherds those in authority who exploited the people or led them astray: kings, princes, priests, prophets of comfort (see Jer 23; Ezek 34; Zec 11:4-17). In the final analysis (they said), God alone is the shepherd to whom the flock belongs and who can properly lead and feed it. They were longing for a devoted shepherd who would act solely in God’s name.
    Jesus now dares to describe himself as this Messiah-shepherd, who comes to deliver human beings from those who enslave them for their own profit or to impose upon them their own convictions. There are no other ways of reaching life and the knowledge of God: Jesus is the “gate”; he is the Shepherd who knows and gathers believers into a single flock. The word “know” signifies a mutual exchange, a reciprocal and radical belonging. This is the main assertion of the passage.
  3. John 10:21 This is a reference to the incident of the man born blind (in the preceding chapter).
  4. John 10:22 In the fourth Gospel, the trial of Jesus takes place throughout the book, and on each occasion the Lord asserts his oneness with the Father in unequivocal terms. Here we have a new disagreement, connected with the feast of the Dedication of the temple, which was celebrated toward the end of December. It commemorated the historical fact that in 165 B.C. Judas Maccabeus wrested the temple from the pagan king who had profaned it by installing an idol in it. It was thus a celebration of the liberation, purification, and restoration of the holy place and of its worship (see 1 Mac 4:36-39; 2 Mac 1:9-18; 10:1-8).
  5. John 10:23 Portico of Solomon: located on the east side of the temple, and thus sheltered against the winds from the wilderness.
  6. John 10:30 I and the Father are one: this is the most solemn declaration of the passage. Jesus expresses his perfect unity with the Father (literally, “one thing”), so that his power is identified with that of the Father. Trinitarian theology takes its start from this verse. For here Jesus affirms in peremptory fashion his identity of operation and will with the Father. This is clear from the violent reaction of the Jews, who seek to stone him because he is guilty of blasphemy.
  7. John 10:34 Your Law: the term Law usually meant the Pentateuch, but it was also used in the sense of the whole Old Testament—as it is in this case. You are gods: these words from Ps 82:6 referred to the judges (as well as other leaders or rulers) of Israel whose tasks were appointed by God (see Ex 22:28; Deut 1:17; 16:18; 2 Chr 19:6).
  8. John 10:40 The testimony of John the Baptist is recalled: the Prophet announced a Messiah whose dignity and power were superhuman (see Jn 1:26-34).

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