This post contains some notes from Carson on John 10, and some observations and questions for meditation.
Carson on John 1o
To help us rightly handle John 10, Carson writes:
Jesus uses a Palestinian sheep-farming metaphor (vv. 1-5) and expands three features in it: the gate (vv. 7-10), the shepherd (vv. 11-18), and his own sheep (vv. 26-30). The most important background for this metaphor is Ezekiel 34, where God berates Israel’s false shepherds for fleeing God’s sheep rather than guarding, guiding, and nurturing them . . . God is the ultimate shepherd of his people (cf. Psalm 23:1; 80:1; Isaiah 40:11). (NIV Zondervan Study Bible, p. 2172)
Observations on John 1:21
10:12 – the hired hand see the wolf “and flees” so the sheep get snatched or scattered; see Ezekiel 34:6
10:16a – according to the Father’s will, Jesus was compelled to bring many non-Jews into his fold; including me!
10:16b – there will be “one flock and one shepherd;” see who the one shepherd will be in Ezekiel 34:23-24
10:15-18 – notice the repetition: “I lay down my life” (v. 15), “I lay down my life” (v. 17), and “I lay it down . . . lay it down” (v. 18). What a contrast to the self-seeking religious leaders of Jesus’ day who fulfill the pattern of their fathers. See Ezekiel 34:2-4
Questions for Meditation
- The theme of sight is prominent in John 9 (healing of blind man). And the theme of life is prominent in John 11 (resurrection of Lazarus). So, what’s a sheep farming metaphor doing the middle of John 9 and 11? What’s the thread of coherence?
- How does 10:1-21 contribute to the larger theme of God’s self-revelation? (HINT: you should link your answer to something in John 1:1-18, where John introduces all the major themes of his narrative).