John 10:7-42 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What do the Jews demand of Jesus (see verse 24 printed below) and how does Jesus reply (see verses 25-26 printed below?) Note, also, verses 32-33, 37-39 (printed below)

The Jews gathered around him, saying, How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. (John 10:24)

Jesus answered them, I told you, but you do not believe. The works that I am performing in my Father’s name, these works testify about me; (26) but you do not believe, because you are not numbered among my sheep. (John 10:25-26)

Jesus asked them, I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of those works are you seeking to stone me? (33) The Jews answered him, We are not seeking to stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, claim to be God…(37) If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe me. (38) But if I am doing those works, even though you do not believe me, believe the works; so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father. (39) Again they tried to seize him, but he went away out of their grasp. (John 10:32-33,37-39)

The Jews demand that Jesus tell them plainly (i.e.; in a straightforward way) whether or not He is the Messiah. In response to their request, Jesus points to His many good works (verse 32)—noble works, works that are the very display of goodness itself; works that originate from the Father (they are the Father’s works that He is performing through Jesus, they are works that serve as Jesus’ divine credentials.) Jesus’ argument: If you refuse to believe what I say about Myself, then let My works convince you; after all, actions speak louder than words!—Anybody can say that he is God, but only God can act like God! The Jews now respond, “We do not seek to stone you for a good work; we seek to stone you because you, being a man, claim to be God!” (verse 33). Observe their reasoning: we do not seek to stone you because of what you are doing, but because of what you are saying—i.e.; they confess that Jesus’ actions back up His claim; but, nevertheless, they still refuse to accept His claim! Their reaction to Christ reveals a heart and mind that are set against Christ and against the truth. Jesus pronounces the following indictment against such people: “You do not believe, because you are not numbered among my sheep” (verse 26).

2. What does Jesus tell us about His sheep in verse 27a (printed below?)

My sheep respond to my voice (John 10:27a)

Jesus declares, “My sheep respond to my voice.” When the Good Shepherd calls His sheep, His sheep recognize His voice and respond: their ears perk up, their hearts beat with excitement, and they come running to their shepherd. The rest of the sheep in the community fold pay little or no attention: they are uninterested—the things of God do not stir their souls; the Shepherd’s voice goes unheeded, unnoticed, or even rejected. Note: In those days there was one large community sheepfold that housed many different flocks of sheep. Each morning the shepherds would come to the fold and call their sheep by name; the sheep that belonged to that particular shepherd would respond to his voice and gather around him. Jesus declares, “My sheep respond to my voice.” That is to say, His sheep recognize who He is, they recognize that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior, and they come to Him.

3. What else does Jesus’ sheep do when they hear the Good Shepherd’s voice? See John 10:27c (printed below)

My sheep…follow me. (John 10:27c)

Jesus declares, “My sheep respond to my voice…and they follow me.” There is a personal identification with the Good Shepherd: there is not only the recognition that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, but there is also the acknowledgment that Jesus is my Shepherd.

4. What assurance does Jesus give concerning His sheep? See John 10:28 (printed below)

I give them eternal life—they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28)

Verse 28 contains the promise of security: His sheep shall never perish and no one shall ever snatch them out of His hand. The devil, as the thief whose only intention is to steal and kill and destroy, may at times be permitted to test and even oppress the Christian, but he cannot snatch us away from the Good Shepherd.

5. In verse 28 Jesus has given a word of assurance to His sheep. In verses 29-30 (printed below) he provides the grounds, or reasons, for that assurance. What are those grounds?

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (30) I and the Father are one. (John 10:29-30)

Verses 29-30 contain the grounds for this security promised by the Good Shepherd to His sheep. God the Father who has given the sheep to Christ, is greater than all, no one is able to snatch the sheep out of the Father’s hand—and since there is an intimate connection between Christ and the Father (note verse 38b), no one is able to ever snatch the sheep out of Christ’s hand!