John Chapters 10 to 12, Part 1 of 10 Parts
by Karl Kemp
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"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
These articles were taken from my 2001 paper on John chapters 10-12 (with John 9:35-41) that is also available on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching). I was able to use different fonts, footnotes, bold, italics, underlining, small caps, etc. in the original paper, including the paper on my internet site. I am modifying the original paper here in January 2013 to break it up into nine articles in the proper format to put on several Christian article sites. Unless otherwise noted all quotations from the Bible were taken from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition. Sometimes I make comments in the middle of quotations using brackets [ ] or [[ ]] to make them more obvious.
I'll include the Contents and the page numbers of the original paper for your information:
John 9:35-10:42...... 1
John Chapter 11...... 22
John Chapter 12...... 35
Some Other Verses and Topics that Are Discussed in this Paper:
Deuteronomy 6:4...... 17
Psalm 118: 21-26...... 39-40
Isaiah 6:11-13...... 52-55
Ezekiel Chapter 34...... 9
Hebrews 12:2...... 11
Discussion Regarding the Length of Jesus Ministry; the Day He Was Anointed for Burial; the Day He Rode into Jerusalem on the Donkey; and the Day of the Month and the Year He Was Crucified...... 33-38
John 9:1-5 are discussed on pages 49-52 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin: Full Salvation Through the Atoning Death of the Lord Jesus Christ."
(35) "Jesus heard that they had put him out [[The preceding verse (34) ended with the words "So they put him out [Verse 13 mentions that they brought the man who had been born blind that Jesus healed "to the Pharisees"; the Pharisees are also mentioned in verses 15, 16, and 40]." The KJV; NKJV translate "they cast him out" in verse 34 and "they had cast him out" here in verse 35; the NIV has "they threw him out" in verse 34 and "they had thrown him out" here in verse 35. It is clear that they were angry with the man and removed him from their presence. ((I had a footnote: The same Greek verb (ekballo) is used in verses 34 and 35. Some believe that the idea is included here that the man was put out of (excommunicated from) the synagogue. It is possible that he was put out of the synagogue, but I don't believe that John intended to include that information here. I'll quote John 9:22, "His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him [Jesus] to be the Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue." For one thing, the Greek behind being "put out of the synagogue" in verse 22 is totally different than the Greek behind being "put out" in verses 34 and 35. For another thing, it doesn't seem that the man who had received his sight was arguing before the religious leaders that Jesus was the Christ (see verse 35, 36). He did, however, greatly offend them by saying that Jesus was a prophet and speaking highly of Jesus rather than accept their verdict that He was a sinful man.))]], and finding him, He [Jesus] said, 'Do you believe in the Son of Man?' [[On "the Son of Man," see under John 5:27 in my paper on John chapters 5-8. Jesus frequently referred to Himself as the "Son of Man"; on this title see, for example, Daniel 7:13, 14; Matt. 8:20; 9:6; 10:23; 11:19; 12:8, 32, 40; 13:37, 41; 16:13, 27, 28; 17:9, 12, 22; 18:11; 19:28; 20:18, 28; 24:27, 30, 37, 39, 44; 25:31; 26:2, 24, 45, 64; John 1:51; 3:13, 14; 5:27; 6:27, 53, 62; 8:28; 9:35; 12:23, 34; 13:31; and Acts 7:56. This title incorporated the fact that Jesus was a man (but not just a man); it also incorporated the ideas that He had come from heaven, that He would be glorified and taken to the right hand of God the Father after He finished His all-important mission on the earth, and that He was coming again to judge the world and to reign in God's never-ending kingdom.]] (36) He answered, 'Who is He, Lord ["or, Sir" (margin of the NASB); the NIV has, "Who is he, sir?"], that I may believe in Him?' [[To believe in Christ Jesus in the full new-covenant sense includes submitting to Him in faith and living for Him (by His enabling grace through faith). I assume this man assumed (and rightly so) that the titles "Son of Man" and "Christ/Messiah" (cf. John 9:22) referred to the same person (Person). If he didn't he would have found out before long.]] (37) Jesus said to him, 'You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.' [Compare John 4:26. Before Jesus said what He did to this man in verses 35-37, the man was already convinced that Jesus was a prophet and a very special man of God (see John 9:17, 30-33). Here Jesus informed him that He was the Son of Man, and as the next verse shows, the man believed Him.] (38) And he said, 'Lord, I believe.' And he worshiped Him. [[The man's worshiping Jesus undoubtedly included his bowing down before him. The Greek verb used here (proskuneo) is sometimes translated "bow down before." ((I had a footnote: The NASB translated this Greek verb as follows: bow down (1), bow down before (1), bowed down (1), bowed down before (2), bowing down (1), prostrated himself before (1), worship (32), worshiped (17), worshippers (1), worshiping (1), worships (1).)) The NASB; NIV; KJV; and NKJV all translate "worshiped/worshipped" here; but we need not, and probably should not, assume that this man understood the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ at that time. ((I had a footnote: I'll quote a few sentences from what D. A. Carson says here ("Gospel According to John [Eerdmans, 1991], page 377). "The verb takes on the force of 'to worship' when the person before whom one prostrates himself is God. It is not clear that the healed man is yet ready to address Jesus as Thomas did after the resurrection, 'My Lord and my God' (20:28). It is likely that the healed man is offering obeissance to Jesus as the redeemer from God, the revealer of God. ...." Verses like Rev. 19:10; 22:9 show that Christians are not to bow down to worship anyone but God (including God the Son).)) The Jews did not believe the Messiah was to be deity. The NEB translates, "and bowed before him."]] (39) And Jesus said, 'For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.' [[Verse 40 shows that Jesus' opponents were listening to what He said here. He knew that they were listening. What He said here built on His having given sight to the man who was born physically blind, but He was speaking here in verse 39 (and in verse 41) of SPIRITUAL blindness and SPIRITUAL seeing, which is a lot more important than physical sight. This man was an example of one who was formerly spiritually blind (I'll qualify this statement as we continue) but who now, through the coming of Jesus into this world, could see spiritually. He had entered into new-covenant salvation (in an early form of that salvation) through submitting to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith. This man knew that he needed the light of Christ, but most of the religious leaders rejected that light (cf., e.g., John 1:4; 8:12; 9:5; and 12:46-50). I believe we can assume that this man truly repented (he knew that the needed to be saved from his sins, and he wanted to change/be changed), unlike most of the religious leaders.
We don't know much about this beggar's (John 9:8) spiritual condition before he had this glorious encounter with Christ Jesus. He may have been a true disciple of God (the God of Israel) before Jesus came to him. (Even if he was a true disciple of God, he still needed to repent and receive new-covenant salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.) A key point here (in the context of verses 39-41) is that the religious leaders (the Pharisees are the religious leaders in the spotlight in this chapter; see John 9:13, 15, 16, and 40) considered this man to be spiritually blind, an ignoramus who couldn't possibly teach them anything of value - they were the spiritual elite who could see, they thought. See John 9:13-34, especially verse 34, "They answered him, 'You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?' So they put him out"; and see Rom. 2:17-29. Some Pharisees were different (cf., e.g., John 9:16; Nicodemus [John 3:1-12; 7:50-52; and 19:39-42]).
The coming of Jesus into the world had the intended effect (as here in verse 39) of bringing the judgment of condemnation on many of the Pharisees (and other Jews who didn't really know God or love Him and who were not open to repentance; cf., e.g., John 3:16-21; 8:21, 24; and 15:18-25). ((I had a footnote: "His [Jesus'] very presence in the world constitutes a separation...between those who believe on Him and those who reject Him. See on John 3:17" (M. R. Vincent, "Word Studies in the New Testament" [MacDonald Publishing, no date, originally published in 1886], page 459).)) The Pharisees (many/most of them) thought they could see, but they couldn't. ((I had a two-paragraph footnote: The religious leaders knew a lot more about the scriptures than the common people, like this beggar, and they were proud of their "knowledge" (cf., e.g., John 7:49; 9:16, 22, 24, 28, 29, 34; Rom. 2:17-25), but as Jesus said in John 5:47, for example, they didn't really believe Moses' writings - if they had believed his writings, they would have submitted to Christ Jesus (John 5:46). They didn't really know God (but they thought they did), which they demonstrated by rejecting His Son/the Messiah (John 7:28; 8:19, 42, 55; 15:21; 16:3; 17:25). In truth, they were blind guides anxious to lead others (cf. Matt. 15:14; 23:16, 17, 19, 24, 26).
I'll quote what Alfred Plummer says regarding "those who see" here in verse 39 ("Gospel According to St. John" [Baker, 1981 reprint of 1882 publication], page 213). "They who fancy they see, who pride themselves on their superior insight and knowledge, and wish to dictate to others; like 'they that be whole,' and 'righteous' in Matt. 9:12, 13, and 'the wise and prudent' in Matt. 11:25. These Pharisees shewed this proud self-confidence when they declared [in John 9:24], 'we know that this man is a sinner,' and asked [in John 9:34] "Dost thou teach us?' ")) Jesus' last words here in verse 39 ("that those who see may become blind") don't mean that those who really could see would become blind, but that those who thought they could see would be shown to be blind and would go even deeper in their spiritual blindness and separation from God - they would be condemned when they rejected God's only plan of salvation (e.g. John 3:18, "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he had not believed in the name of God's one and only son" NIV). God never drives people further away from Him who have a heart oriented toward Him and/or who are open to repent and submit to His saving grace. He dispenses His saving grace to those who will humble themselves, repent, and submit (in faith) to Him, His Son, and His salvation.
Compare MATTHEW 9:11-13, "When the PHARISEES saw this, they said to His disciples, 'Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?' But when Jesus heard this, He said, 'It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: "I desire compassion, and not sacrifice," for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.' " (Much other scripture, including John 9:39-41, shows that the Pharisees were blind and sick and sinners too; but most of them would not accept that fact.); MATTHEW. 11:25, 26, "At that time Jesus said, 'I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent [If they had had true wisdom they would have been ready to repent and submit to the Lord Jesus Christ.] and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well pleasing in Your sight."; JAMES 4:6, "... Therefore it says, 'God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (cf. Prov. 3:34; Matt. 23:12; 1 Pet. 5:5); and MATTHEW 18:3, "and [Jesus] said to them, 'Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."
I'll quote part of what D. A. Carson says under verse 39 ("Gospel According to John," page 378). "At the spiritual level, the blind refers to those who are in spiritual darkness, and are therefore lost, and know it (just as the blind man repeatedly emphasizes how little he knows, vv. 25, 36). Jesus came to open their eyes, to give them the 'light' of revelation that will enable them to see. But those who see (which is Jesus' cryptic and ironic way of saying 'those who think they see'), like the Pharisees in this chapter who make so many confident pronouncements but who are profoundly wrong (vv. 16, 22, 24, 29, 34), inevitably reject the true light when it comes. So certain are they that they can see, they utterly reject any suggestion to the contrary, and thereby confirm their own darkness. That tragic conclusion is the foreseen result of Jesus' coming, and in that sense part of its purpose. Pastorally speaking, John is again stressing the point that a certain poverty of spirit (cf. Matt. 5:3), an abasement of personal pride (especially over one's religious opinions), and a candid acknowledgment of spiritual blindness [not to mention their need for salvation] are indispensable characteristics of the person who receives spiritual sight, true revelation, at the hands of Jesus...."
I'll quote part of what Marcus Dods says under verse 39 ("Expositor's Greek Testament," Vol. 1 [Eerdmans, 1974 reprint], page 787). "...the Pharisees were stone-blind to the world Jesus opened to them, because they thought that already they knew more than He did."
I'll quote part of what John Calvin says under verse 39 ("Gospel According to St. John," Part One [Eerdmans, 1993 reprint], page 255). "...Christ says that they see [they think they see] who, deceiving themselves by a foolish confidence of wisdom, are guided by their own opinion and think their empty imaginings are wisdom. As soon as Christ appears in the brightness of His Gospel, they are blinded; not only in that their foolishness, which had been hidden in the darkness of unbelief, is now uncovered, but because they are plunged into a deeper darkness by God's righteous vengeance, and lose that small remnant of...what light had been theirs. ... Now if any man is puffed up by proud confidence in his own reason and refuses to submit to God, he may seem, apart from Christ, to be wise, but Christ's brightness will make him foolish. For the vanity of the human mind only begins to appear when heavenly wisdom is brought into view. ... ...before Christ shines, hypocrites do not resist God so obstinately. But as soon as the light is brought near them, they rise against God in open war. Because of this depravity and ingratitude they become doubly blind, and God, in righteous vengeance, puts out their eyes completely, which were formerly destitute of the true light. ... We ought all to be the more careful that we do not bring this dreadful punishment on ourselves through a foolish opinion of our own wisdom. Experience teaches us how true this statement of Christ is. For we see many mad with dizziness and rage simply because they cannot endure the rising of the Son of righteousness. ...."]] (40) Those of the Pharisees who were with Him [["Some Pharisees who were with him" NIV; "And some of the Pharisees which were with him" KJV; "Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him" NKJV; "Some of the Pharisees around him picked this up" NAB. This group of people around Jesus, which included quite a few Pharisees, heard what He said to the man who had received his sight after Jesus found him (verses 35-39).]] heard these things and said to Him, 'We are not blind too, are we?' [[Jesus undoubtedly intended His words of verse 39 for the people around him, not just for the man who was healed. The Greek shows that those Pharisees expected a negative answer to their question. Surely Jesus wasn't classifying them with the spiritually blind. Marcus Dods ("Expositor's Greek Testament," page 788) mentions that the Pharisees asked this question "with indignant contempt." (The question of these Pharisees confirms that they considered themselves to be religious and quite perceptive spiritually - they were not to be classified with those, like the man born blind, who could not teach them in that he, for one thing, had been "born entirely in sins" [verse 34].) In one sense they were right. Jesus classified them as "those who see" in verse 39, but as we have discussed, He wasn't saying they could really see, but that they thought they could see and were proud of it. Actually, they were quite blind spiritually, which they proved by rejecting God's only Savior from sin.]] (41) Jesus said to them, 'If you were blind, you would have no sin [This is a class 2 conditional sentence in the Greek, which means that the "if you were blind" clause" was assumed to not be true. Jesus was saying that they were not blind (which, as we discussed, was true in one sense) and that they did, therefore, have sin.]; but since you say, "We see," your sin remains ["but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains" NIV]. [[A primary point that Jesus was making here was that these Pharisees were sinners and, with all their knowledge of the scriptures, etc., they certainly had no excuse for their sin (and especially now; now that Christ Jesus had come into this world and they had rejected Him and His salvation) - their sinful rejection of Christ, His word, and His salvation has demonstrated that they didn't really know God or love Him and His righteousness.
I'll quote JOHN 8:24; 15:22, 24, "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe I am He, you will die in your sins. ... If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. ... If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin, but now they have both seen and hated Me and my Father as well." The man who had been born blind had his sin removed through submitting (with repentance and faith) to the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation, but the Pharisees had added to their sins the unforgivable sin of rejecting Christ and the salvation He came to bring - their sin remained. ((I had a footnote: How could God forgive the sin of rejecting His Son, the only Savior, and the salvation He came to bring? The only way for them to be forgiven was for them to repent and submit to the Lord Jesus Christ and the One who sent Him. How could God let people have a place in His eternal kingdom who don't love Him and are not submitted to Him and His righteousness? It would cause chaos.))
A great reversal has taken place. Those like the man who had been born blind entered the kingdom of God (in an early stage of that kingdom) through repentance and faith while those who were proud of their religiosity, including their knowledge of the scriptures, were left on the outside, so to speak. The blind began to see; those who could see became blind [that is, those who thought they could see became more blind] (see verse 39).
I'll quote two sentences from what Craig S. Keener says regarding verses 40, 41 ("Gospel of John," Vol. 1 [Hendrickson, 2003], page 796). "The Pharisees sarcastically demand whether they, too, are blind (9:40). Jesus responds (9:41) that their very claim to see [they denied that they were spiritually blind] makes them all the more responsible for the light that has come to them; if they refuse to believe, their sin remains (8:24; 15:24; 16:9); those satisfied with their own condition were condemned to remain in it (cf. Rev. 3:17)."]] JOHN CHAPTER 10. (1) Truly, truly [Amen, Amen], I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. [[((I had a footnote: William Hendricksen ("Gospel of John" [Baker, 1953], page 97) points out that "in the interpretation of this sublime allegory commentators differ widely." For one thing, many do not classify John 10:1-18 as allegory. These verses have a flexible, mixed construction. Jesus is the shepherd in verses 1-18, and He is the door in verses 7, 9. I'll quote part of what C. K. Barrett says on this topic ("Gospel According to St. John" [Westminster, second edition, 1978], page 367). "...it is neither parable...nor allegory, though it is related to both forms of utterance. It is a symbolic discourse in which symbolism and straightforward statement alternate and stand side by side.")) As the following verses show, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who enters by the door into the fold of the sheep. In verses 1-10, Jesus contrasts Himself with those shepherds/leaders who are thieves and robbers. Verse 8 mentions "thieves and robbers" and verse 10 mentions the "thief." Who did Jesus mean by these "thieves and robbers"? I agree with the widespread viewpoint that Jesus was speaking of the religious leaders of the Jews. The Pharisees were the ones in the spotlight in chapter 9, but the Sadducees also qualified to be classified as thieves and robbers (in some ways they were worse than the Pharisees; for one thing, their doctrine was extremely faulty). The reader must understand that John didn't write his Gospel with chapters and verses; both were added at a later time. The first part of what we call chapter 10 is apparently directly tied to the end of chapter 9.
I'll quote a few sentences from what Leon Morris says under verse 1 ("Gospel According to John" [Eerdmans, 1971], page 501). "There is no introductory explanation of the occasion or the like [as we come to John 10:1]. The chapter opens with Jesus fairly launched on His discourse. This indicates that there is no great break with the previous section, a conclusion which is reinforced by the reference to the opening the eyes of the blind in v. 21. Moreover the blind man, so ready to heed the voice of Christ, clearly belongs among the sheep of this discourse, while the Pharisees are the embodiment of the false shepherds. The opening 'Verily, verily [Amen. amen]'...agrees with this, for elsewhere it never begins a discourse. It always follows up some previous teaching. It indicates that the following statement is important, but also that it has a connection with the preceding. This passage then must be understood in the closest of connections with the story of the blind man."
It is clear that Jesus wasn't speaking here of the many good leaders who came before Him (see verse 8), like Moses, Joshua, and the many true prophets of God - they weren't thieves and robbers! It also seems clear that Jesus wasn't speaking here of false Christs/Messiahs who came before Him, because, for one thing, He didn't have a problem with false Christs/Messiahs; that problem was to come later (cf. Matt. 24:24). (I had a footnote: The first Jewish leader that was widely considered by the Jews to be the Christ/Messiah was Bar Kochba, who led an unsuccessful rebellion against Rome in the second Christian century. He was killed along with many of his followers in AD 135, and his rebellion came to an end.) It is also clear, I believe, that Jesus was contrasting Himself with men here, not with the devil, evil angels, and demons, though it is true that the devil and his hosts were behind the "ministry" of the thieves and robbers who came before Jesus (cf., e.g., John 8:38-59; 2 Cor. 4:4; 11:12-15; and 1 John 4:1-6). The popular view around the body of Christ that the thief of verse 10 is the devil doesn't seem reasonable in this context, but that arch rebel is the ultimate being behind all the stealing, killing, and destroying that takes place in the world.
What does "the fold of the sheep" represent here? Based on what Jesus went on to say, this "fold" contains/represents the people of Israel, the elect and the non-elect combined. (I had a footnote: "The shepherd is Jesus himself; he is pictured as coming to the Jewish fold and calling his disciples out" (F. F. Bruce, "Gospel of John" [Eerdmans, 1983], page 224). (The elect show themselves to be the elect by hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd and following Him in faith.) Jesus' use of the word "fold" in verse 16 serves as a strong confirmation of this interpretation. In verse 16 Jesus speaks of having "other sheep, which are not of this fold," that is, they are not of the Jewish fold - they are Gentiles. They too, like the Jews who heard Jesus' voice and followed Him in faith (very much including the man born blind), hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow Him in faith. Together they "will become one flock with one shepherd [the Good Shepherd]" (John 10:16).)]] (2) But he who enters by the door is a [the] shepherd of the sheep. [[I would translate "the shepherd" with the NIV; KJV and the NKJV (or, "the Shepherd"). ((I had a two-paragraph footnote: The Greek doesn't have the definite article with the word for shepherd here, but quite often the definite article is required in the English translation where it was not required in the Greek. Significantly, the definite article is used with the word shepherd in the Greek in verses 11 and 14. I'll quote part of what Leon Morris says in a footnote here ("Gospel According to John" [Eerdmans, 1971], page 502). "ARV [ASV] margin [like the translation of the NASB] reads 'a shepherd,' but this is erroneous. This is another example of the definite predicate preceding the verb [that is, the Greek has the word "shepherd," which is a definite noun, before the verb] and therefore lacking the article (see on 1:1). We should translate 'the shepherd.' "
Here in verse 2 it would also be OK to translate, "But he who enters by the door is shepherd of the sheep." That's the way William Hendricksen translates verse 2, and there are others who translate it that way. (With Hendricksen's translation the word shepherd is understood to be definite because of the context even though the definite article is not used. When the indefinite article "a" is used with the word shepherd, as in the NASB, it communicates the idea that there is more than one shepherd. Greek, by the way, doesn't have an indefinite article.) I'll quote a sentence from what Hendricksen says here in a footnote ("Gospel of John," page 104). "Though he speaks of many thieves, robbers, etc., he refers to only one shepherd.")) Jesus was speaking of Himself here; He is the Shepherd of the sheep. What Jesus said of Himself here in verse 2 was true for many shepherds of literal sheep - what He said of Himself was built on that background.]]
We will continue this verse-by-verse study of John chapter 10-12 (with John 9:35-41) in Part 2, starting with John 10:3.
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