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11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.


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11. I am the good shepherd—emphatically, and, in the sense intended, exclusively so (Isa 40:11; Eze 34:23; 37:24; Zec 13:7).

the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep—Though this may be said of literal shepherds, who, even for their brute flock, have, like David, encountered "the lion and the bear" at the risk of their own lives, and still more of faithful pastors who, like the early bishops of Rome, have been the foremost to brave the fury of their enemies against the flock committed to their care; yet here, beyond doubt, it points to the struggle which was to issue in the willing surrender of the Redeemer's own life, to save His sheep from destruction.

12. an hireling … whose own the sheep are not—who has no property, in them. By this He points to His own peculiar relation to the sheep, the same as His Father's, the great Proprietor and Lord of the flock, who styles Him "My Shepherd, the Man that is My Fellow" (Zec 13:7), and though faithful under-shepherds are so in their Master's interest, that they feel a measure of His own concern for their charge, the language is strictly applicable only to "the Son over His own house" (Heb 3:6).

seeth the wolf coming—not the devil distinctively, as some take it [Stier, Alford, &c.], but generally whoever comes upon the flock with hostile intent, in whatever form: though the wicked one, no doubt, is at the bottom of such movements [Luthardt].

14. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep—in the peculiar sense of 2Ti 2:19.

am known of mine—the soul's response to the voice that has inwardly and efficaciously called it; for of this mutual loving acquaintance ours is the effect of His. "The Redeemer's knowledge of us is the active element, penetrating us with His power and life; that of believers is the passive principle, the reception of His life and light. In this reception, however, an assimilation of the soul to the sublime object of its knowledge and love takes place; and thus an activity, though a derived one, is unfolded, which shows itself in obedience to His commands" [Olshausen]. From this mutual knowledge Jesus rises to another and loftier reciprocity of knowledge.

15-18. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father—What claim to absolute equality with the Father could exceed this? (See on Mt 11:27).

and I lay down my life for the sheep—How sublime this, immediately following the lofty claim of the preceding clause! It is the riches and the poverty of "the Word made flesh"—one glorious Person reaching at once up to the Throne and down even to the dust of death, "that we might live through Him." A candid interpretation of the words, "for the sheep," ought to go far to establish the special relation of the vicarious death of Christ to the Church.

16. other sheep I have … not of this fold: them also I must bring—He means the perishing Gentiles, already His "sheep" in the love of His heart and the purpose of His grace to "bring them" in due time.

they shall hear my voiceThis is not the language of mere foresight that they would believe, but the expression of a purpose to draw them to Himself by an inward and efficacious call, which would infallibly issue in their spontaneous accession to Him.

and there shall be one fold—rather "one flock" (for the word for "fold," as in the foregoing verses, is quite different).




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