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The Feast of Tabernacles and dedication and discourses on miracles.

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JOHN 7–10
FEASTS OF THE TABERNACLES & DEDICATION
JOHN’S 5
TH
AND 6
TH
DISCOURSES AND 6
TH
MIRACLES
INTRODUCTION
Johns Gospel (John) is known as the Spiritual Gospel. Jesus’ discourses can stretch us to an eternal perspective
and a spiritual view of life. In these four chapters, John includes discussions of many opposites: the triumph of
light over darkness, living water and spiritual thirst, eternal freedom over slavery to sin, spiritual inheritance
over earthy lineage, physical blindness, and spiritual blindness, 99 and 1, and good and bad shepherds.
Book of Mormon Insights
We nd many of these same themes found in the Book of Mormon. To augment our NT study, here is a small
sampling of references that consistently come from God to his “other sheep” (3 Nephi 15:21).
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1. Jesus as Life and Light of e World: Mosiah 16:9; Alma 38:9; 3 Nephi 9:18; 11:11; Ether 4:12
2. Jesus healing the Blind as a sign of the Messiah: Mosiah 3:5; 3 Nephi 17:7–9; 26:15; 4 Nephi 1:5
3. Jesus as the Good Shepherd: Alma 5:38–39; 41, 57, 60; Helaman 7:18
SETTING: FEAST OF THE TABERNACLES
e setting for the next three chapters (John 7–9) is in Jerusalem at one of the three major pilgrimage feasts: e
Feast of the Tabernacles / Sukkot / “Ingatherings” (Ex 23:16–17), or Feast of Booths (Lev. 23:40–44). at means
it is in the early fall, about six months aer the second Passover (John 6:4). Jesus built his discourse around the
setting. To appreciate the interplay between the feast and his sermon, here are a few details about the Feast of
the Tabernacles.
• e feast fell in the early fall, on Chislev 14–21, Jews from around the Roman Empire came to Jerusalem
to worship at their temple for seven days, with an eight-day for a holy convocation of rest.
• ey remembered the Israelites 40 years wandering in the wilderness, by creating little huts or booths out
of branches and palm fronds. For the week of the feast, they lived in these makeshi tents as their ances-
tors had as they traveled from Egypt to their Promised Land. (In the Book of Mormon, it appears that King
Benjamins sermon also fell this on this holy week. For evidence note that the Nephites lived in tents facing
the temple, rehearsed the law, had a coronation, and made covenants.
1
)
• ey celebrated the harvest and prayed for early rains. e priests enacted this as a ritual. Each day they
formed a procession carrying golden pitchers and paraded up and down Mount Moriah to the pool of
Siloam. ey sang Isaiah 12:3, “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation,” as they lled
golden pitchers with water and then carried them up
the mount to the temple where they poured out the
water on the temple altar as a libation. In the proces-
sion they sang the “Hillel Psalms” (Psalms 113–118)
which ends, “O Lord, Save now, I beseech thee, send
now prosperity.
• e Court of Women was lit with massive 85-foot-
high menorahs in each of the four corners. ey
were, guratively, trees of light and life.
• Nathan dedicated Solomons Temple on this day, so
the celebration oen includes a temple motif.
• Priests oered 70 Bullocks in addition to the other
sacrices that were required for the week.
• e Jews renewed their covenants and read the law.
Etrog, silver etrog box and lulav, used on the Jewish holiday of
Sukkot. Photo by Gilabrand via Wikimedia Commons.
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Feast of Tabernacles 1
st
Scene
Jesus goes from Galilee to Jerusalem
John 7:1–13
John 7:1–2 “Jesus . . . would not walk in Jewry
As the Jews in Jerusalem want to kill Jesus for
breaking the Sabbath, He has stayed in Galilee
for several months. He sent his disciples ahead to
Jerusalem, and He follows later.
John 7:3–5 “neither did his brethren believe
in him By the context, we interpret the word
“brother / adelphos” as Jesus’ half-brothers (but
the Greek word is also used for kin, countrymen,
or disciples). During Jesus’ ministry, it appears
that his siblings did not have much faith or inter-
est in following their big brother. Mark 6:3 and
Matthew 13:55 lists four other sons born to Mary
and Joseph, James, Joses, Juda, and Simon, as well
as “daughters.” However, post Jesus’ resurrection
the family became more active in the ministry.
It sounds as if up to this time, most of Jesus’ mir-
acles had been done in Galilee, so Jesus’ half-sib-
lings encourage, “show thyself to the world” (7:4).
Yet, their request, to go show the crowds your
miracles sounds similar to Satans temptations.
Do you recognize it as another form of the devil
wanting Jesus to display his power at the Temple
for all to see? e author John does not want us to
fall into that trap, so he notes that their request for
miracles in 7:3 did not lead to faith in 7:5.
Aer the resurrection, we see Jesus’ family more actively involved in the growth of Christianity. His brother
James became the Bishop, evangelist, or leader in Jerusalem, and possibly even later an apostle.
2
Tradition holds
that he also became the author of the book of James. In AD 62, James’ was such a strong leader for Christianity
that the Sanhedrin had him stoned. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Ananus, “assembled the Sanhe-
Map of rst-century Palestine. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
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drin of the judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James,
and some others... he delivered them to be stoned.
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John 7:6–8 “My time is not yet come . . . go ye up unto this feast” Jesus, not interested in human praise in the
slightest, answers them in a way that prophecies of his future glorication or return to his Father. His time of
death and resurrection is not yet. When John uses, “go ye up” (7:8), he emphasizes the double meaning of “go up
on the cross” which will become “the inevitable result of showing his glory in Jerusalem.
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John regularly uses
wordplay and records Jesus’ frequent use of words with double meanings (i.e. living water, born again, drink my
blood, etc.).
John 7:10 “He also went up . . . secretly (John 7:10–13, HCSB) Jesus’ instructions for others to go up to the
feast, does not contradict his later decision to go to Jerusalem.
John 7:11–13, “Jews sought him . . . much murmuring” John points out the division between the Jews. Mur-
muring literally means: “guarded debate.” Privately, many debated if He were a good man or a deceiver. At this
point, the discussions were not in public “for fear of the Jews” (7:13). I think these verses apply to our generation
too. ere is lots of diversity about who Jesus of Nazareth was, even among Christians.
Feast of Tabernacles 2
nd
Scene
Jesus Teaches at the Temple in the Midst of the Feast
John 7:14–39
John 7:14 “the midst of the feast” Jesus arrived on day three of four of the feast week. Herods expansion to the
temple covered approximately 33 acres. is provided lots of places for gathering and teaching. e Court of
the Gentiles was the largest place, but Jews oen met in the “Court of the Women” for discussions and teaching
because it was the largest place to gather for Jews only. (Ironically, the women and children were not to join in,
but secluded to a raised gallery along three edges of the court.)
John 7:15 “How has this man become learned, having never been educated? is is the day of great tutors
from the Greek Socrates and Aristotle, to the Jewish Rabbis Hillel and Gamaliel. Master teachers were quoted as
by students or disciples as the source of knowledge. Rabbinic literature is lled with “Rabbi So and So says . . .
5
John 7:16 “My doctrine is . . . his that sent me Jesus defends his teaching by explaining that He learned and
passes on messages from God, his Father. He speaks his Fathers words. John has used the word “sent” over thirty
times, so far in his Gospel, but in here, and in the next three chapters, it takes on special meaning as wordplay
which becomes an important theme in this section. In Greek, “one sent with authority,” is the word, apostéllō.
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John 7:17–18 “. . . do his will, he will know of the doctrine Another favorite guideline to learn truth: live
Christs teachings and see if they bring you to God. Jesus challenges his listeners to learn by experience. Jesus is
not trying to glorify Himself, but only God.
John 7:19–21 “none of you keepeth the law” Jesus remembers what happened the last time when He was in Jeru-
salem, the Jewish leaders tried to kill Him for healing a man on the Sabbath. Jesus challenges them, and they
deny their motives. ey try to save face and deny it.
John 7:22–24 “Judge not according to your traditions . . . judge righteous judgment” (JST) there are very few
JST changes in this chapter, but this one is signicant. We oen judge according to our culture, perspective, or
in other words, traditions. Jesus justies his healing on the Sabbath on humanitarian grounds. If circumcision is
appropriate on the Sabbath why not healing? In response, the Jews brush him o as one possessed with a devil
who is corrupting the Sabbath and teaching false doctrine. e problem was, in the Jewish oral laws, healing
made the body work, hence, “one may not perform an act of healing on the Sabbath.
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For example, you couldnt
set a dislocated shoulder, take out a splinter, or even put cold water on an injury. Traditions like these are the
ones that Jesus repeatedly attacked.
John 7:25–31 “Do the rulers know that this is the very Christ? e word “Christ,” is Greek for Messiah, but
in English, it is “Anointed One.” Initially, in the earliest disciples used the phrase, “Jesus the Christ,” which later
Jesus travelling from Galilee to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. Painting by James Tissot.
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in the epistles and introductory material we nd, “Jesus Christ.” His audience is divided as He does not t their
conception of the Promised Messiah.
John 7:32 “sent ocers to take Him e “ocers” were the Levite temple police that kept order within the
Temple courtyard.
John 7:33 “I go unto him that sent me e police are sent by their leaders of authority, but Jesus explains that
he too has One that sent him, and he will go and report. John includes these word plays for his audience, know-
ing that Jesus’ audience missed them.
John 7:34 “seek . . . not nd” ose who seek for Jesus without the proper motives, or to do harm, will not nd
Him. But those who meekly seek with a repentant and broken heart will nd Him. As Deuteronomy 4:29 taught,
thou shaltndhim, if thou seek him with all thyheartand with all thy soul.
Jesus’ message on seeking and nding opens the way for a discourse on how to nd and accept Jesus.
John 7:35 “will he . . . teach the gentiles? John includes irony regularly—here it is the angry Jewish leadership
proposition that Jesus teach the Gentiles, which is exactly what his church will do.
Feast of Tabernacles 3
rd
Scene
On the Last day of the Feast
John 7:37—52
John 7:37 “If any man thirst, let him come unto me Aer seven days of watching the priests’ daily ceremony
walking up and down Mount Moriah to rele their pitchers of water as a petition for early rains, the pilgrims in
Jerusalem now heard Jesus proclaim Himself as the real source of water. He enlightens them on how to receive
eternal refreshment. But they do not recognize who it was that stood in their midst.
7
Jesus looks at both the
Israelite history and Isaiahs summary of it: “they thirsted notwhenhe led them through the deserts: he caused
thewatersto ow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out” (Isaiah 48:21; also
see 12:3).
Note how Jesus associates the water of life with the tree of lifeJesus is the source of living water, the true vine,
and heavenly bread. It was He, as Jehovah, who empowered the prophet to receive water from the rock.
John 7:38–39 “He that believeth on me . . . shall ow rivers of living water” Water was the most important
resource in ancient Israel. Clean water was essential to sustain life, yet it was a limited commodity. Unlike a
cistern that stored rainwater, “living water” had to ow and was pure enough to drink. Jesus speaks of owing
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water as a symbol for how He, and later the Holy Spirit, will oer life. Jesus refers to Psalms 78:15–16 and 104:41
and equates that water to Himself. Without drinking or internalizing his teachings, spiritual death is inevitable.
e symbol of water gives a strong or powerful image, like “mighty rushing waters” (Isaiah 17:12013). In the
context of living water, even the great ood and Noahs ark become symbols of our future Redeemer. Noah,
and thus all humanity and land-dwelling animals, were saved by water and wood—just as Christ saves through
baptism and acceptance of his sacrice on the cross.
It is through the Holy Spirit that we “hear” God’s voice. e Spirit also is the cleansing agent by which the atone-
ment is ecacious in our lives. Jesus suered for us, and his Atonement covers our sins if we repent, but the
Spirit is the agent that carries out the atoning gi and cleanses our souls (see Moroni 6:4).
8
e JST took out
the last phrases from vs. 39 and added: “e Holy Ghost was promised unto them who believe, aer that Jesus
was gloried.” is seems to say that Jesus’ Spirit may have been felt so that Jesus’ words have internal force only
through the Spirit.
DIVISION AMONG THE JEWS
John 40–52
John 7:40 “the Prophet” is reference goes back to Moses’ prophecy from Deuteronomy 18:18, “I will raise
them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall
speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass,that whosoever will not hearken unto
my words which he shall speak in my name, I will requireitof him.”is “prophet” refers to the promised Mes-
siah. e Jews did not see Jesus as a new Moses, though. Yet the Jews great law giver, Moses, was just a type of the
Law Giver to come, the source of the water from the rock, and Eternal Life. Hosea 12:10 teaches that the lives of
the prophets were to typify of the coming Messiah. We see this clear back to Adam. Jesus was also a new Adam,
the next “son of God” (1 Corinthians 15:47).
John 7:41–42 “Shall Christ cometh out of Galilee? Johns ironical touch, suggests he knew Jesus was born in
Bethlehem, although, most of Jesus’ listeners assumed that He was born in Nazareth. John has already empha-
sized: “can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46; see also Mark 1:9). roughout the Gospels it is
assumed Jesus’ literal father was Joseph, “Whence hath this man this wisdom…is not this the carpenter’s son?”
(Matt 13:53–58). It appears that the birth accounts at the beginning of Luke and Matthew were actually written
last as there are no references to that information throughout the Gospels and they can stand alone.
9
e underlying assumption of the crowd in Jerusalem is that Jesus was human. At the same time, most rst-cen-
tury Jews found a scriptural relationship between Bethlehem and the Messiah. Not just Herods chief priests and
scribes who knew of this scriptural reference to the Messiahs birthplace, most Jews did. Johns silence empha-
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Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery by William Hole, 1905.
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sizes his that suggests he knew of the birth tradition in Bethlehem.
John 7:45–46 “why have you not brought him? . . . Never man spake like this” Even though no signs are given,
and the Jewish leaders do not believe, Jesus’ words convinced the Temple police.
John 7:47–53 “Nicodemus saith . . . Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him . . .?e Jewish leaders
claim that no one who is educated has been convinced. en the previously timid Nicodemus provides a wit-
ness that some educated hear and believe. “Nicodemus is the living proof that in claiming knowledge they are
ignorant, but his plea for justice is met with contempt.
10
Feast of Tabernacles 4
th
Scene
Woman (probably raped, but) Called An Adulteress
John 7:53–8:11
John 8:1–2 “Jesus went to the Mount of Olives” (NIV) All four Gospels record that when Jesus was in Jerusa-
lem, he oen spent his day times teaching at the temple (i.e. Luke 22:37), and his night times outside the city wall
in the olive orchards that were planted on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. From the temple mount or Mount
Moriah, he would have walked come down to sloped hillside to the seasonal brook, Kedron, and then over the
base of the Mount of Olives that raises up on the other side. e disciples knew this as a favorite spot, called
Gethsemane,” the olive press (Luke 22:39).
John 8:3–4 “this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act” the best Greek manuscripts of John do not
include this story. Some have it in Luke where the Greek matches better.
11
In any case, the story is another “no
win” situation for Jesus. If he authorizes death by stoning, he violates Roman law, if mercy, he violates the Mosaic
Law.
12
It appears that the whole thing is a fraud set up to ensnare Jesus. If the woman were “caught in the act,
where is the guilty man? e Pharisees use the poor defenseless woman as a pawn, possibly she was a raped
victim. Women had only a few rights at that time, they couldnt testify or act as a legal witness—even to defend
themselves.
13
John 8:5 “Moses . . . commanded us . . . Repeatedly the Law of Moses requires the stoning of anyone who
breaks the law of chastity: Leviticus 20:10, 22:15; Ezekiel 15:38–40; etc. e question that the scribes poise,
requires Jesus to violate a law in either answer. e battle between the Jews and Romans played a signicant role
in the Jews anticipation and acceptance of their Promised Messiah. Some biblical scholars wonder if the Sanhe-
drin already tried her and they want to see if Jesus can prophetically duplicate their verdict?
14
John 8:6 “is they said . . . to accuse him Jesus refuses to play their game and appears to ignore them. He
bends down and draws in the dirt. Interestingly, in Roman legal practice, the judge rst wrote the sentence and
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then read it aloud.
15
Scholars debate what did Jesus write? An old Christian tradition, traced to Jerome, suggests
that Jesus wrote the sins of the accusers in the dirt. Another connects the nger/handwriting of judgments with
Daniel 5:24. Another suggested that He wrote Exodus 23:16, “You shall not join hands with a wicked man.” Pos-
sibly the writing dealt with judgment. All is mere speculation—the author was silent. John did not think that was
important enough to record. John focused on the relationship between the woman and Jesus.
John 8:7–9 “He that is without sin . . . cast a stone Jesus’ answer put the burden back on his questioners. It
is also a good example to us on handling unrighteous judgment—leave it alone. I think it is admirable that the
accusers were honest enough with themselves to allow their consciences to convict them. Or perhaps they may
have le because Jesus did not respond as hoped. e point is that we are all sinners.
John 8:10–11 “go and sin no more . . . And the
woman gloried God from that hour, and believed
on his name (JST)” e scene closes in great drama:
e sinless Jesus and the sinful women stand alone.
16
I also add that in the ancient world women were
horrically abused by modern standards, and Jesus
wanted to free her from whatever caused the situa-
tion. We usually use this story to tell how Jesus, as
the serene judge, balances justice and mercy. Or else
that Jesus does not condone the sin, but forgives the
sinner. To these good ideas, the conclusion from the
JST suggests that she was so hearted and became a
converted witness of Jesus. We all can learn from his
great challenge: “sin no more.
Feast of Tabernacles 5
th
Scene
6
th
Discourse: Light of the World
John 8:12–20
John 8:12 “I am the light . . . never walk in darkness” (NIV) Jesus’ announces Himself as the creator. In the
beginning God created light, thus making Jesus’ claim literally and guratively true. e imagery of this claim
ows from the Feast of the Tabernacles. For a week all have seen the great golden lamp stands that stood 85’ high
in the four corners of the temple courtyard. ey represent the pillar of light that shown at night for the children
of Israel wandering in the wilderness. eir blazing light seems to have prompted this sermon, as a way for Jesus
to announce his Messianic fulllment of this festival. As the creator, He is the source of all light, including the
pillar of light given in the wilderness.
Christ and the Adulteress by Tintoretto, ca. 1546. Image via
Wikimedia Commons.
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As the “light of the world,” Christ exposed the depths of
moral and spiritual darkness. Jesus called his disciples
to do the same (Matthew 5:14). Yet, we can only do
that when we reect his Light. Jesus taught the Nephites:
“Hold up your light that it may shine unto the world.
Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up” (3 Nephi
18:24).
“Light” also brings to mind the Urim and ummim
(meaning “lights and perfections”), which also symbol-
izes Jesus who enlightens with truths. Jesus also fullls
Isaiah 60:1–3, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and
the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold,
the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness
the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his
glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall
come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy ris-
ing.” We can nd many scriptures that describe the Cre-
ators relationship with light.
17
John 8:13–16 “My record is true . . . Ye judge aer the
esh . . . my judgement is true John 5 and 7:51–53 also
addressed the theme of witnesses in judgment. e Jews
from the Second Temple era held the law of witnesses
as absolutely essential. e Jewish Holy Writ, the “Law
and the Prophets,” also witnesses of Jesus, the disciples
witness, yet the Pharisees do not hear these other voices.
Jesus tells them that by rejecting his witness, they do not
know how to judge.
John 8:17–18 “I . . . bear witness . . . and the father
that sent me beareth witness of me Jesus acknowl-
edges that two witnesses are required by the Law, so he
explains that he and his Father testify of the same truths.
is makes Jesus’ argument irrefutable. It also reects
Johns theme of unity between the Father and Son.
e Pillar of Fire, by Paul Hardy, 1896. Image via
Wikimedia Commons.
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John 8:19 “Where is thy Father? e Jews assumed Jesus’ father was fellow a mortal. Ironically, the “hearers
are asking for the Father, while the image of the Father is standing before their eyes.
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ey thought they knew
Jesus. But I fear, that many generations have stood in their same shoes.
John 8:20 “. . . in the treasury Within the temple the rst level of sacred space was the “court of the women.
It was a large open courtyard where men gathered to discuss, teach, and learn. Along three of the outside walls
of that courtyard were covered colonnades. Underneath the portico were thirteen chests for charitable contribu-
tions. is is likely the place referred to as “the treasury” where Jesus taught.
19
At times the contributions had
become corrupted, but they were supposed to go toward the sacrices. Jesus is the sacrice and location also
speaks of Jesus’ message.
DISCUSSION WITH THE JEWS
John 8:21–29
John 8:21 “You will die in your sin (ESV) e KJV word, “sins” is actually singular in Greek (and all other
English translations I found). What was the sin Jesus meant? John 8:24, repeats this and adds “for if ye believe
not that I am he,” suggesting that “the sin” is refusing to believe Jesus. All other sins are merely an outgrowth of
that main sin.
Jesus Speaks Near the Treasury by James Tissot, 1899.
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John 8:22 “Will he kill himself? is verse screams with irony as in a few pages, Jesus calls himself the Good
Samaritan who will voluntarily lay down his life for his sheep.
John 8:23 “I am not of this world” Jesus also taught this to Nicodemus in John 3:13–15. John oen recorded
the Lord contrasting opposites. e comparison makes the dierences more. In a sense, we too can are not of
this world when we do not value worldliness. When we follow Jesus, we seek for a better world. is is a regular
theme in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 22:23; Alma 39:14; 60:36; 3 Nephi 6:15).
John 8:24 “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” John records dozens of “I am” statements
by Jesus, all of which build to the dialogue at the end of this sermon. He refers to Himself as the God of Israel,
Moses’ leader from the burning bush to the top of Sinai.
John 8:25 “Who art thou? e Jews repeat their question to Jesus, but He has already answered them in several
of ways. His Messiahship should have been seen by his miracles, discourses, etc. e problem is they do not exert
the faith necessary to hear, see, or feel it, so they keep asking without hearing his answers. To hear the Lords
answers requires faith and meekness.
John 8:26–28 “I declare to the world what I have heard from him(ESV) Jesus claimed two witnesses: his
own, and his Father. With God as the second, there should not be any question about Jesus’ witness being true.
Unfortunately, though, many do not believe either witness yet. Jesus prophecies that they will not believe until
he is lied up for crucixion and lied up as he ascended for his resurrection. As God lis Jesus up, he draws us
up to him.
John 8:29 “I do always those things that please Him At this point, Jesus had never felt his Father leave him.
Perhaps this is why that awful moment on the cross was even harder for Him. Just as God never le Jesus because
Jesus always did what his father asked, so to for us, to always feel the Spirit, we must likewise “do always those
things that please God
“THE TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE”
John 8:30–36
John 8:30–32 “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples Some Jews at the temple believed and Jesus
immediately instructed them to continue / meno (which also translated “abide” in John 8:35). By learning more
truth, we will nd ultimate freedom. God’s truth set us free. Satans lies enslave us. It is Jesus’ atonement and
doctrine (which are truth) will free us from sin. Jesus teaches that of the many bondages, sin is the worst. We
must seek real freedom and peace, not political counterfeits. is is the most important freedom (John 8:36).
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John 8:33 “We be Abrahams seed” eir nationalistic pride is paradoxical in light of the fact that the Romans
rule Jerusalem right then (and previously they were under Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Greek
rule before that). ey did not understand that Jesus did not speak to them of political freedom. roughout
John, the audience is oen on a dierent level of understanding and miss the signicance of Jesus’ messages (i.e.
Nicodemus, the woman at the well, etc.).
John 8:34–36 “the servant of sin is is even more powerful when we remember the word “servant” is also
slave” in Greek. One third of the Roman Empire, and one half of Jerusalem, were slaves or servants. eir cul-
ture was steeped in social hierarchy. e people understood what it meant to obey a master and be a servant to a
mistress. eir social cast was oen generational, and they rarely married outside of their class rank.
Jesus becomes the master in his Father’s house as the Son and heir. e foot note quotes Paul, “you were once
slaves of sin.” 2 Peter 2:19 also adds, slaves of corruption” (also see Hebrews 3:5–6 and Romans 8:2). In God’s
kingdom, we can become free through receiving and living the truths taught there. Our master invites us to
become “joint heirs” if we leave the servitude of Satan by forsaking our sins and serving Jesus as our master
(Romans 8:17).
CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM OR THE DEVIL
John 8:37–57
John 8:37–39 “If ye were Abrahams children ye would do the works of Abraham Abraham was the most
important person in the genealogy of the Jewish people. ey believed that descending from Abraham protected
them against God’s wrath. eir view tied salvation to Abrahams birthright. Jews believed that merely being a
descendant of Abraham would save one from eternal torture. JBpst also taught against this false notion. Jesus
attacked this as apostacy and restored the truth by teaching that in heaven a real son or daughter is adopted or
worthy of inheritance as heir if they act like their father. Jesus tells them if they want to be worthy of being Abra-
hams descendants, then must do the works of Abraham. e Jews did not believe Jesus’ message because they
did not have Abrahams heart, only his lineage.
John 8:40–41a By this time in history, the Jews had replaced the responsibility of Abrahams posterity to bless the
earth with the selsh hope of being blessed into the kingdom of God no matter what their personal lives had
b e c om e .”
20
Jesus fought against this notion also in Luke 16:24; Matt 3:7–10; 8:11–12. He taught that their link to
Abraham was not enough. More than a birthright—one needs a heart like Abrahams in order to be his child. e
same holds true with God the Father.
SINNERS ARE NOT OF GOD
John 8:41b “We were not born in fornication Are the Jews defending their birthright from Abraham or were
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there rumors of Jesus’ birth being illegitimate? e Jews response suggests they may have understood a little pre-
mortal doctrine. (In the modern religious world, an understanding of a premortal state, is unique to our faith.)
John 8:42–43 “If God were your Father, ye would love me Jesus tries to teach a higher law—ones mortal birth-
right is not as important as their spiritual adoption. Jesus challenges the Jews’ status as God’s people. ey have
become so obdurate that they can’t hear Jesus’ message. Jesus also taught that we must choose to be his chosen
people by our actions in our dispensation: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light
of the world. . . . As many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God” (D&C 11:28–30).
John 8:44–45 “Ye are of your father the devil” Satan fathers’ sin. He became a liar and self-serving before the
counsel in Heaven. He lied in the Garden of Eden and deceived our rst parents by usurping the Lords role and
counterfeiting the place of God. However, at one point in his rst estate, he was a bright light as Lucifer meant
shining one” or “morning star.
John 8:46 “Who among you can convict me of sin? (CSB) e placement of this question in contrast with the
woman convicted of adultery is interesting. In John 8:7–9, the scribes and Pharisees admit they have all sinned
and convict themselves. Jesus has no sin. Isaiah prophesied: “he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in
his mouth” (Isaiah 53:9, also see Hebrews 4:15).
John 8:47 “He that is of God receiveth God’s words (JST) e JST changes hearing to receiving, thereby empha-
sizing the need for disciples to actively participate as God’s children.
JESUS DECLARES MESSIAHSHIP AND IS REJECTED
John 8:48–59
John 8:48–50 “I have not a devil Jesus rst pointed out that the fault nders were acting as children of the devil
(John 8:44), and now they return the blow and call Jesus “a Samaritan” and possessed with a devil. In addition
to being enemies of the Jews for centuries, the Samaritans were famous for their magicians and diabolical pos-
session.
We nd an interesting juxtaposition here. In John 4, the Samaritans accept Jesus as their Messiah and one greater
than Moses. While here, these Jews reject his Divinity and call him a devil and Samaritan. Jesus warns them that
such blasphemy will be judged by the Father.
John 8:51 “Keep my saying Keep is more than hearing alone, Jesus asks disciples to “hear and obey.” Similarly,
never see death” is not referring to mortal death which comes to most mortals, but the promise of Eternal Life
(D&C 88:3–7).
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Just as Jesus has done in many other conversations, when the audience refuses to understand, or cannot grasp
his message, He throws out a curve ball. He adds something totally unexpected or shocking to shake them up
to get them thinking in a dierent direction. e jolt comes when He promises that those who keep his saying,
will not die.
John 8:52–56 “Art thou greater than . . . Abraham? e conversation is beautifully set up for Jesus to testify of
his Messiahship. With the startling news that some will not die, the attackers immediately nd fault in his logic
as their greatest ancestor has died, so Jesus must be speaking nonsense. ey cannot understand Jesus without
stretching their view to see an eternal perspective. At times we have the same problem of being on a physical
plain vs. a spiritual plain, so we don’t understand God’s direction.
John 8:58–59 “Before Abraham was, I am is is the most direct and intentionally stated as a divine, “I AM
statement among the many in Johns Gospel (~12 probable so far). Moses asked God for His name and was told,
“I AMTHATI AM: and he said, us shalt thou say unto the children of Israel,I AMhath sent me unto you
(Exodus 3:14). e names for God became so sacred that the Jews did not use them. Even when reading their
holy writ, they read, “LORD / Adonay” rather than pronounce the name of “Jehovah / Yahweh .” Jesus’ bold state-
ment was extremely oensive to the Jews. He placed Himself above Moses and Abraham, and even equal to God.
In their ears, this was blasphemy. ey missed that Jesus was Emanuel, God with us.
e Gospels record Christ using “I AM” statements to declare His Messianic Divine Nature: John=41 times, and
the Synoptic Gospels=17 times. Ironically this statement of “blasphemy” was worthy of being stoned to death.
e temple was still being built so we presume stones were lying around among the building material.
21
We dont
know if the Sanhedrim had power to inict capital punishment is not, but they tried on multiple occasions (i.e.
Acts 7:59).
Feast of the Tabernacles 6
th
Scene
6
th
Miracle: Jesus Heals Man born Blind
John 9:1–41
John 9 describes a triumph of light over darkness. As a sign that Jesus is the Light, He gives sight to the blind. e
healing of the blind was a sign of the promised Messiah (Hebrew) / Christ (Greek), as no one in the history of
the world had ever healed blindness before Jesus. In the follow up discussion aer the miracle Jesus declares that
physical blindness is not caused by sin and demonstrates how spiritual blindness is caused by sin.
JESUS HEALS THE BLIND MAN
John 9:1 “Jesus passed by Jesus is still in Jerusalem at the Feast of the Tabernacles. It is now the Sabbath (John
9:14). Even though some Jews wanted to stone him in the last scene, Jesus is not in hiding, but walks in a public
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place, and is about to demonstrate something that will draw even more attention to him. He also is about to
provide evidence for everything he just talked about: He is the Light of the world, he is the righteous judge, he is
the Messiah, and he is the fulllment of the Feast of Tabernacle. is is one of the boldest examples he oers in
Jerusalem that he is the Son of God.
“blind from his birth John emphasizes that this man has been blind since birth—not from an accident or
illness. (Matthew , Mark, Luke include ve other accounts of Jesus healing the blind—it was an important
sign of the Messiah.) Jews wrongly assumed that God gave one a birth defect, aiction, illness, or premature
death because of sin.
22
is legend perpetuated false impressions about disabilities.
23
e rabbis debated over
whosefaultbirth defects were: the parents or child?
24
Jesus attacked this fallacy by healing the man born blind.
25
John 9:2–3 “who did sin? A group of Jesus’ disciples call him Master (or Rabbi in Greek). is is the rst refer-
ence to disciples since chapter 6 in Galilee. e society was so immersed in the cultural baggage that handicaps
e Blind Man at the Pool of Siloam by Edmund Blair Leighton. Oil on canvas, 1879. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
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are a result of sin, that even the disciples needed
correction. By blaming all handicaps or hardships
on sin these Jews forgot or misunderstood the
book of Job.
e disciples’ question hints of a pre-earthly exis-
tence.
26
is notion of a pre-earth life may have
been maintained or fostered by scriptures like
Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed thee in the belly I
knew thee. . . .” (or Job 38:4, 7 and Psalms 82:6).
By assuming the possibility that the blind man
may have done something before his birth that
resulted in a disability in mortality. eir ques-
tion raised the issue of whether sin initiates from something one did before their mortal birth. Some Rabbis
interpreted Exodus 20:5 as saying the sins of the parents could leave a mark on their infants. ey went as far as
supposing that an infant could sin in utero.
27
“Neither hath . . .sinned” Jesus does not denounce a pre-mortal state, but attacks the heresy that all disabilities
result from sin. Jesus teaches that the real reason why this man was born blind is so that God can demonstrate
His glory in the miracle about to happen. is man had a premortal mission to be a witness of the Messiahs
healing. Nowhere in the OT list of miracles (the dead were raised, lame walked, etc.), are the blind healed. at
was a miracle reserved to identify the Promised Messiah: “en the eyes of the blind shall be opened . . .” (Isaiah
35:5–6; also 42:6–7; Exodus 4:11; Psalm 146:8; Mosiah 3:5–7).
John 9:4 “work the works of Him Jesus’ mission was dedicated to doing His Father’s work. e same is true for
all disciples. Aer the rst phrase of this verse, there is a change in the JST “while I am with you; the time cometh
when I shall have nished my work, then I go unto the Father.” When Jesus is present it is “daytime” and when he
is put to death, “nighttime.
John 9:5 “I am the Light of the World” John ties this story back to Jesus’ discourses in chapters 7 and 8. Jesus
now puts action to His words and will act out the message as another witness of His Divinity. Jesus oers a dem-
onstration of light and darkness with a faith lled man who receives his sight.
John 9:6 “He spat on the ground John includes exactly where Jesus spit, because spitting on the ground was a
form of breaking the Sabbath. (e oral laws, took the 39 forms of forbidden work on the Sabbath and micro-
managed them into hundreds of rules. You could spit on a rock, but if you spit on the ground you were guilty of
Healing of the man born blind by Orazio de Ferrari. Image via
Wikimedia Commons.
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cultivating).
28
made clay . . . and anointed e reference to working with dirt or clay, evokes the creation theme. God cre-
ated Adam from the dust in Eden. Jesus’ miracle also evokes a story from Enoch, “And the Lord spake unto
Enoch, and said unto him: Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see” (Moses 6:35). Early
Christians also had their eyes anointed in their initiation rites.
29
e name Messiah means “anointed one.” It is
as if Jesus shares His anointing with the blind man, and then has him “wash” before the blind man then sees.
John 9:7 “wash in the pool” Jesus had the blind man wash o the mud in the pool of Siloam near the temple.
It sounds, similar to Elishas healing of Naaman in the Jordan River (2 Kings 5:10–13). the Lord sends the blind
man on this quest to wash rather than just healing him immediately—almost as a test of faith, or a representa-
tion of “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). e early Church Fathers Tertullian and Augustine saw the
washing in pool of Siloam symbolic of baptism and used this story to prepare converts for baptism.
30
. . . pool of Siloam (which is by interpretation, Sent)” Siloam/sent, symbolically corresponded to Jesus as the
One “sent” from God. is favorite theme in John. Up to this point in his Gospel, we nd “sent” used 33 times
as a divine commission (and three times in common use). It was this pool of Siloam that the procession of Lev-
ites went to ll their golden pitchers on the “last and great day of the feast” of Tabernacles (John 7:37) to bring
water to pour over the sacrice, in memory of water from the rock of Rephidim (Ex 17:1–6). Archeologists have
identied two major possibilities for the pool of Siloam.
31
Josephus tell us that in his day the water was “sweet
and abundant.
32
Shortly before this miracle, Jesus made an illusion to the pool of Siloam when He cried, “if any man thirst, let
him come unto me and drink” (John 7:37). en Jesus sends the blind man to the same pool wash o the clay
from his eyes. e mans healing comes only when he is washed/baptized by “the one sent.” Symbolically, Jesus
sends all disciples to wash and see. God gives new sight and light to those in darkness. However, those who were
blind in their sins (i.e. pride and greed) remain in darkness.
33
THREE INTERROGATIONS
1. Neighbors
John 9:8–12
John 9:11 “anoint . . . wash . . . receive sight” As the healed man tells his story to his neighbors, he uses verbs
that have double meanings to Johns readers. ey speak emblematically of initiatory promises which the early
Christians practiced.
34
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John 9:12 “Where is he? is question is applicable today for all of us. Sadly, the healed man did not know. I
presume that the crowds who came as pilgrims for the feast made it dicult to reunite. It appears that the Jewish
inquisition helped him realize the truth of who Jesus was. Because we have the story, I assume the man become
a devoted disciple aer his healing, but miracles do not replace the need for faith.
2. Pharisees
John 9:13–34
John 9:13–16 “this man was not of God because he keepth not the Sabbath e next interrogation unfolds
when the neighbors bring the healed man to the Pharisees. e man tells them the same simple truth. e Phari-
sees were trying to condemn Jesus for something. Jesus had kneaded the clay with his spit to make mud. Similar
to Jesus’ Sabbath healing at Bethsaida, this healing as on the Sabbath (John 5:2). In Jewish thought, since the
mans life is not in jeopardy, the healing should have waited for another day.
e Healed Blind Man Tells His Story to the Jews by James Tissot, 1899.
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Johns theme of imminent judgment is brought out again. Underlying the Pharisees belief is the understanding
that if God worked miracles through a rabbi, then God approves of the rabbis teachings. ese Pharisees cannot
get over their traditional view of the Sabbath even though Isaiah 56:2; 58:13 taught that on the Sabbath was a
time to do God’s works. Instead, for generations, Isaiahs perspective was overshowed by their adopted oral laws.
John 9:17 “What do you say? . . . He is a prophet” To help the Pharisees settle the dispute, they ask for the
healed mans perspective and he testies that Jesus is a man of God, a prophet. is lets us know that he does not
know much about Jesus yet, but that soon changes.
John 9:18–23 “His parents answered . . . ask him is scene points to those too fearful to testify. To the early
Christian community this was a matter of those who died for the faith and those who weakly denied their beliefs.
e parents’ witness only the obvious—their son was born blind. ey are cowards in the face of the questioning
Pharisees and shy away from acknowledging Jesus’ great miracle. e parents fear excommunication and their
place in society, more than they want to stand up for their sons healer! We learn that the blind man was of legal
age. Over twelve and a half was old enough to marry.
35
John 9:24–25 “Give God the praise is phrase was an old oath. Ironically, the blind man does give God the
glory by telling the truth about Jesus’ healing, but the Jews deny the miracle as a sign or witness of His Messiah-
ship.
36
“I know that whereas I was blind, now I see e healed mans courageous answer to the Pharisees boarders on
sarcasm. is opens a dialogue that lasts for ten verses and is one of the best in the NT.
John 9:27 “ye did not believe (JST) is one-word change oers a signicant message from “hear” to “believe.
Why were the Pharisees not content with the repeated answer? Are they trying to trap the man as well as Jesus
in his words? ey ask if Jesus has miraculous power and John answers a resounding, YES! e Law of Moses
spoke against magicians, and it appears the Pharisees see Jesus in this category.
John 9:28–29 “We are Moses’ disciples Many rabbis did not believe in another “Moses” (or lawgiver). In real-
ity, if they were actually Moses’ disciples, they would be followers of Jesus too. e problem is that Moses Law
was so contaminated with oral laws by it no longer clearly pointed to the coming of Messiah. Sadly, those who
reject Jesus are disciples of the devil (Moroni 7:16–17).
John 9:30 “Ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. e healed blind man points
out their faulty logic. e man references the well-known sign of the Messiah (John 9:6). If Jesus brought sight—
why isn’t He recognized as the Messiah? Even though it appears that the Pharisees do not change their hearts
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through this conversation, the healed man strengthens his faith
by defending Jesus and coming to ultimate truth. Interestingly,
the persecution increases his belief. is conversation has simi-
larities with what the Lord taught Nicodemus. Both include an
uncertainty about the Divinity of Jesus and both initially do not
hear with faith. (Fortunately, Nicodemus developed more faith
later and became a key gure at the cross.)
John 9:32–33 “except he be of God” (JST) is change (found
in the footnote), insures that God performed this miracle; it is
not a magic trick. For scriptures on the Messianic healing of the
blind see Psalm 146:8; Isaiah 35:5; 42:7. Look at the progress in
the mans development of his testimony between 9:11 (he iden-
ties healer as “a man they called Jesus”), 9:17 (“a prophet”),
9:33 (“from God”), and 9:37 (“the Son of Man”). Simultaneously the antagonists decrease in their faith and vilify
Jesus (:15–17, 29, 34).
John 9:34 “they cast him out e Pharisees resent the man and those whom they feel are unclean and unlearned.
ey resort to condemning the man as a sinner and excommunicate him from the synagogue.
3. Jesus
John 9:35–41
John 9:35 “Jesus heard . . . and . . . found him Interestingly, the healed man does not go nd Jesus on his own.
e crowds, his new life, whatever his distractions were, he does not. But fortunately for him (and all of us), Jesus
seeks him / us out. His rst question is one for all disciples, “Do you believe on the Son of God?” (NIV)
John 9:36–38 “Who is he Lord, that I might believe? is touching level of faith and spontaneous worship, is
refreshing afer the “blindness” of the Pharisees. Jesus and John chose to emphasize the miracle again by adding
thou hast . . . seen him” (37).
John 9:39 “For judgment I am come into the world Jesus expounds on His role as judge—aer just discussing
it a few days earlier in the temple (John 7:24). He claims to be a judge who intimately knows the challenges of the
world. Our Judge helps us become aware of our sins which leads us to become more humble, more motivated
to change, and more meek. Also, the process of seeing through our pride allows us to more clearly understand
what life is all about. ose who are blinded by pride are not able to come unto Christ with full purpose of heart
though.
e Healing of the Man Born Blind. A an etching by
Jan Luyken via Wikimedia Commons.
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they that see not might see . . . they that see might be made blind” Jesus introduces another opposite again.
He is not speaking on a physical level of hurting anyones sight—but rather trying to point out blind spots to
those in need of repentance. e irony of spiritual blindness dims the spiritual vision of the proudful well edu-
cated even now.
John 9:40–41 “Are we blind also? Jesus seems to have a steady crowd around Him listening and asking ques-
tions. His warning answer is for a much larger crowd though. We all need to meekly accept Divine change and
direction even when it goes counter to our cultural norm. e Lord also addresses faith. ose who can but will
not see with an eye of faith, like these Pharisees, are worse than blind. In a way, He teaches them that their lack
of faith is a choice. ese fault nders are worse than the blind, because they chose not to see.
“Your sin remaineth Sin is in the singular, possibly meaning the sin of not accepting their Savior. By rejecting
Jesus, they chose to follow the devil by default. is tragic aw will breed more sins as they do their master’s
biding.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
John 10:1–18
e setting appears to continue from the same fall feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem for the rst part of this
chapter (but it may also be a prelude to the feast of dedication that begins in John 10:22). As Jesus continues to
preach at the temple, He uses the themes of sheep and shepherds overlapping with many shepherd texts in the
OT. For example:
• Psalms 23:1e LORDismy shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters
• Isaiah 40:11 “He shall feed his ock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and
carrythemin his bosom,andshall gently lead those that are with young.
• Isaiah 53:6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD
hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
• Isaiah 53:7 “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he
openeth not his mouth.
• Jeremiah 31:10He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherddoth his ock
• Ezekiel 34:11–12 “I,evenI, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his
ock . . . so will I seek out my sheep
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wis latter citation is part of a larger shepherd text that lls the better part of the whole chapter (Ezek 24:1–23).
It was in the Jewish synagogue for a winter weekly cycle of scripture study.
37
Jesus builds on Ezekiel and other OT shepherd and sheep texts so that it becomes a NT theme as well (see Mat-
thew 18:12; 25:32; Acts 20:28–29; 1 Peter 5:2–4; Hebrews 13:20; etc.). John 10:1–7 is as close as Johns Gospel
ever gets to a parable (the others are more allegories).
The Parable
John 10:1–7
10:1 “a door into the sheepfold Sheepfolds were built in many ways, but in Palestine, most were either in the
yard adjacent to ones house / tent, or if out in the eld an enclosure surrounded by low stone walls and topped
with briars. ey oen were in the yard just outside a house/tent. At night the sheep slept in these enclosures.
e shepherd came in the morning and took their sheep to the pasture by calling to them.
a thief and a robber” In Jesus’ parable, the thief or robber represents anyone who teaches against Jesus, like the
Pharisees in John 9:13. As the Law of Moses requires, Jesus dierentiates between a “thief ” and “robber/bandit/
lestes.” John Welch explains:
Although there is only a little dierence between a thief and a robber in most modern minds, there were
considerable dierences between the two under ancient Near Eastern law. A thief (ganab) was usually a
local person who stole from his neighbor. He was dealt with judicially. He was tried and punished civilly,
most oen by a court composed of his fellow townspeople. A robber, on the other hand, was treated as
an outsider, as a brigand or highwayman. He was dealt with militarily, and he could be executed sum-
marily.
38
is denition also sheds light on 1 Nephi 3, where Laban calls Laman “a robber.” He no longer identied him
as an insider.
John 10:2–3 “the one who enters by the gate is the shepherd” (BSB). Jesus introduces Himself as the shepherd
(and later as the gate) of the sheepfold. It harkens back to Numbers 27:17–18, where the Lord chooses Joshua
(which is the Hebrew name for Jesus) as the “shepherd” of the Children of Israel. “Appoint a man over the con-
gregation . . . who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the lord may not be like sheep
without a shepherd. . . Take thee Joshua /Jesus ” (LXX).
Other OT references apply here too (see Micha 2:12–13; Ezekiel 34:9–17 and Isaiah 55:4). Lots of stories tell of
sheep knowing their shepherds voice. Sheep are very social—they eat with their head together, cry when sepa-
Opposite: Tomb showing Christ as the good shepherd at the central cemetery of Kufstein, middle of the 19th century. Image
via Wikimedia Commons
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rated, and dont seem to mind dierent sheepfolds drinking from the same watering trough. If taken or caught
by a predator, sheep become submissive. ey are generally docile, quiet and patient.
John 10:4–5 “goeth before them and the sheep follow him A shepherd who is known by his sheep, can walk
ahead of them and they will follow. If multiple herds of sheep are gathered together, they can recognize their
individual shepherds call and spontaneously follow the voice they know. But in John 10, the people of Jerusalem
do not follow Jesus. is is because they are not His sheep.
39
Like sheep, people are helpless without the Savior. If they recognize His Spirit, they gladly follow Him. But if not,
they follow another voice, or initially need to be pushed through the gate.
John 10:6 “they understood not” e Lord resorted to speaking in parables in the Synoptic Gospels when the
people proved they couldnt comprehend his plain speech. is way only those who understood were/are held
accountable.
Jesus Explains the Gate
John 10:7–10
John 10:7 “I am the gate for the sheep (NIV) Unlike the many OT links to sheep (i.e. Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah
23:4–5, etc.), Jesus’ explanation of the parable centers in on His main point—which is entering through the gate
or door. “I am the door,” is also implies “an entrance, way” preparing for “I AM the Way” (John 14:6). While
the Synoptic Gospels quote the phrase: “e kingdom of God / heaven is like …;” John uses a parallel message
with his many “I am . . . ” statements (John 10:7,9,11,14). Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27; and Luke 12:32 also use
shepherd imagery for the Lord.
John 10:8–9 “. . . came before me who testied not of me are thieves” (JST) e JST claries that these verses
do not refer to all past prophets. Rather prideful leaders who do not lead the ock to Jesus are thieves. God pro-
vides only one way to be saved and to nd lasting joy—and that is through the narrow opening where our Savior
stands. Jesus’ atonement and ordinances becomes the door to heaven and Eternal Life.
John 10:10 “I am come that they might have life . . . more abundantly” e pasture of life is the fullness of life.
Jesus open the gate to full mortality and eternal lives. Jesus work and glory is to open that gate for all mortals
(Moses 1:39).
Explanation of The Shepherd
John 10:11–21
John 10:11 “e Good” or “beautiful by reason of purity of heart and life, and hence praiseworthy; morally
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good, noble.
40
is contrasts with the custom of the day where shepherds were oen considered as dishonest
and outside the Law. Early rabbis excluded shepherds (along with women) from acting as a witness or judge in
courts of law. ey rationalized, many shepherds grazed their ocks on other peoples lands, so they must be
dishonest.
41
Ironically, the scriptures describe shepherds as righteous, humble, devote followers of their God (i.e.
Jacob, Joshua, David, etc.).
the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep When Jesus gives His life, it includes His entire life—His
growing years, mission, and atoning sacrice—were all for us. He gave His life as a sacrice for us. He feeds His
sheep with truth (“I am . . . the truth” John 14:6). e earliest Christians saw the Lord referring to Himself as “the
Good Shepherd,” and repeated the symbol in Hebrews 13:20 and 1 Peter 5:4.
John 10:12–13 “an hireling Unlike a true shepherd,
a day worker, works for pay not for love. e outcome
makes all the dierence—one builds and the other
takes. When danger or challenges come the day worker
ees, while the Good Shepherd stays beside His sheep
because of his love for them.
John 10:14–15 “I lay down my life for the sheep Jesus
adopts Moses and young Davids role as the good shep-
herd (Exodus 3:1, 1 Samuel 17:34–35). Both of these two
great Israelite leaders typied Jesus, and both proph-
esied that another would follow in their steps. (Look
for Davidic typology with Jesus.). Jesus goes beyond
the service rendered by these earlier good shepherds,
to actually lay down His life and become the “great and
last sacrice . . . aninniteandeternalsacrice” (Alma
34:10).
John 10:16 “other sheep is is our clearest reference
in the NT to the Nephites and others we dont know
much about yet (3 Nephi 16:1).
John 10:17–18 “no man taketh it from me, but I lay it
down of myself Jesus declares this as the reason why
His Father loves Him, He willingly will give Himself as
Other Sheep by Matt Warrren. Winner of the 2016 Book
of Mormon Central Art Contest.
Page312
our Redeemer and Savior. Johns theme of Jesus’ power over death, is seen throughout His Gospel, including the
controlled and willing manner that John illustrates Jesus’ passion narrative (which we will see in a few weeks as
we compare and contrast each of the Gopsel accounts of the Lords death).
John 10:19–21 “division . . . again among the Jews” Do you see the same arguments today used against Chris-
tianity and the Restored Church of Jesus Christ?
FEAST OF DEDICATION OR
“HANUKKAH”
John 10:22 “it was winter” John moves three months ahead to the Feast of Dedication (Chislev 20–27, Novem-
ber/ December), which is also called the Feast of Lights, or Hanukkah.
42
It is a holiday that began between the
OT and NT. Aer the Maccabean revolt against the Greeks (164–160 BC), the priests rededicated their temple
and later in in 138 BC, celebrated it with another holy celebration.
43
Looking back at the second temples rededi-
cation, the winter feast claimed the tradition that a miracle of one jar of sacred temple oil lasted the entire eight
days of ceremonial needs.
44
e winter celebration developed into eight days of feasting, special worship ser-
vices, and extra lights. is is the last of the series of feasts which began in John 5 (the Sabbath, Passover, Taber-
nacles, and now Feast of Dedication).
John 10:23 “Jesus walked in the temple in Solomons porch e Temple Mount under King Herods design
was a huge space measuring more than 157,000 square yards (144,000 square meters, approximately 33–36
acres). It was one of the largest in the Roman world. To appreciate its grandeur, here are a few comparisons. e
Forum in Rome was only half its size, the Acropolis in Athens one-h that size, and the largest temple complex
in the world, Karnak in Upper Egypt, is only a third bigger and took 2,000 years to build. e outer most space
was known as the Court of the Gentiles, because all were allowed on that space. People from all over the Roman
Empire gathered in this area to discuss and debate issues of life. ere may even have been benches or seats along
the outer walls.
e outer four walls of the Court of the Gentiles had covered areas, known as porches, halls or cloisters. e
at roofs were supported by three rows of Corinthian columns, 37.5 feet high, each cut from a single block of
marble. On the south was the “Royal Porch” supported by 160 pillars arranged in four rows of forty pillars each.
Jesus came to the east porch, out of the wind, and overlooking the Mount of Olives. It was called, “Solomons
Porch,” because that is where Solomons stables once stood. It was the oldest and loveliest porch.
Page313
John 10:24–25 “If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly Jesus’ audience thought of their Messiah (or in Greek,
Christ) as a conqueror, with strong political overtones. Jesus did not want to encourage this nationalist image.
Instead, His response recalled His works as a witness of who He was to take them back to the biblical context.
45
To unbelievers Jesus’ answers must include witnesses. He explains that His works witness of Him.
John 10:26–27 My sheep listen . . . and they follow me Jesus reintroduces the theme of sheep and ties the two
halves of chapter 10 together (see John 10:11). He recaps that if they dont follow Him, it is not because He is not
e Shepherd, but because they are not His sheep.
John 10:28–29 “I give them eternal life (ESV) LDS understand Eternal Life to mean Exaltation. It is the realm
of the Father, who is “greater than all.”
John 10:30 “I andmyFather are one Trinitarian controversy hinges on this verse. Note the plural “are” sug-
gesting plural. John 10:38 denes Jesus’ use of one, “the Fatherisin me, and I in him
Jesus Walks in the Portico of Solomon by James Tissot, 1899.
Page314
John 10:31–33 “for which of those works do ye stone me? Ironically, when Jesus answers their question, they
cry “blasphemy,” and try to stone Him. eir two basic questions include: 1. Is Jesus the Messiah? (John 10:24),
and 2. Does Jesus make Himself God? (John 10:33).
John 10:34–35 “ye are gods . . . Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6, and then denes “gods” as those through whom God
speaks (i.e. 1 Samuel 15:10; Hosea 1:1, Jeremiah 1:2, etc.). If God’s mouthpieces can be called on to speak for
God, why do we not believe the that the Word of God is the Son of God?
John 10:36 “. . . the Father hath sanctied” Jesus also returns to the theme of the Feast of Rededication. Even
more than the temple was sanctied then, it is sanctied now with the fulllment of ancient temple ordinances
about to take place. “Sanctied” also means “consecrated.” As the one who will bear the sins of the world vicari-
ously, Jesus is consecrated to become the living temple altar and Lamb of God. Many sacred things in the temple
pointed to or represented the Promised Messiah (i.e. the brazen sea for washing, the anointing oil, the veil as a
connection between the presence of God and earth, the Holy of Holies, etc.). If we can see Jesus as a temple as it
were, one who bridges heaven and earth, and realize that His body literally houses our God, then this connection
with the temple is even more powerful.
sent into the world Jesus also returns to the theme of being sent from God again. Jesus is the only being sent
as half God, literally the Son of God. Disciples too are commissioned or sent forth to do God’s works, and angels
are sent. But only Jesus is sent with the title: Emanuel, God with us.
John 10:37–38 “. . . believe the works Jesus’ logic is beautiful. If He is doing God’s works, then God is working
through and in Him. He represents the Father. John also lets us know that Jesus escaped again. Jesus’ enemies
had no power over Him
Jesus Withdraws Across the Jordan River
John 10:40–42
John 10:39–42 is is the conclusion of “Part ree: e principal feasts” of Johns Gospel (chapters 5–10).
46
Some scholars call it, “the Book of Signs” as Jesus demonstrates signs of his Messiahship.
47
He now leaves the
hostile land and people of Palestine and crosses the Jordan River into Perea. Many follow Him. ere He nds
the faith that was lacking in his own land. e author John, deliberately reminds us of JBpst. e scene takes
place near where John the Baptist was baptizing across the Jordan and the fact that he bore witness of Jesus as
the Son of God.
Header Image: Stained glass of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd at St John the Baptists Anglican Church. Image
via Wikimedia Commons.
Page315
Parallels Between Jesus And
MOSES DAVID
1. Wicked kings tried to kill them at birth
2. Meek
3. Went to the wilderness to commune with God
4. Fasted 40 days, confronted by Satan
5. Called from Egypt to fulll prophecy
6. Served as mediators, judges, and redeemers of Israel
7. Miracle workers—including controlling the elements
8. Turned water red (blood / wine)
9. Law givers and restorers
10. Miraculously feed thousands of people
11. Carried by the Spirit to a Mount and shown the world
12. Healed by looking up with faith
13. Rejected when rst came to redeem Israel
14. Brought the children of Israel to the Promised Land
1. Came when God had rejected those in authority
2. Came from Bethlehem
3. Came through Jesse
4. Good shepherds
5. Called “beloved son” (the meaning of David)
6. overlooked
7. Destroyed the enemy to Israel (Goliath, Satan)
8. Anointed to be kings of Israel
9. Became kings at age 30
10. Sacriced on Mount Moriah to stop (the plague of)
death
Moses Breaks the Tablets of the Law by Anton Robert Leinweber, 1910.
Page316
ENDNOTES
1. John W. Welch and Stephen D. Ricks, King Benjamins Speech: at Ye May Learn Wisdom (Provo, UT: Foundation of
Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1998), 148. We nd evidence of many Jewish feasts in the Book of Mormon
even without being named. We are also told to things like “feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ
will tell you all things what ye should do.” (2 Nephi 32:3; see also 3:20; 9:51; Jacob 2:9; 3:2; etc.)
2. ere are multiple James in the NT, but scholars assume that Jesus’ half-brother is the one referred to in the resurrection
accounts listed in 1 Corinthians 15:7, “aer that, he was seen of James then of all the apostles.” Paul also mentions visit-
ing “James, the Lords brother” in Jerusalem (Galatians 1:19). Paul refers to him in the same letter as one of the pillars of
the church (Galatians 2:9) We understand this James, could not be Zebedee and Salomes son James, the brother of John.
We think of this James as a member of the rst presidency at times as he worked closely with Peter and John the Beloved
when they saw the Lord transgured, and were asked to pray in Gethsemane. Acts 12:2 records that Herod Agrippa kills
this James son of Zebedee, near a Passover sometime before Herods own death in AD 44.
3. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 20.9.1.
4. Raymond Brown, e Gospel and Epistles of John (Collegeville, MN: the Liturgical Press, 1988), 48.
5. Ibid., 49.
6. Jacob Neusner, e Mishnah: Religious Perspectives (Boston, MA: Brill, 1999), 119. Also see, Mishnah, Shabbath, 22:6;
17:2 ; 14:3; 6:10.
7. Brown, John, 50.
8. Joseph Smith, History of e Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, Reprint, 1980),
vol. 5, 499–500. e prophet Joseph taught, “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the
remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without
the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
9. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, e Anchor Bible: e Gospel According to Luke (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985), 412 and Intro-
duction.
10. Brown, John, 51.
11. Ibid., “Some manuscripts place it in Luke among the cunning question presented to Jesus during Holy Week; this would
be a far better setting . . . the Greek style is closer to Luke than to John.
12. Raymond Brown, e Anchor Bible: e Gospel According to John 1–XII (NYC, NY: Doubleday, 1966), 337.
13. Lynne Hilton Wilson, Christs Emancipation of Women in the New Testament (Palo Alto, CA: Good Publ., 2015), chapter
1.
14. Brown, Anchor: John, 334–337.
15. Ibid., 334
16. Augustine, “Relicti sunt duo, misera et misericordia
17. Isaiah 49:6 “…to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my sal-
Page317
vation unto the end of the earth.” In D&C 88:7–9, Jesus announces that He is the source of all light, within and without.
Jesus is “the light of the sun ... the light of the moon .... the light of the stars.” Other scritures explain that He is the “true
Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9; D&C 93:2; Moroni 7:16–19). During the millen-
nium we will “need no candle, neither light of the sun,” for the Lord will be their light (Revelation 22:5; Isaiah 60:19).
18. Brown, John, 52.
19. Alfred Edersheim, e Temple and its Ministry and Services as they were at the time of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm.
B. Eerdamans, reprint, 1987), 48. ese chests were narrow at the top and wide at the bottom like a trumpet, and hence
were called “trumpets.
20. Brown, Anchor: John, 361–362.
21. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews,15.xi. Herods addition to the Second Temple became a 80 year project, built from 19
BC to AD 63 or 64.
22. Avraham Steinberg, ed., Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics (Jerusalem Israel: Feldheim, 2003), 34, “Any illness may
result from sin.” eir society incorrectly presumed that physical imperfections made one a sinner, because priests with
birth defects were not allowed to serve at the altar of the temple: “No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the
priest shall come nigh to oer the oerings of the LORD made by re” (Leviticus 21:21, 17–23).
23. Ibid., 107.
24. Margaret Barker, Creation: A Biblical Vision for the Environment (London and NYC: T & T Clark, 2010), 232.
25. Wilson, Emancipation of Women, chapter 7. “In antiquity, blind people lled the cities and temples as alms collectors.
Most blind people did not reach their potential, were considered worthless to society, were frequently hungry and some-
times starved to death. Blindness was universally considered to be a great tragedy, and mostly as punishment for sin.
Steinberg, Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics, 106.
26. e Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ doctrine of a pre-mortal life is not generally shared by Jews or Christians
currently
27. Brown, Anchor: John, 371.
28. Ibid., 372. e Mishnah recorded a curse on anyone who uttered charms over a wound, notably, while spitting.
29. Alonzo Gaskill, Sacred Symbols: Finding Meaning in Rites, Rituals and Ordinances, (Springville, UT: Cedar Fort, 2017),
41–42. Cyril (AD 313 – 386) elaborated on early Christian anointings: “Ointment is symbolically applied to thy forehead
and thy other senses; and while the body is anointed with the visible ointment, thy soul is sanctied by the Holy and
life-giving Spirit. Ye were rst anointed on the forehead, that ye might . . . reect as a mirror the glory of the Lord. en
on your ears; that ye might receive the ears which are quick to hear the Divine Mysteries, of which Esaias said, e Lord
gave me also an ear to hear [Isa 1:4 and Mark 4:9] . . . en on the nostrils; . . . Aerwards on your breast; that having
put on the breastplate of righteousness, ye may stand against the wiles of the devil.” e Bible records ritual anointings
priests, kings, sacrices, lepers, tabernacle and temple furnishings (Leviticus 14:15–18; Exodus 29:4–8; 29, 36; 40:9–15;
Numbers 3:3; 6:15; 1 Samuel 16:1, 13; 1 Kings 1:39).ey kept their special olive oil for anointings in horns to consecrate
things or people to God (1 Samuel 16:1).
30. Brown, Anchor Bible: John, 29:380–381.
Page318
31. One is near the Ghihon spring in the Kidron Valley, the other just south of the Temple, outside the wall.
32. Josephus, Jewish Wars, 335.
33. Studies in Scriptures: Gospels, 5:121).
34. Gaskill, Sacred Symbols, 39. Tertullian (160–225 AD) explained that what we do to the body is really for the Spirit: “e
esh, indeed, is washed, in order that the soul may be cleansed; the esh in anointed, that the soul may be consecrated;
. . . the esh is shadowed with the imposition [or laying on] of hands that the soul may be illuminated by the Spirit.
35. Mishnah, Abot 5:21, outlines stages of the ideal male life “At 5to Scripture, 10 to Mishnah, 13 to religious duties, 15 to
Talmud, 18 to the wedding canopy, 20 to responsibility for providing for a family, 30 to fullness of strength, 40 to under-
standing, 50 to counsel, 60 to old age, 70 to ripe old age, 80 to remarkable strength, 90 to a bowed back, and 100—he is
like a corpse who has already passed and gone from this world.
36. Brown, John, 57.
37. Brown, Anchor: John, 389. “In particular, Ezek xxxiv, which, as we shall see, is the most important single OT background
passage for John x, served as the haphtarah or prophetical reading in the general time of Dedication in the second year
of the cycle.
38. John W. Welch, ed., Reexploring the Book of Mormon, 248.
39. Kent Jackson, and Robert Millet. Studies in Scriptures: Gospels vol 5 (SLC, UT: Deseret Book, 1986), 140.
40. Brown, Anchor: John, 386.
41. Joachim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969), 374. Women were considered dis-
honest and the source of all sin since Eden.
42. B. H. Roberts, Seventys Course in eology, 1:57. In 198 B.C., “Aer a series of contests Palestine was taken from Egypt
by Antiochus the Great, annexed to Syria, and divided into ve provinces, viz., Judea, Samaria, Galilee (W. of Jordan),
Peraea [sic], and Trachonitis (E. of Jordan). From this time, owing to its position between the two great powers Egypt
and Syria, this country [Israel] became a frequent prey to both, until Antiochus Epiphanes took Jerusalem (B. C. 170),
foully polluted the temple, and compelled the Jews to sacrice to idols. He erected the statue of Jupiter on the altar of
burnt-oering, committed all books of scripture to the ames, and prohibited the worship of God. e high priests, cor-
rupted by Greek licentiousness, prepared the way for declension, and encouraged the adoption of foreign customs. But
the attempt to nally stamp out Judaism produced a recoil. It culminated in the attempt of Antiochus to force the Jews
publicly to eat the esh of swine sacriced on God’s altar to the honor of Jupiter. One aged scribe refused, was followed
by a mother and her seven sons, who all suered martyrdom with the extremes of torture. is was followed by Mat-
tathias, a priest of the Hasmoaean family, who killed both a renegade Jew, when about to oer idolatrous sacrice, and
the royal ocer who presided. Aided by his ve sons, he rallied the faithful round him, threw down the heathen altars,
ed to the mountains and raised the standard of liberty, on which were inscribed M. K. B. I., the initials of their Hebrew
war-cry, Mi-Kamoka Baelim, Ihovah, ‘Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?” (Exodus xv: 11), from which the
insurgents got the name of ‘Maccabees,’ whence the eldest son and successor of Mattathias is known in history as Judas
Maccabaeus. Under him they were victorious. Antiochus died of a loathsome disease, stricken by God.
43. Josephus, Antiquities, xii, 7:7.
Page319
44. e apocryphal books, 1 and 2 Maccabees, include two dierent origins of the holiday. As previous accounts of Moses
tabernacle and Solomons Temple included God’s blessing with extraordinary light, the later tradition including a mira-
cle of light unfolded in 2 Maccabees. We also nd records of this tradition by James Talmage: “Aer almost three years,
Judas, son of the priest Mattathias had the Jews return to Jerusalem and found the Temple deserted, as it had been le
by the army of Antiochus. Its gates had been broken down and burned; and within the walls weeds were growing. Judas
tried to cleanse and rehabilitate the House; he brought in new vessels, and replaced the candlestick, the altar of incense,
the table of shewbread, and the veils, and built a new altar for burnt oerings.” (James E. Talmage, e House of the Lord,
44). On the third anniversary of the day that it was polluted, Zerubbabel’s Temple was puried (Chislev 20, B. C. 164).
Decades later, they began celebrating this with another feast. e tradition claims that only one consecrated jar of oil
was intact and bore the high priests unbroken seal. Miraculously, this jar of oil burned for all eight days of the temple
rededication.
45. Brown, Anchor: John, 406. Also see Psalms of Solomon, 17:21–25, dating from rst and second century B.C. (http://www.
earlyjewishwritings.com/psalmssolomon.html)
46. Brown, Anchor: John, 404,
47. Brown, John, 24.