John 10:1-21 records a discussion of Jesus as the shepherd (Carson 1991, 379). Carson notes that some scholarship considers this to be a dislocated piece of material. He does not think it necessary to rearrange the narrative (Carson 1991, 380). In the text, Jesus compares himself to a shepherd as opposed to violent outsiders who harm the sheep. Carson makes the very natural connection to Ezekiel 34, along with other passages witha motif of sheep and shepherd (Carson 1991, 381). In verse six, since Jesus’ opponents do not understand what he is talking about, Jesus shifts to a more detailed explanation. The opponents do not understand this either (Carson 1991, 383). Carson considers the changes in metaphor to be an expansion, not a completely different idea (Carson 1991, 384). The intensification includes the idea of the shepherd laying down his life. This is not an example. Rather, it is a substitution. The work of Jesus is clearly that of a savior (Carson 1991, 386). Carson goes on to emphasize that the New Testament never shows Jesus as merely an example to people who make themselves like him. It always sees Jesus as the savior who rescues helpless people. Further, Jesus dies not to earn the Father’s love, but in order to rise and gather others to the Father (Carson 1991, 388).
The remainder of John 10 sees Jesus making claims as the Christ. These claims result in open opposition (Carson 1991, 390). Carson gives a brief history of the Feast of Dedication from verses 22-23 (Carson 1991, 391). This Feast is now known as Hanukkah, also the Feast of Lights. Carson notes several reasons why Jesus would not want to proclaim himself the Messiah (Carson 1991, 392). Despite these reasons, Jesus begins to lay out what kind of Messiah he is in verse 25. Carson again notes that Jesus’ hearers, not being his “sheep,” are not going to understand (Carson 1991, 393). Nevertheless, the Father and Son have one will. Together they care for the sheep. Carson is clear that in verse 30 this refers to a “metaphysical unity,” not one person or merely of one will (Carson 1991, 395).
Because Jesus’ opponents understood him to be making claims to deity, they desired to kill him. Carson points out the urgency with which they may have wished to act (Carson 1991, 396). Jesus remains present long enough to press his claims more. His reference to Psalm 82 is decidedly cryptic. Carsn evaluates some of the possible explanations. He concludes that Jesus is giving a biblical reason not to assume that he is speaking wrongly. This buys him an opportunity to appeal again to his miracles (Carson 1991, 399). As the chapter ends, Jesus leaves Jerusalem to go back to where John was widely accepted. There he is contrasted to John, who did not do miracles (Carson 1991, 400).
Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.
Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.