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Theology Assignment

John 10:1-21

Word behind the Text

Historical Context

In John10:1-21, Jesus continues the events from chapter 9 by contrasting himself with the Pharisees. He identifies himself as the good shepherd and the Pharisees as evil shepherds. Jesus came at a time when people were divided and evil was supreme. Although the prophets tried to unite the people under one belief, they did not have a leader to lead them on the path towards heaven. Jesus came to fulfil this role. By calling him the good shepherd, he told everyone that he is here to lead them towards eternal happiness.

In this teaching, he also spoke of evil shepherds who do not care about their sheep. By the words 'evil shepherds' he was calling the Pharisees since they were leading the people towards the wrong destination.

This passage is one of the earliest times Jesus claimed that he would eventually give up his life for the forgiveness of sins. Although he did not make it clear, he spoke about his death and resurrection in the next chapter. Several years before the birth of Jesus, the scriptures foretold that the son of God will come into this world in order to save people from sin and in order to do so, he will give up his life for the world. During the time Jesus was preaching, people did not recall the teachings of the scriptures and relate them to Jesus as a result of which they never understood that Jesus was talking about his death and resurrection.

World of the text

Literary Context

In John chapters 9 and 11, Jesus cured the sick and brought the dead back to life. In this chapter, Jesus claimed that he is the good shepherd and he has the power to lay down his life and the power to bring it up again. This verse is linked to his death and resurrection but people did not understand what he meant. In chapter 11, Jesus brought Lazarus back to life thus proving that he has the power to accomplish what he speaks.

Jesus begins this passage with a village scene in which the animals stay in the courtyard at night. The people in the village assign the task of taking care of the shepherd to a certain person who knows his sheep and calls them. The sheep on the other hand also recognize their shepherds call and only listen to his call and follow him wherever he goes. There is a possibility that people jump in the courtyard and try to take the sheep with him. However, the sheep run away from such people. Such people are differentiated from the shepherd in a way that the shepherd always enters through the gate while evil shepherds jump over the walls in order to enter the courtyard. These sheep can get distracted by food and water and separate from the flock but the call of the shepherd brings them together. Similarly, if a wolf tries to attack the flock, the shepherd will never abandon his sheep and ...
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