“Lesson 70: John 10,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)
“Lesson 70,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Jesus taught that He is the Good Shepherd and that He would lay down His life for His sheep. He also testified that Heavenly Father had given Him power over death. Some people accused Jesus of blasphemy for proclaiming that He was the Son of God.
Invite a student to come to the front of the class. Blindfold the student, and then gather several sets of scriptures, including the blindfolded student’s set. Ask the blindfolded student to feel each set of scriptures and try to determine which set belongs to him or her. After the student attempts this, ask:
Why were you able (or unable) to determine which is your set of scriptures?
If I asked you to feel each of your classmates’ faces, how many do you think you could correctly identify? (Do not ask the student to actually do this.)
Invite the student to remove the blindfold and return to his or her seat. Explain that a shepherd in the Middle East was once asked how well he knew his sheep. He responded, “If you were to put a cloth over my eyes, and bring me any sheep and only let me put my hands on its face, I could tell in a moment if it was mine or not” (G. M. Mackie, Bible Manners and Customs [n.d.], 35).
If you were a shepherd, what do you think it would take to know the sheep in your flock as well as this shepherd did?
Invite students to read John 10:14 silently, looking for what Jesus called Himself. Ask them to report what they find. Write the following statement on the board: Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd.
Why do you think “the good shepherd” is an appropriate title for the Savior?
Encourage students to look for truths as they study John 10 that teach us how the Savior is our Good Shepherd.
To help students understand the cultural setting of John 10:1–5, explain that in the Savior’s day, shepherds led their flocks to food, water, and shelter during the day. At night, several shepherds gathered their individual flocks into a common sheepfold. A sheepfold is a cave or enclosure surrounded by rock walls that have sharp thorns placed along the top to prevent wild animals from entering.
Divide students into pairs. Invite each partnership to read John 10:1–5 aloud together, looking for what a good shepherd does. After sufficient time, invite a few students to report what they found. Write their answers on the board under Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. (Answers might include the following: He enters by the door, He calls His sheep by name, and He goes before His sheep.)
According to verse 3, how did the shepherd lead his sheep out of the sheepfold?
According to verses 4–5, why would the sheep follow only their shepherd?
What did the Savior call those who tried to enter the sheepfold by ways other than the door?
Explain that the Pharisees were among the group of people Jesus was speaking to (see John 9:41).
How were the Pharisees like thieves, robbers, and strangers in a sheepfold?
Invite students to read John 10:6 silently, looking for the Pharisees’ response to the Savior’s teaching. Ask them to report what they find.
Explain that as recorded in John 10:7–16, the Savior continued teaching about the differences between Himself and the Pharisees. Invite a student to read verses 7–10 aloud, including the Joseph Smith Translation in verse 8, footnote a. Ask students to follow along, looking for Jesus’s teachings in these verses.
What additional insight about the thieves does the Joseph Smith Translation of verse 8 give?
Explain that “shepherds in Israel stood at the entrance of the sheepfold and inspected each sheep as it entered, treating injuries as needed. After the sheep were gathered in the sheepfold for the night, the shepherd would lie down to sleep in the entrance, barring the way so predators or thieves could not hurt the sheep” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 231–32).
How are these shepherds’ actions similar to what the Savior does for us?
How do you think the Savior gives life “more abundantly” (John 10:10) to those who follow Him?
Invite a student to read John 10:11–15 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what else the Savior said good shepherds do. Point out that a hireling is someone whose primary motive for working is merely to get paid.
Invite a few students to come to the board and to write anything else they found about the Good Shepherd under Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. (Answers might include the following: He gives His life for His sheep, He knows His sheep, and He is known by His sheep.)
What is a shepherd willing to do that a hireling is not?
What truth can we learn about the Savior from these verses? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following truth: As the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ knows each of us and laid down His life for us. Write this truth on the board under Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd.)
Remind students of the Middle Eastern shepherd who knew each of his sheep so well.
How well do you think the Savior knows you?
How might the way you live each day be affected by understanding that the Savior knows you and was willing to lay down His life for you?
Explain that after He taught that He would lay down His life for us, the Savior indicated something else He would do. Invite a student to read John 10:16 aloud. Ask the class to look for what else the Savior said He would do for His sheep (meaning His people).
What did the Savior say He would do for His sheep?
What does this verse indicate about the location of His sheep?
Explain that the Savior was teaching the Jews in Jerusalem that He would visit God’s children in other lands, teach them His gospel, and bring them into His fold (His Church). Explain that the Book of Mormon sheds light on this verse.
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 3 Nephi 15:15–17, 21; 16:1–3. You may want to suggest that students write this reference in the margin of their scriptures next to John 10:16 or that they mark verse 16, footnote a.
How do these verses help us better understand John 10:16? (The “other sheep” refer to the Nephites and lost tribes, not the Gentiles.)
Ask students to read John 10:17–18 silently, looking for a doctrine about the Savior. Invite them to report what they find. (Students may use different words but should identify the following doctrine: As the literal Son of God, Jesus Christ had power to lay down His life and take it up again. Encourage students to mark the words that teach this doctrine in these verses.)
Why did the Savior have both the ability to die and the ability to rise again after dying? (From His mother, Mary, a mortal woman, Jesus inherited mortality, including the capacity to die. From Elohim, His Father, He inherited immortality, the power to live forever. Thus, He had inherited the abilities to die and to rise again, which were necessary for Jesus to be able to perform the Atonement. [See the lesson on Matthew 1–2.])
Summarize John 10:19–24 by explaining that after the Savior had taught these things, the people were divided in their opinions about who Jesus was. They approached Jesus at the temple and pressured Him to proclaim His true identity as the Christ.
Invite another student to come to the front of the class. Blindfold the student, and then instruct several other students to take turns saying a certain word (for example, “shepherd”). Ask the blindfolded student to listen to each person saying the word and determine whether he or she can recognize who is speaking by that person’s voice.
Why might some voices be easier to recognize than others?
Instruct the student to remove the blindfold and to return to his or her seat. Invite a student to read John 10:25–30 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Savior’s response to the people’s request to tell them whether He was the Christ.
How did the Savior describe His sheep? (The Savior’s sheep hear His voice and follow Him.)
According to verse 28, what will those who hear the Savior’s voice and follow Him receive?
What principle can we learn from these verses? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize that if we come to know the Good Shepherd’s voice and follow Him, He will lead us to eternal life. Write this principle on the board under Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. You may want to suggest that students write this principle in the margin of their scriptures next to John 10:27–28.)
Remind the class of the second blindfolded student and his or her ability to recognize classmates’ voices.
What can we do to come to know the Savior’s voice? (See also D&C 18:34–36.)
What have you done to become more familiar with the Savior’s voice?
In what ways can we show that we follow the Savior?
Give students time to ponder how they can better hear the Savior’s voice and follow Him. In their scripture study journals, invite them to write either (1) a goal to listen more carefully for the Savior’s voice and specific ways they will do so or (2) a goal to better follow His voice and how they plan to do so.
Summarize John 10:31–42 by explaining that after the Savior testified that He and His Father are one, the Jewish leaders sought to stone Him for blasphemy. However, He responded to their accusation by quoting Psalm 82:6, which reads, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are the children of the most High.” The Savior then asked the Jews why they accused Him of blasphemy when He said He was the Son of God, given that the scriptures say we are children of God and can be gods ourselves.
Conclude by testifying of the truths and principles taught in John 10 and by encouraging students to apply them.