Alleluia. V. I am the good shepherd: and I know My sheep, and Mine know Me. Alleluia. Alleluia.
Verse 14. I know mine, and mine know me. To know, in the style of the holy Scriptures, is to love and approve. Wi.
14. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15. As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17. Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. 19. There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20. And many of them said, He has a devil, and is mad; why hear you him? 21. Others said, These are not the words of him that has a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
CHRYS. Two evil persons have been mentioned, one that kills, and robs the sheep, another that does not hinder: the one standing for those movers of seditions; the other for the rulers of the Jews, who did not take care of the sheep committed to them. Christ distinguishes Himself from both; from the one who came to do hurt by saying, I am come that they might have life; from those who overlook the rapine of the wolves, by saying that He gives His life for the sheep. Wherefore He said again, as He said before, I am the good Shepherd. And as He had said above that the sheep heard the voice of the Shepherd and followed Him, that no one might have occasion to ask, What say you then of those that believe not; He adds, And I know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As Paul too said, God has not cast away His people, whom He foreknew.
GREG. As if He said, I love My sheep, and they love and follow Me. For he who loves not the truth, is as yet very far from knowing it.
THEOPHYL. Hence the difference of the hireling and the Shepherd. The hireling does not know his sheep, because he sees them so little. The Shepherd knows His sheep, because He is so attractive to them.
CHRYS. Then that you may not attribute to the Shepherd and the sheep the same measure of knowledge, He adds, As the Father knows Me, even so know I the Father: i.e. I know Him as certainly as He knows Me. This then is a case of like knowledge, the other is not; as He said, No man knows who the Son is, but the Father.
GREG. And I lay down My life for My sheep. As if to say, This is why I know My Father, and am known by the Father, because I lay down My life for My sheep; i.e. by My love for My sheep, to show how much I love My Father.
CHRYS. He gives it too as a proof of His authority. In the same way the Apostle maintains his own commission in opposition to the false Apostles, by enumerating his dangers and sufferings.
THEOPHYL. For the deceivers did not expose their lives for the sheep, but, like hirelings, deserted their followers. Our Lord, on the other hand, protected His disciples: Let these go their way.
GREG. But as He came to redeem not only the Jews, but the Gentiles, He adds, And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold.
AUG. The sheep hitherto spoken of are those of the stock of Israel according to the flesh. But there were others of the stock of Israel, according to faith, Gentiles, who were as yet out of the fold; predestinated, but not yet gathered together. They are not of this fold, because they are not of the race of Israel, but they will be of this fold: Them also I must bring.
CHRYS. What wonder that these should hear My voice, and follow Me, when others are waiting to do the same. Both these flocks are dispersed, and without shepherds; for it follows, And they shall hear My voice. And then He foretells their future union: And there shall be one fold and one Shepherd.
GREG. Of two flocks He makes one fold, uniting the Jews and Gentiles in His faith.
THEOPHYL. For there is one sign of baptism for all, and one Shepherd, even the Word of God. Let the Manichean mark; there is but one fold and one Shepherd set forth both in the Old and New Testaments.
AUG. What does He mean then when He says, I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel? Only, that whereas He manifested Himself personally to the Jews, He did not go Himself to the Gentiles, but sent others.
CHRYS. The word must here (I must bring) does not signify necessity, but only that the thing would take place. Therefore does My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. They had called Him an alien from His Father.
AUG. i.e. Because I die, to rise again. There is great force in, I lay down. Let not the Jews, He says, boast; rage they may, but if I should not choose to lay down My life, what will they do by raging?
THEOPHYL. The Father does not bestow His love on the Son as a reward for the death He suffered in our behalf; but He loves Him, as beholding in the Begotten His own essence, whence proceeded such love for mankind.
CHRYS. Or He says, in condescension to our weakness, Though there were nothing else which made Me love you, this would, that you are so loved by My Father, that, by dying for you, I shall win His love. Not that He was not loved by the Father before, or that we are the cause of such love. For the same purpose He shows that He does not come to His Passion unwillingly: No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself:
AUG. Wherein He showed that His natural death was not the consequence of sin in Him, but of His own simple will, which was the why, the when, and the how: I have power to lay it down.
CHRYS. As they had often plotted to kill Him, He tells them their efforts will be useless, unless He is willing. I have such power over My own life, that no one can take it from Me, against My will. This is not true of men. We have not the power of laying down our own lives, except we put ourselves to death. Our Lord alone has this power. And this being true, it is true also that He can take it again when He pleases: And I have power to take it again: which words declare beyond a doubt a resurrection. That they might not think His death a sign that God had forsaken Him, He adds, This commandment have I received from My Father; i.e. to lay down My life, and take it again. By which we must not understand that He first waited to hear this commandment, and had to learn His work; He only shows s that that work which He voluntarily undertook, was not against the Father’s will.
THEOPHYL. He only means His perfect agreement with His Father.
ALCUIN. For the Word does not receive a command by word, but contains in Himself all the Father’s commandments. When the Son is said to receive what He possesses of Himself, His power is not lessened, but only His generation declared. The Father gave the Son every thing in begetting Him. He begat Him perfect.
THEOPHYL. After declaring Himself the Master of His own life and death, which was a lofty assumption, He makes a more humble confession; thus wonderfully uniting both characters; showing that He was neither inferior to or a slave of the Father on the one hand, nor an antagonist on the other; but of the same power and wild.
AUG. How does our Lord lay down His own life? Christ is the Word, and man, i.e. in soul and body. Does the Word lay down His life, and take it again; or does the human soul, or does the flesh? If it was the Word of God that laid down His soul and took it again, that soul was at one time separated from the Word. But, though death separated the soul and body, death could not separate the Word and the soul. It is still more absurd to say that the soul laid down itself; if it could not be separated from the Word, how could it be from itself? The flesh therefore lays down its life and take it again, not by its own power, but by the power of the Word which dwells in it. This refutes the Apollinarians, who say that Christ had not a human, rational soul.
ALCUIN. But the light shined in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a division among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He has a devil, and is mad.
CHRYS. Because He spoke as one greater than man, they said He had a devil. But that He had not a devil, others proved from His works: Others said, These are not the words of Him that has a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? As if to say, Not even the words themselves are those of one that has a devil; but if the words do not convince you, be persuaded by the works. Our Lord having already given proof who He was by His works, was silent. They were unworthy of an answer. Indeed, as they disagreed amongst themselves, an answer was unnecessary. Their opposition only brought out, for our imitation, our Lord’s gentleness, and long suffering.
ALCUIN. We have heard of the patience of God, and of salvation preached amid revilings. They obstinately preferred tempting Him to obeying Him.