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Jesus the Good Shepherd (John 10)

John 10:16 is one of the major Johannine missions texts that sheds significant light on Jesus’ messianic consciousness during his earthly ministry. Almost exclusively, however, scholarly treatments focus on the fourth evangelist’s use of the Hebrew Scriptures without entertaining questions regarding the historical Jesus. Taking its point of departure from a study of the literary and historical contents of John 10 and an investigation of its genre, the present essay seeks to uncover the fabric of OT motifs that converge in Jesus’ pronouncement in John 10:16, focusing particularly on prophetic passages in Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Isaiah as well as Davidic typology. The scope of this article also includes Qumran, the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, and rabbinic literature. Jesus emerges as a faithful interpreter of the Hebrew Scriptures who understood himself as the eschatological Davidic messianic “shepherd.” John the evangelist is found to uphold the lofty vision of a community—composed of both Jews and Gentiles—united by faith in the God-sent Messiah.


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