John 10:19-21 “A division among the Jews”


I. A Division Again.

(John 10:19)  There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.

            The words of Jesus concerning the parable of the sheepfold and its meaning have sparked a division among the Jews.  This should come as no surprise to us for Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 10:34-35

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35)  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”

The reason men are divided over Jesus is due to what men are willing to trust.  Notice that the text says “again” there was a division.  This division among the Jews started early in the ministry of Jesus.  John has earlier told of a division among the people as to what kind of man Jesus was. In John 7:12 states:

“And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.”

They were divided as to whether Jesus was a good man or a deceiver.  In chapter seven the half brothers of Jesus do no believe Him to be the Christ the Son of God.  When Jesus refused to go to the feast of Tabernacles with His brothers they departed without Him.  Upon arriving at Jerusalem they found a division among the people.  He is either a good man or a deceiver.  In the same chapter John points out a division over His office.

(John 7:40)  Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. 41)  Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? 42)  Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? 43)  So there was a division among the people because of him.

Some believed Jesus to be only a prophet and others believed Him to be the promised Messiah.  The division was strong and heated as John records in chapter eight.

(John 8:30)  As he spake these words, many believed on him.

(John 8:59)  Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Some believed and became followers of Jesus hanging on His every word.  Others so hated Him that they took up stones to kill Him.


II. The two sides of the division.

(John 10:20)  And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?

            The use of the word “many” indicates that a significant number of people professed to be on this side of the division.  One or two out of one hundred is not a significant number but twenty five or more could be.  In this case and based on the subject under consideration one percent holding to this side of the division is far to many.  they have chosen a side which is most dangerous.  They have taken a fools point of view for the fool has said in His heart there is no God.  Jesus is God and to deny this truth is to be the fool. 

            This particular division is based on the sayings of Jesus; Specifically His parable of the sheepfold and its interpretation.  The first of the two sides of this division say that, based upon His words, Jesus is a mad man.  They claim that He is demon possessed and thus out of His mind.  Therefore He should be ignored and completely disregarded.

            Listening with their ears you might well understand how they thought Jesus to be mad.  They hear Him say that “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” and these words seem like those of a crazy man.  People who were crazy in those days were assumed to be demon possessed.  This may not be far from the truth.

            Imagine for a moment that you went up to your mother and said “The brakes on my car are making a squeaking sound. Do you think I should get them fixed?”  Your mother replies “A stitch in time saves nine.”  Would you think her crazy because of these strange words?  Would you think her demon possessed because she spoke to you such a proverb?

(John 10:21)  Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

            The second side of this division point to the words and works of Jesus and say that these are not the words of a mad man nor of one that is demon possessed.  Even those officers who were sent to arrest Jesus returned saying “never man spake like this man.”  They also say that the healing of the blind man is evidence that He is not demon possessed.  Devils, after all, have never and will never do good to men.

             These are not the words of one who has a devil.  Jesus speaks only the words of His Father.  He speaks in parables so that seeing they may not see and hearing they may not understand.  The men who reject Jesus and are lost do not need to hear of heavenly things.  They need to repent and be saved and then they can begin to understand spiritual things.  Jesus left things deliberately nebulous so that faith would not be un-needed.  God requires faith of those whom He saves.  The scriptures teach “for by grace are ye saved through FAITH and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God.” 

            These Jews are divided because God has made men to have the freedom of choice.  Men may choose to believe in God and to accept His Son as their savior or they may choose to reject His Son and remain in their sin and rebellion against God. 

            The key is faith.  Without faith it is impossible to please God for they that come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.  The evidence given by those who believe in Jesus is profound and clear. Those who do not believe choose to see the evidence as superficial.  They reason away the evidence saying the man was not blind at all and that Jesus’ speaking in riddles is a sign of madness not of spiritual insight.


III. The Division among people of Today.

            There are many different religions on earth today.  There are some that do not believe in God at all.  There are some who think Jesus was just a philosopher.  There are some who say Jesus was just a prophet and nothing more.  There are some who say that Jesus is not God.  There are some who say that Jesus is God.  There are some who say that Jesus saves those who will do good works.  There are some who say Jesus saves all who will believe in Him. 

            When ever one brings up the name of Jesus in conversation today people have strong reactions.  There seems to be no middle ground on the subject of who Jesus is.  Let us put forth the evidence and, as prescribed and ordained by God, let each exercise their freedom of choice and decide what side of the division they will take. 


1. Jesus claimed to be God.

2. Jesus proved His claim by performing miracles.

3. Jesus proved His claim by fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament.

4. The eye witnesses of Jesus’ miracles recorded them in writing which has survived unto modern times.

5. These eye witnesses refused to recant their testimonies under the threat of death.

6. More copies of the Bible books have survived unto modern times than any other writings of that period.

7. The resurrection of Jesus was witnessed by hundreds who refused to deny this truth even to save their own lives.

8. Jesus is the only one who died for the sins of men.

9. Jesus will save all who will trust in Him.


            What will you do with this evidence?  Will you side with those who think that Jesus is mad and has a devil or will you side with those who believe Jesus to be the very Son of God?