"I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.”
John 10 for the read John in July Challenge
“Truly, truly I say to you, the one who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 But the one who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep listen to his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts all his own sheep outside, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 However, a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus told them this figure of speech, but they did not understand what the things which He was saying to them meant.
7 So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All those who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters the flock. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me, 15 just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice; and they will become one flock, with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it back. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it back. This commandment I received from My Father.”
19 Dissension occurred again among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” 21 Others were saying, “These are not the words of one who is demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of those who are blind, can it?”
22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple area, in the portico of Solomon. 24 The Jews then surrounded Him and began saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. 27 My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus replied to them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, “We are not stoning You for a good work, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law: ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be nullified), 36 are you saying of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” 39 Therefore they were seeking again to arrest Him, and He eluded their grasp.
40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He stayed there. 41 Many came to Him and were saying, “While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in Him there.
In today’s text Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.” The word abundantly is from the Greek perissoj, pronounced: per-is-sos', meaning: superabundant (in quantity) or superior (in quality); by implication, excessive. That the quantity of our life is superabundant is that we have life in Christ both now and eternal life in heaven. Our abundant life never ends. We know that when we get to heaven, or in the new heaven, when it comes, we will experience a superior quality of life. Revelation 22:3 says: There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him. The curse of sin will not exist. Revelation 21:3-4 says: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Jesus came also to give us a superior quality of life here and now. The abundant life though is not necessarily that we have an excessive quantity of things. In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus says: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What God gives is not to be stored up, but rather to be used for the sake of the kingdom. In Philippians 4:19 it says: And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. He gives us everything that we need. He doesn’t promise to satisfy our greed.
The abundant life in Christ is a superior quality of life. Paul gives us some insight into how we attain that superior quality of life. Philippians 4:11-13 says: I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Being content in our circumstance is the beginning of living the superior quality of life Christ gives. That does not mean that we settle for less than what we can have or do. The price Jesus paid on the cross was far too great for us to allow the thief to continue to steal what Jesus has already given to us. In John 6:35 Jesus says: “I am the bread of life.” Just as the Israelites received fresh manna each morning, Jesus gives us what we need for each day, if we will seek Him. In John 8:12 Jesus says: “I am the light of the world, the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” In John 14:6 Jesus says: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” That we seek to walk in truth and light, not in darkness are vital to the superior life that Jesus gives.
In John 14:27 Jesus says: “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.” In John 16:33 Jesus says: “These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Jesus doesn’t promise us a life free from difficulty. He acknowledges that we will have tribulation. Jesus promises us an abundance of peace in the difficult times, because He has already overcome everything that we face. Romans 8:31-39 says: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus taught us to pray saying: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s the abundant life, the superior quality of life that Jesus gives, that the realities of heaven would be manifested in our lives here on earth.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit for the abundant life You give. May I be content not in my circumstance, but in You, in knowing that in You I have all that I need. May I never stop seeking all that You have given me. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, in and through my life. Amen.