By Tony V. Hammack
John 10:10 NIV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 AMPC The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].
1.) The contrast between the Thief and the good shepherd, Jesus.
2.) Who or what is the thief?
3.) What is Abundant Life?
1.) The Contrast in Outcomes
We see in John 10:10 the contrast in outcomes between following the thief and following the good shepherd, Jesus. At the core the difference seems to be in the interest of the thief and the interest of the shepherd.
Who You Follow Matters: If one finds themselves following a thief, they will find themselves stolen from, killed and destroyed. Those who follow Jesus can find themselves experiencing an abundant life.
There are many deceptive philosophies in the world that offer many things but Jesus said He was the way the truth and the life, no man could get to the father accept through him. (John 14:6)
- Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
The thief is focused on self interest while Jesus as the good shepherd is focused on the interests of the sheep.
The Hired Hand Compared to Good Shepherd
- John 10:11-13 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
2.) Who or What is the Thief
It should be understood in light of the Old Testament as well as ancient Near Eastern thought that the “shepherd,” symbolizes a royal caretaker of God’s people. God himself was called the “Shepherd of Israel” in Psalm 18:1; Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 40:10-11; Ezekiel 34:11-6 as well as Zechariah 10:2. God as the over shepherd had given great responsibility to the leaders of Israel, which they over and over again failed to respect. God denounced the false shepherd's in Isaiah 56:9-12 and again in Ezekiel 34 and promised to provide the true Shepherd, the Messiah, to care for the sheep in Ezekiel 34:23. Jesus is saying that He is the fulfillment of this promise.
Often the thief in this passage is considered to be Satan in the minds of believers as they think about the Satanic agenda for humanity. However I believe that the thief in John 10:10 isn’t necessarily Satan himself but people who are not submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and have self interest elevated over God’s interest. In the context of the passage in John 10 Jesus is talking to the Pharisees See John 10:1.
One of the great concepts of the Gospel of John is the Greek word for “life”. It is found in John 36 times while no other New Testament book uses it more than 17 times. Life is Christ’s gift (Jn 10:28) and he himself is “the life” (John 14:6)
Life Ζωὴν zōēn life pronounced Zo-Ay can be defined as life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ.
Abundant Περισσός Perissos - (an adjective, derived from the Greek, perí, "all-around, excess") – properly all-around, "more than" ("abundantly"); beyond what is anticipated, exceeding expectation; "more abundant," going past the expected limit ("more than enough . . . ").
What ever we surrender and give to Christ, Christ can cause to be abundant and blessed. Whatever we hold and keep for ourselves is still in the world system.
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
- Mark 10:28-31 28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Whatever we have given up, it will be multiplied back to us 100 x’s. The life of discipleship is a combination of promise and persecution, blessing and suffering. God takes nothing from a Christian without making multiplied restoration in a new and glorious form. Beyond the conflicts of history, is the triumph assured to those who belong to God.
I believe we can stand on the idea that Jesus Christ has promised us abundant life. Where we surrender to Him, his hand touches it and multiplies it. Where we hold onto things, Jesus does not have it, so he can’t multiply it. The Blessing of Abraham...
- Galatians 3:14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
The main blessing is that through faith we might receive the promise of the spirit and receive eternal life. There are some interesting characteristics about Abraham's life that we should also examine in closing. Abraham had an abundant life.
- Genesis 13:2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.
We can expect Jesus to keep his promises and provide us with an abundant life. Get ready! Come into agreement with God so you can receive what God desires to give you.
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