“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Read that again. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Do you believe that verse?
Better yet, do you understand this verse?
What does it mean? Does this verse promise believers some more in this life? Does it mean that we will prosper? What is Jesus saying in these verses? And is there something about what Jesus is saying that we need to pay attention to?
You see, the problem is, this is one of those verses that when you read just the verse, the mind wants to jump to a place where all we see is the positive without really taking the time to understand the context. So let’s look at the whole of the text.
God’s Epic Word… John 10:7-10 niv
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
The Thief in our Midst...
Do you know there is one out there who is determined that at all costs, he will do whatever it takes to see that you fail. His very existence is to bring you to destruction. Whatever it takes, to whatever length his must go, however he can weasel into your lives, he is bend on your annihilation.
He has no love for you. He has no desire to see you do the very things you were created to do. It does nothing for him when he sees you living as you should. He is a being of hate, anger, pride, and jealousy. And he wants to kill you. Listen again to how Jesus describes this person.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
Let’s Meet the Shepherd...
Jesus is painting for us a brilliant word-picture, a contrast between two men. On the one side you have the one He calls the thief. We meet him in John 10, verse 1, and again here in verse 10. On the other side, he talks about the shepherd. See verse 2, and verse 11.
At night, often, not always, shepherds would herd their sheep into an enclosure. A cave or a fenced in area. These places offered a certain safety for the sheep. The shepherd would then take his place at the opening of the structure or pen, sleeping across the opening, preventing the escape or the entrance of unwanted visitors. The shepherd literally becomes the door, the gate, the only way in and the only way out. The sheep could sleep, knowing and trusting that the shepherd was guarding them.
The problem was, there are those, in this case the thief, who want what the shepherd has. And so they would find ways to sneak into the pens without having to use the gate, the place where the shepherd slept. Once in, the thief would then proceed to do his evil work. He would kill the sheep, steal the sheep, or whatever it was he was there to do. This man cares nothing for the sheep and seeks only to destroy the flock.
Not so with the shepherd. In fact it’s the very opposite for the shepherd. The job of the shepherd was to protect and care for the sheep. To make sure that they are provided for and that they receive what the need so the flock might become a healthy and thriving flock. The sheep know their shepherd. So much so, the know his voice and when they hear his voice, they follow his voice. They go where the shepherd leads. They trust that the shepherd knows what’s best for them. They know that the shepherd loves them.
In verse 7, Jesus say, he is that shepherd. He says, I am the door! I am the one who lays at the opening of the pen. I am the one who lays my life down so that whatever danger might come, must first go through me. I am the one who guards and protects these sheep. I am the one the sheep listen for. I am the one, the only one, by which the sheep may enter the pen. Everyone else, are thieves.
You see, we are the sheep. And Jesus is the shepherd. And what that means is, everything the shepherd does for the sheep, is what Jesus does for us, including, laying his life down for us. No one loves the sheep more, then the shepherd who comes to care for them. And no one will love you more, than Jesus loves you right now.
Then Jesus makes that very provocative and powerful statement about exactly who his is. In verse 9 he says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and our and find pasture.”
Do you know what pasture is? Pasture is that place of amazing grazing. It’s that field full of fresh green grass, beautiful delicious flowers, cool calm streams of water, and the security in knowing that the shepherd is standing by watching over you, and you are safe. That is pasture. That is what Jesus offers you.
But not only is Jesus the one who provide the pasture, HE’s THE ONLY ONE! No one else can give you what Jesus can give you. John 10:10 is both a warning and a promise. It’s a warning that there is one who seeks your demise, the thief who comes only to steal and kill and destroy. But what Jesus has come to give is life, and a life that is full.
What is the #epic Life...
Do you know what an epic is? An epic is a story about a hero or about an exciting event or adventure.
For example: Lord of the Rings…Epic, Star Wars…Epic, Steelers winning 6 Super Bowl Rings…Epic, The Pirates 2013 season…Epic!
But it’s also the idea that something is extending itself beyond the usual or the ordinary.
Jesus has come to be epic!
Not just that, He came that we to might be EPIC! Think about that for a moment, he have the opportunity to be EPIC. Your story…Epic. Your life…Epic. All that you do…EPIC. YOU….EPIC!
I love that the definition in Webster’s includes the word ordinary. That epic is that thing that goes beyond the usual, beyond the ordinary and into the extraordinary. How cool is that, right? We just came out of an extraordinary Christmas. And now, you have the opportunity to live an EPIC life!
Join me for the Epic...
How would you rate your life? Would you say that you are living the epic journey? Are you experiencing an epic adventure? Does your life today, reflect the epic story of the One who came to give you life?
I am glad that 2013 has finally come to and end. Of all 17 years of marriage, if we could just make 2013 disappear from our memories we probably would. Because 2013 was a difficult year.
You see, we let the thief into the pen and he ransacked our lives. He filled our hearts and our minds with lies. He brought pain into our relationships. He attacked our finances. He caused us to doubt our calling. And he made us questions our decisions. And so much of 2013 was spent in a place of worry and fear and we missed out on the opportunity to graze the pasture that the shepherd was trying to lead us to.
You see, when I read John 10:10, what I see is not just a promise that the Shepherd we take care of me, but I see and invitation to embrace the life to which he has called me. Epic isn’t just a statement or a definition of something extraordinary, epic is a declaration of how I want to live! I want to live extraordinary. I want to experience that over the top adventure. I want to know the freedom that comes when you live your life the way God has called you to.
I want the epic: in my worship, in my desire to know God, in my family, in my relationship with my wife, in how I love people, and in how I serve as a pastor.
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