John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
This is a verse that I have loved for a long time. To me, it gives hope and sets things straight. Right in this one verse we have the set-up of how things are, how they always been, and how they have always been.
I adopted this verse for Winter Grace Senior Ministries, Inc. I see it as a great summary of good vs evil, God vs the evil one, satan, the world, however you want to name the other. God gives hope, abundance, fullness. The other takes by stealing, killing, and destroying.
We have a choice. Which do we want to spend our time focusing on? Where do we want to invest our energy, our life?
Anytime someone spouts out a Bible verse that suits their needs, it is always best practice to ask what the context is. Our pastor in California told us nearly every week that context is everything. Twenty-five years later I can still hear him saying it. Where do we find this verse about the thief and then Jesus? John 10 is a passage about a shepherd and his flock. What does a shepherd do? A shepherd guides, leads, and protects his flock. The flock listens to the voice of their shepherd. It is a relationship built on trust. The shepherd cares for and protects. He makes sure they have their nourishment by guiding them. For sheep, that nourishment is physical. For Jesus and us, that nourishment is spiritual. It is for our entire well-being.
This is just what Jesus is for us. He guides us in the way we should live. He nourishes us spiritually. He protects us from the one who would steal from us, depriving us of a truly fulfilling life. When we follow the one who is a thief we lose. We lose our joy, happiness, well-being, and a relationship with God. When we follow our Great Shepherd, Jesus, we are filled with peace and hope. We manifest the fruit of the Spirit.
Does it mean life will always be easy? Nope. We are seeing that right now in this moment of COVID-19. Believers, along with non-believers are suffering. We are not promised that we will not suffer as Christians. We are promised we will not be alone. We have someone who has and will continue to take our sin away and carry us through our troubles. We can release our troubles and trust the One who holds the entire world in His hands. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Our Great Shepherd is leading us in times of trouble. He leads us beside still waters and restores our soul! (Psalm 23) Let us allow Jesus into our hearts, our minds, our full being so we may have life and have it to the full!