“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
This is a term often said to someone who seems to be so hung up on nonessentials or non-truths that he or she is unable to live any kind of meaningful life. Obviously, the person is alive, but the extent of his or her living is questionable.
The same can be said of Jesus’ words to the crowd surrounding Him in this chapter. Obviously, these people were alive, yet Jesus told them He had come for the express purpose of giving them life. One could argue that He was speaking of eternal life, which is indeed the quality (and quantity) of the life God gives His children; but Jesus goes on to say that the life of which He is speaking is abundant life. In the New Testament, God uses the word “abundant” to describe honor, mercy, grace, affection, labor, service, and rejoicing—all things we experience in this life. I would argue that the life Jesus is speaking of here is the life we live here on earth…in Him, as well as our life in Heaven.
We hear people talk about living a “fulfilled life.” They especially like to insinuate that the woman who settles for only a husband and children, without benefit of a career outside the home, is less than fulfilled. But it could just as easily be argued that a woman who settles for a career without, or instead of, a husband and children is less than fulfilled. The truth is, if God has given you the privilege of loving and nurturing a husband and children, or if He has given you the privilege of serving Him without “distraction” (1 Cor. 7), while laboring outside the home—either way, your life will be fulfilled and abundant in direct proportion to the reality of your relationship to God through Jesus Christ. You can be as unfulfilled and bored sitting behind a desk or selling a product as you can be preparing food and changing diapers 24/7.
The verse says Jesus is offering repentant sinners life, abundant life that starts here and continues into eternity. Life in Heaven may be free from such evils as sin, heartache and sickness, but it won’t be any more abundant than what He has promised me here. It’s only Heaven because God is there; and if He lives and reigns in my heart and life, can Heaven be far away?
Jesus is saying to this spiritually lifeless world, “Get a life! Get eternal, abundant life.” We hear people ask, “How’s life treatin’ you?” To which I would answer, “It all depends on which life you’re talking about.” My life in general may be pretty rocky at times; but my life in Jesus Christ is sure and abundant. It started nearly sixty years ago, and it’s still going strong.
Have I got a life? You bet I do!