Life Abundant (John 10.10)
Right at the heart of the passage for last week’s blog comes Jesus’ vital promise that a main purpose of Jesus’ coming is that his people might have life and have it abundantly (10.10). As we have already noted again and again, John’s Gospel frequently asserts that Jesus is in himself the resurrection and the life. He is not only the way and the truth, but also the life (14.6). Already in the Prologue John states that ‘In him was life and that life was for all humanity’ (1.4). Now John goes one step further and declares that we should possess and enjoy that life of Jesus ‘more abundantly’.
Due to our various cultural backgrounds and our own personal failure, we all fail to experience and live out the fullness of this perfect ‘abundant life’. For example, traditional British culture pushes many of us into a fundamental negativity. The weather is always too wet or too hot! Refectory food is always disgusting! The inadequacies of the church and its leadership take precedence in our thought over their good qualities. When asked how we are, the traditional answer has been at best “o.k., thanks”, if we are doing well. Happily, more modern English has moved and now we reply, “Good, thanks”. ‘Good’ is definitely more positive than just “o.k.” In the Bible ‘good’ describes the very nature of God himself – “God is good”. When God looked therefore at his creation, he pronounced that it was ‘good’. So, although people may not be aware of its significance, when we say that we are ‘good’, we are actually declaring that our lives are reflecting the abundant resurrection life of God himself!
ὁ κλέπτης οὐκ ἔρχεται εἰ μὴ ἵνα κλέψῃ καὶ θύσῃ καὶ ἀπολέσῃ· ἐγὼ ἦλθον ἵνα ζωὴν ἔχωσιν καὶ περισσὸν ἔχωσιν.
When the Father raised the dead body of Jesus to new resurrection life on earth, Jesus came into all the joys and glories of what we as human beings were originally created for. God created us in his own image. Amazingly, John’s Gospel declares that we have (present tense) this life of Christ, but of course we very much need to grow in it and we shall only attain it fully in eternity. Through faith and trust in Jesus, therefore, we are joined with Jesus and are now called to share the wonder of his perfect life. ‘Life abundant’ is very much an under-statement! How glorious to start on that life which knows no sin or blemishes! And we delight in that growing intimacy of loving relationship with Jesus and his Father. Such union with God results also in a loving fellowship between us as Christians, for we are now sisters and brothers together in God’s beautiful family. So Jesus brings us into the palace of his sheepfold and he goes before us as our guide and companion as we follow him out into the world to graze and to engage in mission. All this ‘life abundant’ is made available to us because of Jesus’ cross and resurrection. Wonderful! Hallelujah!
“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the quiet waters”(Psalm 23.1/2).
Jesus announces, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full ” (John 10.10).