“I have come that they may have life,and have it to the full.”
Jesus made this statement to a group of breathing, walking, talking people. By all natural definition of the word, His listeners had “life”. What then, is this life Jesus speaks of? Is it possible that we have mistakenly synonymized “being alive” with “having life”? Upon studying the context, I believe so.
Jesus leads into this with a couple of examples involving sheep. He talks about the sheep knowing, following and trusting the shepherd. This is contrasted against the sheep’s reaction to other voices seeking to lead them astray. Those other voices are referenced as “thieves and robbers”. He states that “the thief comes to steal and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Obviously, Jesus was providing a warning against the Pharisees, who were one of the greatest dangers to early believers; however, this is more than a history lesson. I believe every part of scripture is brimming with truth and relevance for today’s culture. There are still a great number of thieves and robbers who would seek to steal away this life Jesus offers. The thieves are no longer dressed in robes and sashes; they come in more subtle forms. They are enticing. They seek to convince us that the sheep pin is holding us back from the joys of this world when, in fact, the pin is the greatest protection of joy, peace, protection and freedom we could possibly have. The robbers dress in various forms of entertainment, thrill, relaxation and even love.
Sometimes it is very difficult to discern the truth. I will seek to trust that the shepherd’s motives and guidelines are there for the protection of life, true life. I want to live life well. I choose joy. I choose peace. I choose protection. I choose freedom. I choose to be more than alive; I choose life.