The Abundant Life

Only one person would dare say the following words:

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 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. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. [John 10:9-16]

What is the abundant life about which Jesus teaches in John 10:10? Is it the vibrant, spiritual life that Christians are now living?As Christians, it is true that we can have abundant lives under the grace of God: “And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 15:29).

Nevertheless, did not people live full, satisfying lives before Jesus came? Consider Abel (Heb. 11:4). While his life would not be quantitative, it certainly was qualitative. Consider Enoch (Heb. 11:5). According to Genesis 5:21, he lived 65 full years, and then after Methuselah, his son, was born, he lived another three hundred years on this earth. Consider Abraham (Heb. 11:8-19). Moses recorded his death in Genesis 25:8: “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people” (Gen. 25:8). In other words, the Bible concludes that he lived a full life! In fact, he is the only one that the Bible lists as “the friend of God” (2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8; James 2:23).

Therefore, what did Jesus mean? Was He simply talking about resurrection? No, I do not believe that He was, because resurrections had already taken place. In First Kings 17, Elijah raised the son of the widow of Zarephath back to life, and in Second Kings 4, Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman back to life.

In fact, people back in those days knew something better was coming in the future. Although all these lived full, abundant lives, they knew there was something better (Heb. 11:32-35). Jesus came to bring a better resurrection!

First, the prophets resurrected those two boys with the same body they had before; Jesus is going to do better than that (1 Cor. 15:42-57). This is the better resurrection that Jesus came to bring. In ways unexplainable, I will look like Him (Psa. 17:15; Phil. 3:20-21). All I do know is that I am looking for that better resurrection!

Second, their resurrection was temporary—they had to die again (Lazarus and others included—John 11:43-44; Matt. 27:51-53). This is not what Jesus came to bring (2 Tim. 1:10; Rom. 6:9; Rev. 1:17-18).

Therefore, Jesus came to bring the abundant life in two ways. First, He will get me out of this fleshly life and give me a life that will never end. Second, He will get me out of sin into a full, satisfying life in Him! Thanks be unto God for this abundant life!

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