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The True Shepherd

John 10:10 (ESV) … “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

The true shepherd secures (10:10a). “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life.” The thief is a threat to the sheep. The Lord throws the mantle of his protection around them.

The true shepherd satisfies (10:10b). “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” A classic Old Testament example is found in the contrast with the descendants of Cain and the descendants of Seth (Genesis 4:1–5:32). The descendants of Cain were city builders, adventurers, people who discovered things, invented things. The arts and sciences, the refinements of a developing civilization, mechanics, music, marketing: these were concentrated in Cainite hands. No doubt the Cainites looked askance at the godly people of Seth, who took the lead in none of these things.

Yet the Holy Spirit says of each of the Sethites that “he lived.” In fact, he writes it twice for each of them: “he lived.” The Sethites, who in an increasingly wicked world bore quietly the torch of testimony, lived. The Spirit of God also records of each of the Sethites (with the exception of Enoch) that “he died.” Death for them was not a terminus but a transition, a change from life on earth to life for evermore.

Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly—but only on his terms. On his terms we each have life now, life on a higher plane, life in a land of fadeless day.[1]

[1] Phillips, J. (2009). Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary (Jn 10:10a–b). Kregel Publications; WORDsearch Corp.

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