10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. As our Good Shepherd, Jesus here promises that when we follow him, we will have a satisfying life or some translations say “Abundant life”
The Greek word “perissos” means:
• exceeding some number or measure or rank or need
over and above, more than is necessary, superadded
• exceeding abundantly, supremely
• something further, more, much more than all
superior, extraordinary, surpassing, uncommon
God is not interested in taking all the fun out of our lives. He is not interested in making us follow a bunch of rules that put everything good out of bounds! He wants us to experience life abundantly!
But it comes from following Him and His voice. When we follow our voice or the voices of imposters, or thieves we get hurt.
Examples: Christ says sex is for marriage. We think – I don’t want to follow that! So we follow our own. And we end up with sexual addiction, teen pregnancy, abortion, disease, emotional scars, and a cycle of poverty.
On the other hand if I follow God’s word I enjoy sexual relations without fear of disease, abandonment, and unwanted pregnancies. I enjoy to the full the benefits of what God has created without all the side effects.
Christ says we are to forgive those who hurt us. We think – I don’t want to follow that! I’d rather harbor bitterness and seek revenge. And we end up with ulcers, hatred, divorce, pain, and emotional scars, physical violence.
On the other hand if I follow God’s word I discover that when I forgive others I really set myself free. I discover that I am more at peace. That others lose their power over my emotions. And I set into motion a cycle of grace into their lives.
Christ says we are to spend time with Him and with His body the church: through, serving, giving, worship, and fellowship in a small group. We think – I don’t want to do that. I want to watch TV and get on the Internet. And we end up with hectic lives full of more information than we know what to do with. We end up with images in our minds that are unholy, which set into motion a whole new cycle of sinfulness in our lives.
Jesus Saves Me
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock.13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
In the book Chicken Soup for the Soul, Eric Butterworth tells the story of a college professor who had his sociology class go into the Baltimore slums to get case histories of 200 young boys. The students were asked to write an evaluation of each boy’s future. In every case the students wrote, “He hasn’t got a chance.”
Twenty-five years later another sociology professor came across this earlier study. He had his students do follow up on the same 200 boys who were now men. With the exception of 20 boys who had moved away or died, the students learned that 176 of the remaining 180 had achieved more than ordinary success as lawyers, doctors, and businessmen. The professor was astounded and decided to pursue the matter further. Fortunately, all the men were in the area and he was able to ask each one, “How do you account for your success?” In each case the reply came with feeling, “There was a teacher.”
The teacher was still alive, so he sought her out and asked the old but still alert lady what magic formula she had used to pull these boys out of the slums into successful achievement.
The teacher’s eyes sparkled and her lips broke into a gentle smile. “It’s really very simple,” she said. “I loved those boys.”
Their success was based on the love of a teacher.
Our success as followers of Jesus is based on the love of a shepherd who was willing to not only teach us, give us an example, but also to lay down his life for us. Without him, WE DON”T HAVE A CHANCE.
He loved us enough that our sinfulness became his burden.
He loved us enough that his perfect rightness became ours.
He loved us enough to suffer on the cross for us. To save us from eternal death, to prepare us to meet His Father. He will keep us safe in the sheepfold.
Jesus has a Relationship with Me
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
He “Knows” His Sheep “ginosko” – to know experientially and was used as a Jewish expression for physical intimacy. This is not book knowledge, but personal knowledge. Jesus knows you and wants you to know Him. He knows everything about you – good and bad – and He loves you anyway. You matter to Him.
Just as a shepherd knows the individual bleats and bahs of his sheep, the Good Shepherd knows every detail about us. It is a mutual relationship – He knows the sheep and the sheep know the shepherd. They know His voice, His touch, His compassion, His love, and His discipline – and we experience His leading every day. Do you know this relationship?
Have you let the Good Shepherd give you his protection, his care and leadership? Today could be your day. Today could be the moment in time when you step across the line and connect with God’s flock. Today could be the day when you invite the Good Shepherd to invade every fiber of your being. But you are never going to experience rest or the Shepherd’s protection, guidance and peace until you make the wonderful choice to make Jesus your Savior.