Daily Devotional 5-7-19

Abundant Life through Christ 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10
When I was growing up in the faith, I heard many sermons from this text where the thief was identified as Satan.  In fact, on most occasions, I have referred to the thief in the text as Satan.  While Satan has an assignment of stealing, killing and destroying what God had created and blessed, the “thief” in the text refers to a different category of persons.
In John 10, Jesus gives a discourse on the Good Shepherd as he addressed the Pharisees because they were having an attitude towards the healing of a man born blind, Ch.9.  The Pharisees were the religious leaders who had the responsibility of shepherding God’s people.  However, they turned out to be bad religious leaders.  The religious institution had become corrupted, with the Sadducees and Pharisees, and other religious leaders taking advantage of God’s people. Instead of caring for the sheep, they were living at the expense of the sheep.  Thus, the thieves in the text refer to the religious leaders who did not have the interest of the sheep in mind.   The Shepherd would protect, feed and care for the sheep, but the thieves would feed on the sheep.  They would use the sheep to promote their personal ambitions.  They will manipulate the sheep to fulfill their own interests.
What does the thief look like for us in our contemporary society?  The thieves in this text would be those leaders set up by God to bring order and to create flourishing conditions for the human lives but have turned out to be self-serving leaders who lead God’s people astray.  These leaders can lie and cheat their way through at the expense of the people.  Jesus may be referring to religious leaders as thieves, but I also believe these thieves are everywhere in society. They could be found in the world of government, education, health, business, etc.  These thieves come with seeming good intention, but end up stealing, killing, and destroying lives.  They come like wolves in sheep clothing.  They know how to speak to win the hearts of people, but their main motives are worse off.
In contrast, Jesus, confidently claims he came that the sheep may have life and the abundance of it.  Jesus is the good Shepherd who could truly care for the sheep by feeding, protecting, and providing their needs.  Jesus is the only One we could trust to lead us to a place of rest and peace, satisfying the deep longings of our souls.  While we cannot really trust the political leadership and even some religious institutions, we can trust in Jesus, the Source of abundant life. We can find peace, blessings, hope, satisfaction, and purpose in Him.
PRAYER: Christ our good Shepherd, lead and direct my life to a place of peace and abundance.