What does it mean to live abundantly? Is it to be blessed beyond measure in money, jewels, or other physical bounty? Is that what Christ meant when he said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly,” (John 10:10, NKJV)?
In this same chapter, Christ speaks about His role as as Shepherd and the response of the sheep. Sheep were kept in an enclosed courtyard, with a gate or opening at one end. In a sheepfold the shepherd might sleep in the opening at night to protect the flock.
But what about a modern sheepfold, a corral or pen? With the invention of electricity the modern shepherd has the advantage of a yard light. The sheep can see and have a sense of safety, while predators stick to the darkness at the edges.
The light that makes the sheep feel safe, sounds a lot like a description of Christ Himself. “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life,’” John 8:12.
The yard light can provide light, but it only goes so far. If you’re standing at a corner and you’re looking away from it, you see darkness. Likewise, when we are first called to the sheepfold, we can’t see very far either. Our spiritual understanding is limited. But as we come to understand the Sabbath, then tithing, then the Holy Days and plan of salvation, etc., the light gets a little brighter. There is a confidence that comes with studying, praying, obeying, and growing in God’s way, that helps us to live life more abundantly.
But the sheep also need to be able to distinguish the voice of the true shepherd. Abraham had many flocks of sheep and many shepherds. And each flock would become familiar with the voice of its particular shepherd, but ultimately, all the sheep belonged to Abraham. So it is with the flock of the Body of Christ:
“To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice,” John 10:3-4.
Further on in this chapter, Christ explains that thieves and robbers will try to enter the sheepfold. The thief is sneaky and stealthy, but seeking to avoid confrontation as he steals. The robber is more brazen. He comes with a weapon and will take what he wants through violence. Together, these are a reference to Satan, our Adversary.
Against these threats is Christ, the door, the protector and the light that illuminates all things. “‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep,’” John 10:11. We feed on good pasture when we feed on the scriptures, growing in spiritual understanding. Safe and protected in the sheepfold, we can obey the spiritual intent of the law.
Almost 2,000 years ago Christ died and was resurrected, paying the death penalty for each of us. We know that with His sacrifice, the sting of death is gone. Our physical life now is finite, like the edge of the yard light as it fades before the darkness, whereas living forever in eternity will be amazing, overflowing abundance. Through Christ we acquire spiritual understanding of that future. In that day, when we will have eternal life, we will truly have it more abundantly!
by Scott Souder