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Jesus' call offers “life to the fullest”

February 24, 2022

Daily Scripture

John 10:7-11

7 So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

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John’s gospel showed Jesus claiming to embody the promise God made in Ezekiel 34:11-16. God came to earth in the person of Jesus, and as promised reached out to the lost and the strays, bound up our wounds and took special interest in the weak. He didn’t just talk about that—he actually did it (e.g. John 8:2-11). He was the Good Shepherd, and in the end, he did indeed give up his life for the sheep—us.

  • Scholar William Barclay noted, “The Greek phrase used for having it more abundantly means to have a superabundance of a thing. To be a follower of Jesus, to know who he is and what he means, is to have a superabundance of life.” * When has following Jesus led you to times that made you feel deeply, fully alive? How can you continue to live out the joyous “superabundance” of life Jesus offers?
  • Many “thieves” can rob us of the life Jesus offers. Scholar N. T. Wright wrote, “The modern Western world has discovered how unsatisfying materialism really is, and is looking for something more, something beyond. Many thieves have told lies, and have deceived the sheep, stolen them and left them for dead.” What voices have most lifted your vision above the empty promises of materialism? When have you felt that material things just can’t satisfy your deepest needs?

Lord Jesus, neither you nor your New Testament followers ever sounded bored or jaded. Guide me into a fuller life, joining the great adventure of restoring a broken world to God’s purposes. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie serves as the Student Discipleship Program Director with Resurrection Students. She has nearly 20 years of volunteer and professional ministry experience and loves walking alongside and encouraging others in their spiritual journey. Mikiala is blessed to be an adoptive aunt and godmother to many kiddos and lives with her 10-pound Yorkie, KiKi Okoye Tennie.

Growing up in my family, fancy restaurants were not something our family of five frequented, but occasionally on a Sunday afternoon just after church, we would find ourselves at a local buffet. Those were the good ol’ days! The three of us kids were always thrilled because everyone was able to find something they liked, and you could eat as much of it as you wanted! For parents of 3, with two growing boys, this was a win-win situation.

As a child I thought the point of such restaurants was to truly take them up on their tag line and actually eat all that you could—like it was a game to level up on. As I got older, I realized that the actual point wasn’t to just stuff your face…but to have options! To be able to go to one single location and try everything on the menu without the risk of choosing something you don’t like and having it ruin your experience! An abundance of food with a veritable cornucopia of options, all in one location. What a concept! Now, in the wake of a global pandemic, I shudder at the thought of how many hands touched the utensils in those buffets…but I was a child and ignorance was truly bliss.

In John, chapter 10, Jesus uses a metaphor where he likens himself to the gate of an enclosure that keeps the sheep that belong to the pasture safe. He also calls himself a “Good Shepherd” who is willing to sacrifice his life for his sheep. Whenever Christ uses these comparisons, we as people are always the sheep in the scenario. It’s a very descriptive comparison, and it doesn’t always paint us (the sheep) in a flattering light. One of the most upsettingly accurate examples of sheep I’ve seen depicted was in the movie “Far from the Madding Crowd,” where a spooked sheep dog causes an entire flock of sheep to fall off a cliff. One by one they ran straight to their ultimate detriment without even realizing it. Upsetting. Unsettling. Yet, relatable.

Jesus paints a picture of thieves and outlaws whose intention is to steal, kill, and destroy those of us as sheep. As people, we like to think of ourselves as too smart to be accidentally tricked into dangerous situations, but the fact is, we do it all the time. We stray from the pasture, we stray from the shepherd, we get distracted, and sometimes we find ourselves in precarious situations in need of rescue.

Through Jesus, the Good Shepherd, we sheep get access to a pasture that Jesus equates to this idea of an abundant life. The life that Christ wants for each of us, he says, is one that is plentiful and not lacking. It’s the type of life where within the Shepherd’s boundaries there is provision and protection. Much like the pleasant Sunday afternoons my family spent enjoying fellowship and an abundance of provisions, Jesus invites us to a buffet of abundance—a life for us as sheep to live in fellowship with Him and receive the provision of his pasture and protection as a Good Shepherd.

May we all accept the invitation, pull up a seat, and enjoy the abundant life Christ has for us.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* William Barclay, The Gospel of John—Volume 2 Chapters 8–21 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 60.

** Wright, N.T., John for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-10 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 150). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.