“… I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10.10
As we spend the next few days looking at this verse, it is worth asking a key question: what is this fullness of life to which Jesus refers?
There are two contexts in which we need to see this passage and they both concern healing. The first is that these words of Jesus took place soon after a blind man received his sight. After the miracle, the man was thrown out of the synagogue and Jesus went to find him to talk to him. Their conversation was overheard by some Pharisees, and it is during this exchange that these words appear. The man who had just been healed from blindness was probably still standing there, and news of what Jesus had just done was no doubt very much in everyone’s mind. So when Jesus spoke about the fullness of life that he came to bring, this image of the healing of a blind man is likely to have been in their minds. Fullness of life is restoring anything that we sense has been robbed from us.
The other context for these words is that of sheep! Jesus had been talking about shepherds, gates and sheep. It is likely that he was referring back to the good and bad shepherds of Ezekiel 34, where we are told that good shepherds healed the sick and bound up the injured. Abundant life is what the good shepherd came to bring to his sheep – it is healing.
As you approach the one who came to bring abundant life, it is tempting to ask him to give you a sense of peace in the midst of life’s storms - and at times he does - but let us not lose sight of the context of this story. Sometimes his abundant life is to directly intervene in the storm, still it, bring healing and touch us beyond our wildest dreams.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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