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  • Writer's pictureRon Rudd

The Thief Versus the Good Shepherd (John 10:10)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. —John 10:10 

This verse is sandwiched right in the middle of the passage in John where Jesus is calling himself The Good Shepherd. This context, and who is speaking, is important for us to understand.

Specifically in John 10:10, we have the contrast of a thief and a good shepherd. The thief in this passage has a goal: that is to steal something and to cause harm and destruction to his victim. The thief is like the wolf in verse 12 who comes to scatter the sheep and separate or divide them from the safety of the pen. The wolf also comes to snatch the sheep away or to kill for his own pleasure. Unlike the good shepherd who protects, leads, watches over, and will even lay down His life for His sheep.

Jesus wants us to clearly see the contrast here. The thief, our enemy—Satan, comes with a purpose and plan for our lives and that is to steal, kill and destroy us. The Good Shepherd, our Saviour—Jesus, also has a purpose and a plan for our lives. He wants to give us life, abundant life.

This thief wants to steal your very life. If he could, he would separate you from the pen guarded by the Good Shepherd. If we are in Christ, the thief cannot do this. So instead he will steal what he can to make our life the opposite of abundant—scarce and unsatisfying. He will steal our joy, our peace, our trust in the Lord. He’ll steal our focus so we take our eyes off Jesus and put them on the circumstances we find ourselves in so that we become discouraged and defeated.

In contrast, the Good Shepherd has come to give us life. And not just life, but abundant life. Life that is present in great quantity, more than adequate, abounding, richly supplied, more than enough. A life that is full.

Jesus is the only one that can provide a life that is abundant and full. Verse 15 shows us just how good this Good Shepherd is. This Good Shepherd has sacrificed Himself for us—His sheep. And we, we can do nothing to earn that. We can accept and enjoy abundant and full lives because He laid down His for us. And by this we can and will bless our Good Shepherd and glorify God forever.


For Reflection

May I suggest that you read John 10:1-18.

  1. What is something that the thief has stolen from you? Ask the Good Shepherd to restore that to you.

  2. The Good Shepherd knows His sheep.  Are you one of His sheep? Why not join His sheepfold today.

  3. List some of the abundant things you enjoy in your life. Thank Jesus for His abundant blessings toward you, His sheep!

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