Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
The preferred way of understanding John 10:10 is that Christ has come to obtain for us life abundant which begins now. It entails a full and long life here on earth filled with great health and wealth. It promises that eternal life begins here and now, and the wonderful promises that the Old Testament is talking about is available immediately to the believer. If we would claim what He has attained for us and put our faith to it, we can have it all!
But we know that life doesn’t quite work that way. The reality is that some of us suffer from cancer and others will remain poor. Health and wealth doesn’t hold up to what reality presents us with. The truth is that God’s kingdom is not measured by health or wealth . In fact, Paul calls this life “our light and momentary troubles” or affliction in the ESV (2 Corinthians 4:16). Not quite the picture of health and wealth that we’re being presented with these days.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Jesus isn’t just the gate that leads us to abundant life, He IS the abundant life. His version of abundant life doesn’t look like great health and wealth. If that were true, Peter, Paul, Timothy and all the other New Testament saints would have to be classed as sinners! Jesus’ abundant life looks like life in Him. Abundant life looks like life in Christ, with and without health and wealth. It looks like everything else fading in importance compared to glorifying Christ (Matthew 13:45-46). Wealth and health is of no value when we compare it to Christ! Yet, everything in Christ seems to have more meaning and value because we see it’s role in glorifying Him (Colossians 1:15-17).
“All who have come before me” is also be translated as “all who have come instead of me”. Anything that replaces Christ is a thief and robber. Anything including the abundance or lack of health and wealth, false prophets, false messiahs and false teachings. Anything that has come to replace Christ as the prime goal, the pinnacle of life is a thief and robber. Don’t be fooled, the devil is not after our health and wealth, he is after your soul. He might inflict us with abundance of health and wealth or deprive us of health and wealth, but his aim is to remove Christ as the pinnacle in our lives.
Abundant life is not to have a good life, it is to have life in Christ and that is all.