Today’s scripture reads:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
We are told all throughout scripture the contrast in death and life. Sin brings death, God gives live, if we are not re-born into a new life we will die a second death, Christ defeated death, Christ brings new life, and the list goes on and on. Today’s scripture talks about a “Thief” and Christ. This thief reaps only destruction but Christ gives life and life more abundantly.
The thief is one who invades and takes what is not his. His goal is stealth and deception, he seeks only his own benefit and does not care for those who may be hurt by his actions. The thief is not concerned about the goodness and wellbeing of the people. The thief is the last person who would ever give of himself. More than stealing, this thief comes to kill and destroy as well. This thief represents the false teachers that existed in Christ’s day (and also those we still see today). These were the religious and political leaders who used deception to gain power over the people, who took much and gave little, who convinced the world that they were righteous and kind but deep down they were self-seeking and only leading people astray. They would be the ones leading people down the wide path of destruction mentioned later, while Christ was the narrow path that few followed.
In contrast to this thief, we have Christ who gives life. Following Christ leads to more abundant spiritual life as well as eternal life upon judgement day. While the rest of men, including those who follow the thief, are already dead in their sins Christ gives those that follow him the gift of life. Christ is our advocate if we follow him, so that on judgement day we will be judged by Christ who took our sins rather than standing on our own shaky feet. We are given life abundantly, that is to say more than we could ever need.
As we look forward to Christmas we celebrate the day that God decided to come and join us to show us the way. In a world full of thieves, God stepped down to walk among us in Christ Jesus to show us the true narrow path so that we would not be lead astray. God, aware of our inability to ever reach him, prepared a way in Jesus Christ. Let us who have life more abundantly celebrate and commemorate the day when such a gift was given to us.