Jesus said: “The thief comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). “The thief only comes to steal, to slay, and to destroy: I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (Moffatt).
My first remembrance of this verse was not in the church in which I was raised. When I was in my early 20s I heard a radio broadcast “Healing Waters” with Oral Roberts. What an impact it had and continues to have!
The verse is part of the “Good Shepherd” teaching in John 10:1-18. In the earlier verses of this section Jesus proclaimed he was “the door of the sheep,” whereas he who “climbs in another way is a thief and a robber.” The thief is usually considered to be Satan, who wants to “steal, slay and destroy” the enjoyment of all that God has provided you.
Satan may be a defeated foe but he never stops trying to ruin your day. This is why James said to resist the devil and Paul commanded us to give no place to him. In the sixth chapter of Ephesians Paul described our weapons of defense.
On the other hand, Jesus came that we might have life; “not merely to preserve but to impart Life” (JFB). And lest we think that he was talking about our ticket to the sky, he continues by saying “and that they might have it more abundantly” (KJV). The text reads “may keep on having it superabundantly”; “have it in its fullest” (CEV); a “more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (MSG). So it is everyday life plus eternal life.
The statement is made only for those who accept Christ as Lord of their life. Jesus is the “door”; there is no other way. He later said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). This “exclusivity” is a deliberate roadblock, making sure that only those who yield the whole of their lives to God become recipient of the abundant life.
The abundant life, then, is not an added extra; it comes in the package at the moment of salvation and is yours to enjoy for the length of your days. — Peter Wade