7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Today we begin the First 15 readings associated with our Summer of Joy message series. I am grateful for the chance to give Pastor Tina a break in the month of June and to share these times of reflection with you. As we move into this new season, I want to challenge all of us to claim the joy that is available in Christ.
Today we begin with the words Jesus shares in the Gospel of John describing the intent behind his entire life and ministry.
“I have come,” Jesus says, “that they may have life, have it to the full.”
It’s true that we each struggle in many ways understanding exactly what Jesus means by a “full life” or an “abundant” life as this promise is rendered in other translations of John’s Gospel. We are tempted to understand abundance in something less than Christ really intends. We think about the absence of pain, of hardship, a life where we are comfortable pursuing pleasure, or wealth, or the life that is the promise of all fairy tales where we, “ live happily ever after.”
It is hard for us to even imagine what a “better” life or even a more “significant” life would look like outside of those false understandings.
But, today I want you to pause for just a moment to consider this: Jesus wants you to, “have life, and have it to the full.” That within itself is a remarkable promise.
John 1:17 says that “no one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son… has made him known.” If Jesus wants to you to have life to the full, what does that reveal to you about God and what God wants for your life?
Do you believe that God wants to give you life to the full? Is that the understanding and image of God that is shaping you and your relationship with God? Are you trusting Christ with this promise? Do you believe that he longs to give you this kind of life?
Today I want to encourage you to spend a few minutes doing a prayer exercise based on the promises of John 10:10. Find a quiet place, close your eyes for a few moments and to picture Jesus sitting right next to you. However you want to imagine that scene is up to you, but within that mental picture, I want you to imagine Christ offering a gift to you.
Imagine his joy. Hear him say, “I want to give this to you.” If you need help focusing on that image for a minute, slowly repeat this phrase as your prayer, “Jesus I want to receive the full life you long to give to me.”
Before you begin this new day, spend a few moments with Jesus.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.