“I have come to give you everything in abundance,
more than you expect – life in its fullness until you overflow!”
(John 10:10b as translated in the PASSION version)
What do y’all think? Are these just pretty words, hackneyed phrases, off-the-cuff, thoughtless remarks? Or is Jesus’ contrasting of himself to the thief who “has only one thing in mind – to steal, slaughter, and destroy,” a fully intentional statement of his goodness compared to the thief’s badness?
The four parts of Jesus’ declaration concerning himself merit consideration.
- ‘everything in abundance’ – Love, Joy, Peace, Grace, etc.?
- ‘more than you expect’- is this more, even, than ‘all’, like 150%?
- ‘life in its fullness’ – what is that like, day to day?
- ‘until you overflow’ – am I overflowing? Are you?
For three years, Jesus traveled and taught and healed and liberated Jews all over Israel. He showed the active, dynamic presence of the Kingdom of God which he came to announce. His was no mere mouthing of words, powerless oratory, the hollow promises of a charlatan. People everywhere were beyond astonished at all he did right in front of their eyes. His disciples were stunned to silence watching him gather people to himself. He constantly instilled hope in the most hopeless of his people. He showed love and compassion to those who had never been seen, the invisible ones in society. He tenderly spoke to those who were the most frail, most afraid, most lonely. He loudly denounced those whose attitude to that very portion of society was haughty, dismissive. He reserved the harshest language for religious rulers, those whose duty it was to shepherd the people, but who chose, instead, to cruelly demand impossible, ‘legal’ sacrifice while they themselves lived opulently, enjoying their extremely elevated station, their social privilege.
It became very clear that Jesus was introducing a new age, an age dominated not by Law but by Grace. The great sermon in Matthew 5-7 was a description of life as it could be right there, right then. He spoke at length to his disciples about the arrival of his Spirit who would empower them to do even greater things than they’d seen him do. It all seemed surreal to them that they’d be capable of such miraculous things, but the rest of the New Testament bears out the truth of all Jesus said. Two thousand years later our lives continue to bear testimony to the presence and power of this Kingdom.
The super-abundant life Jesus spoke of is available to all regardless of the country they live in, their social standing, their bank balance, their family of origin, their past, however checkered. It overflows with all the qualities known and eternally enjoyed by the Holy Trinity, our Three-In-One God: the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. This abundant life manifests as inner peace, quiet confidence, assurance of being loved, forgiven, accepted in the beloved, and as joy in searching for a family with whom to share this journey to the Father’s heart. To me, that sounds like: everything in abundance, more than we expect, life in its fullness until we overflow. PD