John was a close friend of Jesus and in his larger book wrote this. It is words of Jesus…… “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
It is clear in my line of work that staff and customers ( of which there are thousands) are looking for a better life, particularly after the last 10 months.
I guess we are all searching for a better life in one form or another.
But what does Jesus mean by “life . . . more abundantly”? A problem arises when discussing this concept due to the apparent subjectivity of the term “abundant.” What is abundant living for one person may be absolutely unsatisfying for another. A hard-charging, A-type businessman – into exotic holidays, sports cars, and rock climbing – would not consider a rocking chair by the fire, a vegetable garden and a weekly round of golf at the local course to be fulfilling, yet they would probably suit a retired senior citizen just fine. One person’s bowl of cherries is another’s bowl of cherry stones!.
The Greek word Jesus uses to describe the kind of life He came to teach His disciples is perissón, meaning “superabundant,” “superfluous,” “overflowing,” “over and above a certain quantity,” “a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than what one would expect or anticipate.” In short, He promises us a life far better than we could ever envision, reminiscent of what the Apostle says “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” .Paul informs us that God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”
However, before we begin to have visions of palatial homes, classic cars, around-the-world trips, and wads of pocket money, we need to step back and consider what God says comprises “life.” Once we determine His view of living, we will have a better grasp of what kind of blessings we can expect as Christ’s disciples.
All we need to do is glance around at our and our brethren’s situations to know that wealth, prestige, position, and power in this world are not high-priority items on God’s list of blessings. In terms of economic, academic, and social strata, most of us come from the lower and middle classes, and we tend to remain in a situation similar to the one in which we were called.
Perhaps the most telling biblical definition of life – particularly eternal life – is uttered by Jesus Himself “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Note that this definition makes no mention of length of days, health, prosperity, family, occupation – in fact, the only thing it does mention is knowing God!
What can we take from this?
» God is not overly concerned with the physical circumstances of our lives. It is enough that He assures us that we need not worry about what we will eat or wear
» Eternal life, the kind of life in which a Christian is truly interested, is not determined by duration but by a relationship with God. This is why, once we are converted and impregnated with the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are said to have eternal life already though not, of course, in its fullness.
» Eternal life – the life God offers us through Jesus Christ and His teaching – is thus about quality, not quantity. Put another way, the abundant life is life as God lives it for once we truly come to know God, we will desire to emulate Him.
» Physical blessings, then, may or may not be by-products of God’s way of life; neither our wealth nor our poverty is a sure indication of our standing with God. Certainly, God desires that we “prosper in all things and be in health” , but the bottom line is “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” , not that we live like royalty.
» Finally, a Christian’s life revolves around, as Peter puts it, “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” . This suggests that the abundant life is a process of learning, practicing, and maturing, as well as failing, recovering, adjusting, enduring, and overcoming because, in our present state, “we see in a mirror, dimly”.
As humans, we are naturally oriented toward material things, but as Christians, our perspective must change. Paul admonishes, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died [in baptism), and your life is hidden with Christ in God” . To us as a Christian, life – and our perception of abundant life – is a whole new ball game!