Day 23—Life to the Full
Read John 10:1–18
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Most of us have lived through seasons—and for some, maybe that season is now —in which our faith in Jesus didn’t seem to impact our day-to-day life. Perhaps we began to treat our salvation in Jesus much like we might treat an insurance policy—it will serve us well in the future, but doesn’t impact the here and now. When we do this, we not only miss out on all Jesus seeks to offer us right now in our life on this earth, but also, we diminish the gospel. In today’s passage, we see that Jesus came to bring life to the full for those who believe in Him and decide to follow Him. Life to the full. This doesn’t mean more money, cars, and homes, or business success, or even happiness in the way we most often think of happiness. What we see in Jesus’ description to the Pharisees is that life to the full is life in communion with Jesus Himself—life in which He speaks to us, we hear His voice, and He guides and leads us. The only way we are really able to love God and love our neighbor as Jesus instructed is to allow Him to show us how to do so, and to form us into the kinds of people who naturally love.
• When have you felt most alive? What made you feel that way? What kinds of things were you doing, or what relationships were you in, during that time?
• When have you felt most connected to Jesus? Is there overlap with the time you felt most alive? How so? If not, what made the two times different?
• Reflect on your life right now. Where do you feel a gap between what you think Jesus meant by “life to the full” and how you’re experiencing life today? What are you longing for from Jesus? What is your prayer?
• What does today’s passage reveal to you about God?
God, my shepherd, thank You for life and breath today. Thank You that in Jesus, I can have life to the full in the here and now. Forgive me for the ways I have flattened the gospel and lived as if Your salvation is only for later. I long to live in communion with You—loved, led, guided. When I forget or get distracted, pull me back to You and remind me of the fullness You offer. Where I feel gaps between my life as it is and what You offer, help me, give me eyes to see where to go, and a heart that’s open and surrendered. Amen