The thief cometh not, but for 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
I realize that John 10:10 is a well-known verse to millions of believers around the world, but today I want to give you fresh insight into this powerful scripture. Rather than simply read it as you’ve read it a thousand times before, let’s dig a little deeper into the Greek words behind this verse to see what we can mine from the treasures of the Greek New Testament!
Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for 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). According to these words of Jesus, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy everything good in your life. He wants to destroy your job, your joy, your happiness, your health, your finances, your marriage, and your kids. The thief just wants to ruin anything he can get his hands on!
The word “thief” comes from the Greek word klepto, which means to steal. It gives a picture of a bandit, pickpocket, or thief who is so artful in the way he steals that his exploits of thievery are nearly undetectable. This reminds me of the pickpockets who work the streets in certain areas of Moscow. They can slip their hands into a person’s pockets, take what they want, and be long gone before that person discovers they were even there!
Jesus uses this word to let us know the devil is very cunning in the way he steals from people. He knows that if he does it outright, his actions will be recognized; therefore, he steals from people in such a deceptive way that he often accomplishes his evil goal before they even know he has stolen from them!
Often the devil injects thoughts into a person’s mind to steal his peace, his joy, and even his beliefs. The word klepto describes a thief’s uncontrollable urge to get his hands into someone’s pockets so he can take that which doesn’t rightfully belong to him. I find it very interesting that this is where we get the word kleptomaniac, which describes a person with a persistent, neurotic impulse to steal. Just as a kleptomaniac can’t help but steal, the devil can’t stop stealing because it is his impulse and his very nature to steal. This is precisely the nature and behavior of the thief Jesus told us about!
Not only does the thief come to steal, but Jesus said that he also comes “to kill.” At first glance, it appears that this means to kill, as to take someone’s life. But the Greek word is thuo, which means to sacrifice. It originally referred to the sacrificial giving of animals on the altar. It could mean to sacrifice; to surrender; or to give up something that is precious and dear. It was particularly used in a religious connotation to denote the sacrifice of animals, and it had nothing to do with killing in terms of murder.
Because Jesus uses this word to describe the work of the thief in John 10:10, He is telling us that if the thief hasn’t already walked away with everything we hold precious and dear, he will then try to convince us that we need to sacrifice or give up everything he hasn’t already taken from us.
The thief cannot bear the fact that you possess any kind of blessing. Therefore, if he is unsuccessful at stealing the good things from your life, he will try to cunningly convince you to give up everything you possess and love — simply because he doesn’t want you to have it. He may even try to create stressful situations that cause you to conclude that your only solution is to sacrifice the things you dearly love.
Then Jesus went on to say that the thief also comes “to destroy.” The word “destroy” is from the Greek word apollumi, meaning to destroy. It carries the idea of something that is ruined, wasted, trashed, devastated, and destroyed. By using this word, we discover that if the thief is unsuccessful in his attempts to steal from you or convince you to sacrifice what you hold dear, he will then try to ruin it!
An expanded interpretive translation of John 10:10 could read this way:
“The thief wants to get his hands into every good thing in your life. In fact, this pickpocket is looking for any opportunity to wiggle his way so deeply into your personal affairs that he can walk off with everything you hold precious and dear. And that’s not all — when he’s finished stealing all your goods and possessions, he’ll take his plan to rob you blind to the next level. He’ll create conditions and situations so horrible that you’ll see no way to solve the problem except to sacrifice everything that remains from his previous attacks. The goal of this thief is to totally waste and devastate your life. If nothing stops him, he’ll leave you insolvent, flat broke, and cleaned out in every area of your life. You’ll end up feeling as if you are finished and out of business! Make no mistake — the enemy’s ultimate aim is to obliterate you….”
But Jesus went on to say, “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The words “they might have” are from the Greek tense that means to have and to continually possess. The “life” Jesus offers us is zoe, which suggests a life that is filled with vitality. The word “abundantly” is from the Greek word periossos, and it means to be above, beyond what is regular, extraordinary, or even exceeding. This is not just abundance; it is super-abundance.
What a comparison! The devil comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but Jesus comes to give life as we have never known it!
An expanded interpretive translation of this second part of John 10:10 could be as follows:
“…But I came that they might have, keep, and constantly retain a vitality, gusto, vigor, and zest for living that springs up from deep down inside. I came that they might embrace this unrivaled, unequaled, matchless, incomparable, richly loaded and overflowing life to the ultimate maximum!”
In your walk with the Lord, you will experience times when the devil pushes buttons in your emotions to keep you all bound up and depressed. Other times the enemy will disguise his voice to make you think God is talking to you in order to get you off track or cause you to cast off your deepest dreams as pure imagination. But whenever these attacks occur, just tell the devil to shut up and stop dropping those dimwitted thoughts of nonsense into your head. Tell him to hit the road! Let him know you’re not going to bite that bait any longer, so he might as well go fishing somewhere else. You’re not a sucker anymore! You know how he works now, and you’ve determined that he isn’t going to steal, kill, or destroy one more good thing in your life!
There’s no doubt about it!
- The devil wants you to be defeated.
- The devil wants you to struggle through your entire life.
- The devil wants you to be sick, depressed, down in the dumps, glum, and miserable.
- The devil wants you to feel like you will never hit the target with your life.
- But Jesus wants to give you a life that is unrivaled, unequaled, matchless, incomparable, richly loaded, and overflowing with life to the ultimate maximum!
So now that you know the devil wants to make your life a less-than-gratifying, unhappy, uneventful life — a life that no one will even notice is gone once it’s over — what are you going to do about it? I urge you to put on the brakes and stop Satan from wreaking havoc in your life. Jesus will give you the power to resist every attack and to overcome every strategy the devil ever tries to use against you!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I am so thankful that You came to give me real life! You didn’t save me so I could live the rest of my life in defeat and poverty. You didn’t redeem me so I could be sick, depressed, and sad. You came to give me life, and I am determined to enter into the reality of that life You promised me. Forgive me for ever allowing the devil to talk me out of the blessings You have designed for my life and my family. I’m taking my eyes off the low road, and I’m headed for the high road of blessing You have planned for me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that Jesus Christ gives me a life that is filled with extraordinary abundance! He came that I might have, keep, and constantly retain a vitality, gusto, vigor, and zest for living that springs up from deep down inside me. He gives me a life that is not rattled or easily shaken by any outward event. I therefore embrace this unrivaled, unequaled, matchless, incomparable, richly loaded, and overflowing life that Jesus came to give me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. If an unbeliever looked at your life, would he say that you had an “abundant life” or that you lived a low-level, meager existence? What do you think “abundance” would mean to an unbeliever?
2. How do you gauge an “abundant life”? Do you measure abundance in terms of spirituality, finances, health, relationships, or employment? How many of these areas do you think Jesus was referring to when He spoke of living life “more abundantly”?
3. In what areas are you not experiencing abundant life? It would be very helpful for you to make a list of these areas so you can pray about them and begin to believe for God’s abundance to flow into these parts of your life.