About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Other Side Of Abundance
said that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but He comes to
give abundant life (John 10:10). Some
Christians take this to mean that Jesus promised to make them materially
wealthy, but is that what Jesus really promised?
more than any other New Testament author links the word "life' with
the word "eternal." He
uses the phrase "eternal life" 17 times in his book, whereas the
other 3 gospels combined use the phrase 9 times.
If you study John's gospel you will note that whether he calls it
abundant life, eternal life, or just life, he associates life with the
divine nature of God entering into our mortal existence.
context of Jesus' statement is seen in John 9:40 where He addressed the
Pharisees after healing a man of his blindness.
Jesus had offered these men abundant life earlier but they refused
it (John 5:40) and now they were insisting that His words were demonically
inspired (John 10:21). Knowing
to whom Jesus was speaking helps us understand the meaning of abundant
abundant life Jesus offered could not have been material abundance because
the Jewish leaders to whom He spoke were already wealthy and Jesus was
poor. Remember, foxes have
holes and birds have nests but Jesus had no place to lay His head (Matthew
8:20). To think a monetarily
poor Jesus could give material wealth to rich men makes no sense.
what did abundant life look like for those who received it back then?
Well, right away 120 disciples received the Holy Spirit into their
lives in a very powerful way (Acts 2:1).
I'd call receiving the eternal Holy Spirit of God abundant life. Minutes
later Peter had the power, authority, and the ability to speak the Word of
God resulting in 3,000 people being saved.
I'd call that abundant life.
Acts 3 Peter and John healed a lame man in Jesus' name.
I'd call that abundant life. That's
just the beginning of such abundance that we see in the lives of the
disciples throughout the book of Acts, but, there's another side to
abundance that doesn't get much pulpit press these days.
the very verse that Jesus spoke of abundant life He said that the thief
comes to steal, kill, and destroy. This
implies conflict between those who exercise their abundant life with the
satanically inspired anti-Christ world around them.
This conflict is seen when Peter and John were arrested for healing
the lame man. The thief came
to steal, kill, and destroy the good thing that Peter and John did for the
and John did not cave into this satanic attack.
They exercised their abundance of authoritative audacity by telling
the Jewish leaders that they had no choice but to obey God rather than
them. The demonic struggle did
not end there. Soon after this
episode Peter was imprisoned. I'd
call this the other side of abundance.
On and on it goes throughout the book of Acts.
The abundant life is consistently challenged by the satanically
inspired anti-Christ culture in which the first generation of Christians
about this. Peter was on the
verge of having a prosperous fishing business.
If he had anticipated material abundance from Jesus, he would have
been very disappointed. Jesus
didn't offer Peter monetary prosperity.
He not only asked Peter to leave his career, He called him to a
life of little wealth that ended in crucifixion.
I call that the other side of abundance.
at the Apostle Paul's life. I
think he is the most influential and productive Christian in history.
What did his abundant life look like?
Philippians 3:4 and following tells us that he forsook the good
life of being a leader among the Jews to follow Jesus, which he considered
to be his ultimate gain. Like
Peter, his abundant life led him through numerous hardships (2 Corinthians
11:23 to 27) that ended in him being beheaded.
I'd call that the other side of abundance.
get me wrong. There is nothing
inherently wrong with the abundance of material wealth, but that's not
what Jesus was speaking about in John 10:10.
Let's not put words into His mouth that He never spoke.
The Biblical fact is that abundant life is divine abundance and
with divine abundance comes satanic adversity.
When we exercise our abundance it will create conflict with the
anti-Christ culture in which we live.
Satan does not like such abundance.
If you are eagerly anticipating a future of exciting abundance just
remember that the anti-Christ culture in which we live doesn't appreciate
our version of abundance.