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A Tale of Two Shepherds--September 7

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. John 10:10

Did you know that you live in a battle zone? This is not a reference to your weekly football competitions! There are opposing forces vying for our attention and devotion. In John’s gospel Jesus tells a tale of two shepherds. Haven’t heard of it? That’s probably because it was really more of a teaching. And there is only one good shepherd plus one who masquerades as a shepherd but in reality is a thief.

There is a bit of attention given to this thief. He’s deceptive, pretending to be a shepherd, even looking a lot like one. Only he’s not willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for the sheep. He’s not willing to lay down his life. Jesus tells us his only purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. He poses as something good but in reality is totally rotten. He is fighting a battle that has already been lost, but he’s not convinced of this and so he keeps on fighting. And his only aim is to take out as many as he possibly can.

In contrast to this Jesus tells us about the Good Shepherd. He’s the one who gets all the press - for good reason! He knows the sheep and they know him. He leads; they follow. He lays down his life for the sheep. His care and concern are always present. He comes so that the sheep can “have life and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10b) Abundant life! Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, it’s even better than advertised! The Greek word for abundance indicates that it’s something above and beyond, something superior and exceeding limitation, something exquisite and extraordinary. Jesus teaches that His purpose is to bring life that is abundant beyond what we can rationally comprehend. Now that’s something to get excited about!

How about you? Are you experiencing the abundant life? If you’re like me, you probably often feel that your life is not that abundant. The thief is stealing your joy. He’s distracting you with things that aren’t the real deal. You’re letting the hard circumstances of life get you down. Recognize the thief for the liar that he is. Don’t believe him!!

Listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd. Here’s the thing - the Good Shepherd leads - sometimes through rocky terrain, sometimes down the rough path, but always to the perfect destination. Don’t doubt the Shepherd! Beware the thief!!

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