He is the Good Shepherd!

The Gospel text from John known as the “Good Shepherd” ends with a statement of purpose as to why Jesus came to this earth. It states that Jesus came to give life, abundant life. In the Greek, the word means “beyond measure” or “more than we would expect.”  So, what do we envision when we hear about the abundant life that Jesus has brought? Does it mean that I will have all the money and possessions that I could want? Does it mean that I will never go hungry or experience homelessness? Does the abundance Jesus brings equate with wealth or power or what? I think the answer is not too complex. If we look at how Jesus lived, how the disciples lived, how people that followed him lived, how scripture points to how we should live, the picture that is painted is not one of earthly abundance. Of course, God cares about and will provide for our earthly needs, but Jesus reminds us that our focus is to be on spiritual things, heavenly things, things to do with our relationship with God rather than earthly concerns. So, the short answer to a question regarding abundant life that Jesus brings primarily pertains to my spiritual well-being.  Am I content with what I have, or am constantly striving for more and better? Do I experience joy on a regular basis even when things are not “going my way”? Is there a sense of peace in my being; in the midst of stress or chaos? Am I always angry or have I discovered a way of being that is beyond what even I expected? By examining your life, and honestly answering some of these questions, you might just realize that you are already living into this abundant life. Jesus wants this kind of abundant life for us. He desires what is best for us. Of course, we can trust in that promise, after all, he is the Good Shepherd!