Summary: An examination of Jesus’ words in John 10:10: "I have come to give you life and that more abundantly."
Narnia: Doorway to a Better Life
The classic novel by CS Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tells of four London children who are sent to a professor’s country home in for protection during World War II. There they find a magic wardrobe which leads to a mystical land called Narnia, which is being ruled by an evil witch. To defeat the Witch, they must join forces with Aslan, the lion God of Narnia, and the great battle between good and evil. Eventually, after the defeat of these evil forces, this wardrobe becomes a doorway to a better life.
The Bible declares that Jesus is the door–the door to salvation, to forgiveness, to heaven, to peace, to joy, to an abundant life in the here and now. John 10:7-10: “Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He 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.”
In his first Chronicle, The Magician’s Nephew, Lewis wrote of a magical tree from which the wardrobe was built. There was another tree, not magical, but wonderful in the sense that from it was fashioned a cruel Roman cross. And it is was this cross that opened the way to to a better world and a better life.
How would you describe life? We know it when we see it and yet have trouble describing it. We look at a city and see traffic moving and people hurrying to and fro and we say, “Now there’s a city that is full of life.” Or we look at a young child at play and we notice him running and jumping and just having a great time and we say that he is “full of life!” Or we may visit a church on our vacation and come away saying, “There was no life there.” We can visualize it, but so often we can’t define exactly what it is that we mean by this term, “life.”
Jesus said in verse 10 that He had come to give us life and that more abundantly. One of the best examples of life lived to the maximum was that of Dr. J.C. McPheeters, past president of Asbury Theological Seminary. When I was a student there he was in his mid 80’s. I remember how impressed and inspired I was when observing how he lived life. His faith was contagious, his conduct was stirring. He was water-skiing at age 75. He walked a brisk pace for thirty minutes each day. His smile was winsome. His preached with conviction and enthusiasm. Everything he did was done with excellence. Now, to me, that spells life! Life with a capital “L.” He made it a practice to live until he died.
Have you ever noticed some folks who confuse life with death? That is to say, they act half dead! They’re the type of people who get up in the morning, grap the newspaper, turn immediately to the obituary column, and check to see if their name is there. If they don’t find it, they get dressed.
When Jesus made that statement in John 10:10, He was saying in effect, “I came to give you something more than just mere existence. I came that you might really live.”
Recently, H. Ruskins & Associates, a research firm sent out a questionnaire and one of the questions they asked was this: “State the best thing that has happened to you in the last five years.” Twelve per cent of those who replied said, “Nothing.” Can you imagine that? Well, Jesus came to take your nothing and make it something!
If there is one word that sums up the Gospel it is the word “life.” You might say, “What about faith?” What is faith if it is not touched by that which is alive? Or you might say, “What about love? Didn’t Paul say it was the greatest gift?” Yes, but what good is it if it is not intermingled with life?
The Bible is saturated with this word. It appears in some form some 1548 times. The writers seem almost to be obsessed with it. There are only 1198 chapters in the Bible. That means if this word were distributed evenly throughout, it would appear 1 ½ times for each chapter. Study the teaching of Jesus in the gospels and you will find Him using the word “life” 130 times.
Write the word life on a piece of paper. Then circle the two middle letters. You see, the door of life swings on the hinges of that word “if.” Jesus said that you can have life at its best IF you walk through the door.