WARNING: Long Rambling Post Ahead… I’m working through a process right now – trying to clarify my thoughts, & what Jesus is saying, has said, & is pointing me towards.
The irony of knowing that there was truth in Jesus’ declaration about life in all of its fullness while not seeing/feeling/experiencing/living in that fullness led to a preoccupation… the kind that I have been told is one of the things that The Bean loves about me. It’s a preoccupation that stays on something, actively & passively, until there’s a point of resolution. She loves it, w/one exception… when the preoccupation turns gets pointed in her direction in a point of relational conflict. But I digress. (Reminds me of when Monk talks about his quirky obsessive/compulsive ‘gift’ as a blessing. And a curse. The “dark side” if you will, of a strength…)
I spent a lot of time in the Gospel of John; not just in 10:10, but all around it. I was dwelling on; meditating on; maybe even obsessing on it. Call it “focused study.” I would start with the KJV, w/the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance with Hebrew, Aramaic, & Greek word definitions, & review each word in the passage, as every word & phrase is full of meaning & connotations. Examining context, nuances. Then I’d break out all the Bible translations in English that I had available: NASB, NRSV, NKJV, NIT, NLT, & The Message… to see how each of the translators (or paraphrasers) had chosen to word the passage.
One of the things I do as a part of studying & researching is to go through a big chunk of material (see above paragraph,) then enter “processing mode.” This is where I do something that is seemingly unrelated to what I had just been doing, but actually is a vital part of the studying/researching/writing – usually this involves cleaning or organizing something. It’s like the cleaning helps to sort through thoughts & ideas, & aids the germination of what God is speaking to me about. (I also did this while writing papers in college…) If I’m really onto something, I vacuum. The lines in the carpet are so reassuring…
Thoughts from 10:10: the thief is one who comes to take what belongs to others & to use it for their own gain or to squander it so the one that has had it, can’t use it. His purpose is 3-fold:
On the other side of that, Jesus states His purpose – the word purpose really, really is important here – it is a main reason that He came.
In the pondering of the word purpose, a light came on. The enemy, the thief is actively working to steal, kill, & destroy – to sabotage humanity. Jesus, who came to undo the works of the devil & more specifically, to give, that humanity would have an abundance & overflow of life… And what He gives cannot be earned. Or deserved.
Bingo. That was me.
Jesus died for my sins. I can receive that. He was resurrected from the dead, so I have eternal life. I’m there too. But grace for each day… hmm. that’s where I was stuck. That’s where I was toiling to be ‘worthy’ of the life that I could never earn.
A flash of remembrance: Rich Mullins had had a dramatic influence on my life through his music, writings, & zest for life. He spoke about something that had changed his life, in how he viewed himself, something that had clarified all that he had ‘known’ about God as revealed in Jesus. It was The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. So I bought it. And made it through 3 pages before I broke down, weeping.
Jesus loves me. And has grace for me. Even after I became a Christian, His grace is still enough for me.
to be continued…at some point…