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JOHN 10:9-10 (ESV)
“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Several years ago, our family was invited to attend a special banquet in an exclusive country club. Ordinarily, we didn’t have access to the grounds since we were not members. The only reason we were able to have access on this special day was because we knew someone who could let us in. Without that relationship, the country club would have been inaccessible to us. We could peer in but go no further. But on that night, we swam, explored the old building and enjoyed delicious food prepared by the house chef.
Throughout Jesus’ public ministry, He often talked about an exclusive ‘kingdom’ which was like a hidden treasure or valuable pearl (Mt 13:44-46). It wasn’t a physical kingdom, but rather a spiritual reality ushered in by the presence of Jesus (Lk. 17:21). One day, this kingdom will become fully realized by all and materially present upon earth (2 P. 3:13, Rev. 21:1). It will be much more grandiose and glorious than any country club that this world has ever seen.
However, in the in-between time, the Kingdom of God is best understood as Jesus described it in John 10 - as abundant life. It is a life which is overflowing with inner peace, joyful contentment and freedom with God which helps us endure the various the trials of this broken world.
For example, it was ‘kingdom life’ which empowered Peter and others to rejoice in their suffering after being beaten and warned not to use Jesus’ name (Acts 5:40-41). It was ‘kingdom life’ which filled Paul and Silas with a melody to sing while being unjustly imprisoned. It is was ‘kingdom life’ which inspired Priscilla and Aquila to offer their home and business for the benefit of others and the study of God’s word (Acts 18:3, 1 Cor. 16:19) even at great risk to their lives and reputation.
The Book of Acts and the Epistles are full of examples of what abundant life looks like for ordinary people who are eagerly awaiting the final consummation of the Kingdom of God.
As Jesus taught about kingdom life, He clearly emphasized the exclusive nature of it. Although available to anyone, it is not currently accessible to everyone in their current status. Some are ‘outside’ and some are ‘inside.’
Life, peace and freedom can only be experienced by entering through Jesus - who is the door. Other people who suggest that there are better ways, additions paths or no ‘door’ at all are either thieves, liars or spiritually deceived (read John 10). Abundant life only comes through faith in Jesus.
His exclusive entrance allows the poor-in-spirit and the meek have access to a life which they would not have access to otherwise. All that it takes is a relationship with Jesus.
Do you know Him? If not, He is available through His word and Spirit by faith and repentance. His kingdom has room for more.
If you do know Him, prayerfully considering extending invitations to those who are yet ‘outside’ and don’t know about Jesus’ abundant life.
Lord, lead us into Your life each day as we seek to share it with others for your glory. Through Jesus, Amen!