One of my most popular posts, Don’t Hide Your Crazy, is grounded in my experience of John 10:10. I know this verse’s content but I don’t yet have it memorized so that it rolls off easily, word for word. Since this verse is the foundation for an upcoming retreat, I decided it was high time to get it down pat so I’ve chosen it for my seventh memory team verse. I’ve been reflecting and meditating on this verse quite a bit lately. What exactly does Jesus mean by having life more abundantly?
Our culture today is absolutely obsessed with the concept of more. We want more stuff, more time, more money, more attention, more likes, followers, and friends. More, more, more.
Our schedules are jam-packed, and our closets and garages are so crammed many rent storage units just to hold all the more we have amassed. Whereas the typical soft drink used to be 12 ounces, now at many places, a small is 24 ounces. And the larger portions have led to more inches on our waistlines.
I don’t think this is what Jesus meant by having life abundantly. More for the sake of more is not abundance, it is just excess.
A Different Kind of Abundance
The key to understanding this statement is understanding what Jesus came to give us more and more of: life. Apart from Christ we have life in the sense of existence; in the Greek the word is bios. We have physical life. But that isn’t the life Jesus speaks of in John 10:10. So what kind of life does Jesus offer us?
The kind of life Jesus offers to give us, and give us in abundance, is an entirely different kind of life: zoe. Zoe is the life of God that exists in eternity and is the complete, perfect, fullness of beauty, truth, love, and all of the other aspects of God.
Bios is merely an echo or reflection of zoe. Bios is sort of like an image in a mirror, while zoe is the person standing before the mirror. We are created in the image of God and prior to the Fall, God provided access to zoe through partaking of the Tree of Life (zoe). But once sin entered the picture, we no longer had access to zoe. Not until Jesus came and provided the way.
Jesus came that we might be able to have God’s life in us and have it in ever increasing measure.
When we believe that Jesus is the begotten Son of God and that his sacrificial death bridged the chasm between us and God, God’s Spirit comes and dwells within us. We have zoe. And as we yield more and more to his Spirit, we experience more and more zoe.
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis likened the transformation from bios life to zoe life to that of a statue of a man becoming a living, breathing man.
Paul summed it up like this (using the verb form of the noun zoe):
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.—Galatians 2:20, ESV
Your turn: How is your Scripture memory work coming along? What verse are you working on and why did you choose that particular verse? You can leave a comment by clicking here.