A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. (John 10:10)
It seems we have had everything bad happen in 2020, including the Coronavirus, locust swarms, earthquakes, cyclones, floods, mass animal die-offs, global Christian persecution, riots, looting, and political disasters. Things are scary!
What are we to do? How can we have an abundant life in 2020, this “year of fear?”
This word “abundant” in the Greek is perisson, meaning “exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, superfluous, a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than what one would expect or anticipate.” In short, Jesus promises us a life far better than we could ever imagine, a concept reminiscent of 1 Corinthians 2:9:
But as it is written:
What eye did not see and ear did not hear,
and what never entered the human mind—
God prepared this for those who love Him.
The apostle Paul tells us that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, and He does it by His power, a power that is at work within us if we belong to Him.
How do we obtain this abundant life?
Before we begin to have visions of lavish homes, expensive cars, worldwide cruises, and more money than we know what to do with, we need to pause and think about what Jesus teaches regarding this abundant life.
The Bible tells us that wealth, prestige, position, and power in this world are not God’s priorities for us:
Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
In terms of economic, academic, and social status, most Christians do not come from the privileged classes. Clearly, then, abundant life does not consist of an abundance of material things. If that were the case, Jesus would have been the wealthiest of men. But just the opposite is true:
Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20).
So, how did Jesus illustrate abundant life?
After this, Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). And a huge crowd was following Him because they saw the signs that He was performing by healing the sick. So Jesus went up a mountain and sat down there with His disciples.
Now the Passover, a Jewish festival, was near. Therefore, when Jesus looked up and noticed a huge crowd coming toward Him, He asked Philip, “Where will we buy bread so these people can eat?” He asked this to test him, for He Himself knew what He was going to do.
Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to have a little.”
One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish—but what are they for so many?”
Then Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”
There was plenty of grass in that place, so they sat down. The men numbered about 5,000. Then Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks He distributed them to those who were seated—so also with the fish, as much as they wanted.
When they were full, He told His disciples, “Collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.” So they collected them and filled 12 baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves that were left over by those who had eaten. (John 6:1-13)
But the crowds completely misunderstood the purpose of His miracle of multiplication:
Jesus answered, “I assure you: You are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him.”
“What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked.
Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the One He has sent.”
“What sign then are You going to do so we may see and believe You?” they asked. “What are You going to perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the real bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always!”
“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe. Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:26-40)
Abundant life is eternal life, a life that begins the moment we come to Christ and receive Him as Savior, and goes on throughout all eternity.
The biblical definition of life — specifically eternal life — is provided by Jesus Himself:
This is eternal life:
that they may know You, the only true God,
and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ. (John 17:3)
Later, Jesus would institute the Lord’s Supper to remind them that He alone is the Source of abundant life:
When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you. (Luke 22:14-20)
In this year of fear, we naturally desire material things, but as Christians our perspective on life must be revolutionized.
Just as we become new creations when we come to Christ, so must our understanding of “abundance” be transformed.
True abundant life consists of an abundance of love, joy, peace, and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit, not an abundance of “stuff.” It consists of life that is eternal, and, therefore, our interest is in the eternal, not the temporal. Paul admonishes us:
Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. (Colossians 3:2-3).
If you are not sure that you are saved, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying:
“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”
In 2020 my walk with Christ has never been better !
I can praise and thank the Lord for this year/season in my life. I’ve been unemployed half of this year, poorer than I have ever been yet closer to Christ than I have ever been. So in all things I can thank Him and praise Him.
Christophany, November 29, 2020
Well, there will be persecutions and tribulations to try our faith for sure.
But Jesus is our sure foundation which we can stand boldy and have confidence in.
He even gave us protection.. 🙂
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Psa 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
Ziggy, November 29, 2020
I have had so much peace this year it can only be from God. In many ways it has been a good year. The bad part though is missing my family.
Pearl, November 29, 2020