Shortly before his death, Mark Twain wrote: “A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle…they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other; age creeps upon them; infirmities follow…those they love are taken from them, and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. [The release] comes at last—the only unpoisoned gift earth ever had for them—and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence … a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever.”
What a sad way to view life—no joy, no thrills, just aching grief. Certainly there is sorrow, misery, and more than enough portions of pain. But isn’t there joy? Doesn’t Jesus speak of an abundant life?
One day, Jesus was walking with His friends when they saw a man sitting by the side of the road. Everyone knew him; he had been blind since birth and always sat in the same place. After a few minutes of conversation, the encounter turned to an interesting climax: Jesus rubbed spit in the blind man’s eye “so the power of God could be seen in him.” After washing it off, to everyone’s amazement, he could see.
The blind man returns to home; but rather than welcoming him, they doubt his identity. When he finally convinces them he is who he says he is, they drag him off to the religious guys to figure it all out. Rather than rejoicing in his healing, they question whether he was ever really blind at all.
When the day is done, this guy is thrown out of the synagogue. This place, where he should have been able to celebrate his healing and investigate the God who healed him, was now off limits. Luckily, Jesus wasn’t. Jesus tracked him down and offered a story about sheep and gates and shepherds with a powerful summarizing statement: “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”
And there it is.
The difference between Jesus and everyone else. The difference between what Jesus offers and what religious people offer. This is the beauty of Jesus. He stands in front of each of us with life…life in all its fullness. In fact, the Greek word Jesus uses is perissos which literally translated is “superfluously.” So what Jesus was saying is, “My purpose is to give so much life it is rendered unnecessary by superabundance.” In other words, you will never need more life because you have more than you will ever need.
What if Jesus really meant it?
Can we really believe that in a world of car payments, final exams and broken relationships?
I want to believe it. Rather than die a bitter old man such as Mark Twain described, I want to live life superfluously! The fullness is ours for the asking.
Dig Deeper: John 9-10
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