The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
As Jesus is doin’ His thing, something unusual happens: a Pharisee named Simon invites Jesus to eat with him, and He gladly obliges! While He’s eating at Simon’s house, a sinful woman (probably a former prostitute) comes and starts serving Jesus in utter humility, washing His feet with her tears, drying them with her hair, kissing them, and anointing them with expensive oil. Sensing Simon’s disapproval in his thoughts, Jesus tells him a parable about two people who owed someone money. The first person owed 500 denarii (denarii=a day’s wages), while the other owed 50, and the person they owed freely forgave both of them. Who will be more grateful? The person who owed more money, of course! Jesus uses this story to make a simple point: someone who knows how much they’ve been forgiven will love and appreciate Jesus and the abundant life He offers much more than someone who thinks they don’t have much to be forgiven or saved from.
Jesus said this time and time again, the whole reason He came and was sent by the Father into the world was to make eternal life freely available to all who have faith in Him; to give life abundantly. What exactly is abundant/eternal life? Jesus lays it out pretty clearly in John 17:3, where He says eternal life is having an intimate, personal fellowship with God through Him. In other words, abundant/eternal life isn’t about life that goes on forever, it’s about life that’s filled with the presence of God! That’s why Jesus could say that He came to bring it here and now, but also in the future; through Jesus’ death and resurrection we have fellowship with the Father right now, but we won’t truly be in His presence until we’re with Him in eternity. And we can only experience this relationship with God because He gave His only Son to bridge the gap between us by paying the price for our sins.
Maybe, just maybe, the abundant life that comes through Jesus can only be truly appreciated and sought after by those who realize how desperately they need it, and how little they deserve it. If that’s true, then the poor in spirit (people who humbly know their need for God and His mercy) truly are blessed, because they’re the ones that experience the joy and gratitude of Jesus’ eternal life! Only they experience life to the full. Paul was someone who knew how undeserving he was of the love and forgiveness of Christ, and he was passionate about giving up everything in life to know Him and experience His life.
- As citizens of the Kingdom who have Jesus Christ as our Foundation, our love and gratitude for His free gift of abundant life depends on how poor in spirit we are. When we humble ourselves to see just how great our separation from God was, and how undeserving we are of His forgiveness, we love and value Jesus and His Gospel infinitely more, and seek His Kingdom more diligently.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:3)