But for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy - Those who enter into the priesthood that they may enjoy the revenues of the Church, are the basest and vilest of thieves and murderers. Their ungodly conduct is a snare to the simple, and the occasion of much scandal to the cause of Christ. Their doctrine is deadly; they are not commissioned by Christ, and therefore they cannot profit the people. Their character is well pointed out by the Prophet Ezekiel, Ezekiel 34:2, etc. Wo be to the shepherds of Israel, that do feed themselves! Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool; ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock, etc, How can worldly-minded, hireling, fox-hunting, and card-playing priests read these words of the Lord, without trembling to the center of their souls! Wo to those parents who bring up their children merely for Church honors and emoluments! Suppose a person have all the Church's revenues, if he have God's wo, how miserable is his portion! Let none apply this censure to any one class of preachers, exclusively.
That they might have life - My doctrine tends to life, because it is the true doctrine - that of the false and bad shepherds tends to death, because it neither comes from nor can lead to that God who is the fountain of life.
Might have it more abundantly - That they might have an abundance, meaning either of life, or of all necessary good things; greater felicity than ever was enjoyed under any period of the Mosaic dispensation; and it is certain that Christians have enjoyed greater blessings and privileges than were ever possessed by the Jews, even in the promised land. If περισσον be considered the accusative fem. Attic, agreeing with ζωην, (see Parkhurst), then it signifies more abundant life; that is, eternal life; or spiritual blessings much greater than had ever yet been communicated to man, preparing for a glorious immortality. Jesus is come that men may have abundance; abundance of grace, peace, love, life, and salvation. Blessed be Jesus.
The thief cometh not - The thief has no other design in coming but to plunder. So false teachers have no other end in view but to enrich or aggrandize themselves.
I am come that they might have life - See the notes at John 5:24.
Might have it more abundantly - Literally, that they may have abundance, or that which abounds. The word denotes that which is not absolutely essential to life, but which is superadded to make life happy. They shall not merely have life - simple, bare existence - but they shall have all those superadded things which are needful to make that life eminently blessed and happy. It would be vast mercy to keep men merely from annihilation or hell; but Jesus will give them eternal joy, peace, the society of the blessed, and all those exalted means of felicity which are prepared for them in the world of glory.
To the believer, death is but a small matter. Christ speaks of it as if it were of little moment. “If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death,” “he shall never taste of death.” To the Christian, death is but a sleep, a moment of silence and darkness. The life is hid with Christ in God, and “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” John 8:51, 52; Colossians 3:4. DA 787.1
The voice that cried from the cross, “It is finished,” was heard among the dead. It pierced the walls of sepulchers, and summoned the sleepers to arise. Thus will it be when the voice of Christ shall be heard from heaven. That voice will penetrate the graves and unbar the tombs, and the dead in Christ shall arise. At the Saviour's resurrection a few graves were opened, but at His second coming all the precious dead shall hear His voice, and shall come forth to glorious, immortal life. The same power that raised Christ from the dead will raise His church, and glorify it with Him, above all principalities, above all powers, above every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the world to come. DA 787.2Read in context »
Christ could not help being bright and shining. His very work was to shine. I am come, He said, “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” In Me is no darkness at all.... Light means revelation, and the light is to shine amid moral darkness. Christ is everything to those who receive Him. He is their Comforter, their safety, their healthfulness. Apart from Christ there is no light at all. There need not be a cloud between the soul and Jesus.... His great heart of love is longing to flood the soul with the bright beams of His righteousness (Letter 153a, 1897). LHU 221.7Read in context »