And Jesus said, “I Am” … life, to the full
Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. …whoever enters through me will be saved. …I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
The Pharisees bombarded the “light of the world” with questions, in total denial of His “I am” claims. When Jesus stated, “before Abraham was born, I am!”…they picked up stones to stone him (John 8:58-59). They knew He was claiming to be God; but it was not yet His time so He slipped away, continuing on to heal a man born blind. The man believed and worshipped Jesus; the Pharisees remained in their sin (9:1-41).
It seems strange for Jesus to switch from blindness to sheep in John 10, but not so fast. The Pharisees are trying to rob those who now see the light of life of the joy of their saving faith, are they not? They would happily climb over the wall of the sheep pen and abscond with those who believe Jesus is the Christ (9:35), if they could. Jesus responds with a resounding impossible! He knows His sheep by name; they know His voice and won’t follow any old stranger (10:1-5).
When they just don’t get it, He pulls out the word pictures we know so well: “I am the gate…I am the good shepherd….the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Surely they’ll figure it out. After all, God was referred to as the shepherd of Israel as far back as Genesis 48:15. Sacrifice of life was always the plan.
Truth is, there is only one way into God’s sheepfold. You must enter through Jesus. That’s why He came—to save those who would believe He is the “I am”. He alone was good enough (valuable enough or virtuous enough) to lay down His life for the sheep. His life for my life and your life.
And not just life—life to the full, perissos, which Strong’s translates as “superabundant (in quantity) and superior (in quality); exceedingly abundantly above.” Life to the full is spiritually beyond description, loaded with blessings, beginning as soon as one knows Jesus. As Jesus says: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).