I keep seeing this verse on my FB feed being used out of context, and it’s driving me nuts! I don’t really want to just “add to the noise.” And this isn’t really a personal message that may speak to people…  So, I kept putting it off…

Then the Lord puts on my heart, “How can they hear without someone to preach? How can they preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:14-15)”

So here it goes.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).”

It would be amazing if we could just hang onto the last part- Jesus came so we could have life to the fullest! I truly pray believers can experience the FULLNESS OF GOD!

However, that’s not the part of this verse people like to share. So, let’s keep digging.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”

Jesus is making a direct comparison between the thief and Himself. BUT who is the thief? If you just read this verse alone, it’s unclear. I can see why people would think it’s Satan… but it’s not.

A single verse was never meant to be all you read. It can actually lead to some serious misconceptions and bad theology. We must read the entire passage to understand.

2 verses ahead, Jesus said, “All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them (John 10:8).”

So, ALL who come before me… are thieves and robbers… notice it’s plural.

And in 10:1, we are actually told who the thief is… “anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.”

The thief comes in another way than the Gate (Jesus).

This statement about the thief is sandwiched between two I am statements of Jesus. In verse 9 Jesus said, “I am the Gate.” The Gate allows the sheep in and also protects them from the outsiders. And in verse 11 Jesus said He is the Good Shepherd- who cares for the sheep and lays down his life for them. Not only is Jesus to the Good Shepherd—He is the Gate! The way in!

His audience didn’t seem to understand that they were spiritually blind, though Jesus is clearly telling them who He is. He is the Good Shepherd! He is the Gate! He is the Way!

Who is his audience? Look at 10:1  in the ESV. “Very truly I tell you PHARISEES, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.”

That’s right- the Pharisees- the false teachers. Jesus is making a direct comparison between Himself and the false teachers… anyone who preaches to you salvation in a different way than Jesus. Because Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! All other ways are spiritual thieves.

“The Greek word for “thief” used in John 10:10 means “one who steals” (see Matthew 6:19–20); figuratively, the same word is used to refer to false teachers. https://www.gotquestions.org/thief-steal-kill-destroy.html

Ya’ll, false teacher are the thief… and when we used this verse out of context, we could be teaching incorrectly. Yes, Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy, but in this verse the thief is not Satan.

 So, let’s stop helping Satan twist the Word of God to deceive. It’s his oldest trick in the book. Just like he did with Eve, “Did God really say… (Gensis 3:1)”

Know what God says! Know who Jesus is! Follow Him!

Jesus is the only Way!