Scripture: Jesus says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Chapter 10 is actually a continuation of chapter 9 – Jesus meets a man blind from birth. He spat on the ground, made mud, spread it over the man’s eyes, and told him to go wash. When the man came back, he was able to see
- Spiritual and physical, Jesus’ healings always involve people’s present lives. Jesus ‘ promise of salvation and abundant life starts today.
- Jesus also healed the blind man on the Sabbath illustrating he was willing to bend the rules and take on controversy for the sake of compassion.
- When confronted, he responded with the bold proclamation, “the Father and I are one,” a further statement on his identity, power, and purpose.
- According to Wesley, Jesus offers abundant life through the “Scripture Way of Salvation.” Prior to our recognition, God’s love pursues us. After accepting that love, we are filled with a deep sense of assurance and forgiveness. Going forward, the Spirit continues to form and recover our image and likeness in Christ.
- Any abundant life or love we experience on Earth is evidence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit working in our lives – there is no abundant life apart from Jesus.
- Abundant life is fullness of joy – strength for spirit, soul, and body.
- Opposite of abundant life is what Wesley called the wilderness state, or the waste and howling desert – the loss of love, peace, joy, power, and agency. In the waste and howling desert we only find emptiness and dissatisfaction.
- There are many thieves that come to steal abundant life and leave us in the waste and howling desert.
- Believing Jesus came so that we might have abundant life is sometimes easier said than done.
- Flourishing childhood (and adulthood) includes feeling loved and known, caring relationships, a sense of safety and control, and imagination and play.
- Unfortunately we’ve heard many stories of children being robbed of these opportunities through abuse, murder, trafficking, and similar circumstances. In these moments, where is Jesus Christ and the abundant life he claims to offer?
- Jesus Christ works through human beings – if we don’t want to live in a society in which these circumstances exist, we need to do something about it. By the loving grace of God, we are able to create a more perfect world despite the many imperfections of humanity.
- As disciples, we are called by Jesus to fight back the thieves and howling desert – both for ourselves and others.
- Does Jesus’ offer of abundant love make sense? Wesley always instructed his lay preachers to “offer Christ.” While a simple instruction, we know that the meaning of offering Christ grows deeper, wider, and broader through time.
What does it mean to accept Jesus’ offer of abundant life? What does it mean to offer Christ’s abundant life to others? What thieves of the howling desert can we actively fight against? In many ways, these are very personal questions – only we know the situations and people we are presented with everyday. However, this is the very meaning of discipleship and Wesley’s “Scripture Way of Salvation.” So how will we live out and extend the offer of good, abundant life?