In my last blog, I commented on how odd the statement in John 10:10 is! Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy . . . When I was a thief, I thought like a thief. My reasoning was how I could get something for nothing and not get caught. It makes perfect sense that a thief wants to steal something, but what about kill and destroy? I shared my understanding about this particular thief. This thief’s very nature is to steal. So the intrigue and difficulty was to figure out the reason that kill and destroy are parts of his nature as well. Let’s identify how the thief plans to accomplish his end result of destroying and how killing plays a part.
I found it very enlightening to know what the phrase “comes to kill” means. I believe it means something quite different from what we normally think. Take a look with me at “to kill” from a different angle. Now I know it is likely that what I am going to explain is not what you have seen, read, or heard about in regard to the “to kill” part of John 10:10. Be patient and consider what I discovered it means in this verse. Normally it means to take someone’s life or to murder someone.
“To kill” in John 10:10 is the Greek word thuo and is translated “to sacrifice” in 12 of the 14 verses; the other two verses discuss the ritual of sacrifice that is taking place. Now it also has the meaning that the sacrifice will end in death; however it is an offering or sacrifice first and death follows once the sacrifice is accepted. Thuo means to sacrifice or the forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of something considered to have greater value. I believe the issues at stake are spiritual and the enemy, the thief, is willing to sacrifice something of lesser value to him to receive something of greater value – a living soul.
An example of thuo is found in Luke 22:7 NASB. “Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed (thuo).” So to sacrifice is to deliver the lamb for the purpose of being killed. Thuo was used particularly in a religious connotation to denote the sacrifice of animals, and it did not mean to kill in terms of murder. The sacrifice of the lamb was an offering for a purpose – the forgiveness of sin.
I believe Jesus uses the Greek word thuo in John 10:10 because He is telling us that if the thief hasn’t already stolen from you everything that God holds precious for your life, the thief is going to (thuo) provide a sacrifice to you, yes to you, in order to destroy that which is precious. This means that Satan is willing to give us something or is willing to trade something with us, which is to Satan, a sacrifice. He is a thief who sacrifices in order to gain something that has more meaning to him than what he sacrifices.
For example, a “con man” like Bernie Madoff is a thief who lured thousands of people, who trusted him, into his scheme. Madoff was willing to sacrifice his time, money, and reputation in order to steal everything a person had. Bernie Madoff used hundreds of people to carry out his Ponzi scheme in order to get their money.
Satan is willing to sacrifice so that he can end up destroying the things that matter to God. The key point is that Satan hates to have us enjoy anything, even for a moment, but he is willing to exchange the feeling of a short-term pleasure for the result of a hardened heart toward the things of God. A hardened heart makes the person insensitive to spiritual blessings and communion with God. So think about the tools of the thief’s trade: alcohol, drugs, tobacco, pornography, money, fame, power . . . Example: He is willing to make pornography available to God’s children. The reason is that pornography fills the brain with intoxicating chemicals. Satan hates that the person is filled with chemicals that feel good, but he is willing to endure our momentary pleasure because he knows it will eventually allow him to destroy the person.
In my next blog I will discuss what is destroyed!