I was thinking about John 10:10. Jesus is explaining how His adversary, the devil, operates. Have you ever considered the thief that comes only to steal, kill, and destroy? Well, it makes sense to me that a thief comes to steal, because the very nature of a thief is to take something from someone. There are many different kinds of thieves who have many reasons for stealing from others.
As a child, I lived in a very dysfunctional and impoverished world (see Al’s testimony at http://jerichoventures.com/al-larson/) . My dad was killed in a bar fight when I was nine years old. I grew up in a housing project, a scary and dangerous place. We didn’t have much food between the five kids and my mother. I remember eating mustard sandwiches, no meat on the sandwich, just mustard. One of my first memories was of stealing food. By my early teens, I was breaking into homes. I didn’t want their things; I only wanted their food. I would make a sandwich that actually had meat on it. Wow! My first experience with eating fruit was a banana I stole and it was awesome. I would clean up any mess I had made so that there would be no indication at all that I was even in the home. My reasoning was that I could come back to steal and eat again. So, like the thief from John 10:10, I came only to steal, but there is a big difference between what I did and the thief in John 10:10.
As a former thief, I had an intention, a plan, and a determined purpose to steal, but the thief that comes to kill and destroy makes no sense to me. The sequence of steal, kill, and destroy is odd. The purpose of stealing for the thief in John 10:10 is to kill in order to ultimately destroy. Isn’t killing enough? If you’re killed, you’re dead. If your dead, what does the thief need to destroy? Why does destroy follow kill? Destroy what? Destroy when? Destroy whom?
When the Holy Spirit stimulates me to search, I become determined to dig deeper. One of the first steps I do is examine the Greek words in the verse. The key words in John 10:10 are thief, rob, kill, and destroy.
John 10:10 (NASB) The thief (Greek word kleptes) comes only to steal (Greek word klepto) and kill (Greek word thuo), and destroy (Greek word apollumi). I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
The word “thief” comes from the Greek word kleptes. The word kleptes describes a person with a persistent, neurotic impulse to steal. Think of kleptomania, which is the condition of not being able to resist the urge to steal or rob from someone. This is Satan’s occupation. He is a thief, and his only reason for coming is to steal from you and me. We know that thieves use lies and deception to steal from someone. Now Jesus points out in John chapters 8 and 9 that the Pharisees and false prophets were used as thieves by the devil because they were exchanging religion for spiritual life. In the beginning, religion feels good with its rituals, but soon it becomes a mindless chatter, habitual, meaningless embracing idols of wood and clay.
The abuses I experienced as a child hardened my heart to the point that I could do almost anything without feeling guilty. I had no spiritual conscience and my social conscience was almost completely gone. I had regret when I was caught, but only because I didn’t want to pay the consequences. My father and those around me taught me well. It was becoming my natural way of responding to life.
Jesus said of the devil in John 8:44, ” . . . whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Satan is our enemy and he desires to take anything from us that could empower us to trust God. He wants to rob you of resources to live a life that is abundant. He wants to steal your joy, confidence, peace, and happiness by any means necessary. But more than anything else, he desires to rob you of your potential to live a life that glorifies God and bears fruit. This is his ultimate plan for you. He can only lie, con, deceive, trick, and entice you into his schemes.
So he comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. The ultimate conclusion of the devil’s scheme is to destroy you but he as to kill you first.
The word kill is very different than what we think. What do you think it means? I will be discussing this in my next blog.