There's this amazing piece of scripture in the book of John; a piece of scripture that if you really let it sink down deep into the very core of who you are will transform you completely.
John chapter 10 verse 10 says: "A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came (that's Jesus) so they can have real and eternal life, MORE and BETTER life than they ever dreamed of." The Message
It's a wonderful, freedom bringing, life giving passage of scripture.
Here's Jesus, he's just healed a man of his blindness and caused all sorts of controversy in his wake, especially with the local Pharisees, the sticklers for religious law. The Pharisees, as per usual are angry and throughly confused by Jesus actions. They just cannot fathom him!
Having just overheard Jesus speak to the man he healed, the Pharisees are really quite cross with Jesus, claiming that he's just inferred that they in fact are the blind ones, not truly seeing the things of God. Jesus' response is wonderfully kind, eager to communicate the love and freedom the true gate keeper has on offer. I love the way The Message translation states how Jesus responds - "Let me set this before you as plainly as I can..." He wants them to understand. Chapter 10 carries on in verse 6 - "Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. 'I'll be explicit then....'" Jesus goes on to explain to the Pharisees and those listening in - "I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for - will freely go in and out and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life life than they ever dreamed of."
Jesus paints this beautiful picture of complete freedom; sheep being able to enjoy luscious pastures, freedom to come and go embracing the wide expanse of fields. Limitless opportunity and the promise of pasture, the source of food and nourishment. Jesus states that this is the type of life he came to bring, not a gate kept shut and only open on special occasions or as merit for good behaviour. He is the gate, the gate wide open for people to go through him into life's fullness.
He share this with the Pharisees, offering them the opportunity to enter his kingdom and find freedom. Freedom from law, freedom from striving, freedom from perfection; freedom in every area of life.
Jesus has the same offer for us today. He's come to offer us life and life in all it's fullness. We may get fooled into thinking that we're not good enough, we don't deserve it, we have to earn God's favour; but these are all lies, the enemy stealing, killing and destroying the hope Jesus places within us. I urge you to remind yourself of Jesus' simple word - he came to bring you life, a life beyond your wildest dreams. Don't settle for less freedom and open pasture - he's got the biggest fields available, they're limitless! So go on, live life to the FULL.