What kind of life has Jesus promised his people? Abundant life. That’s his promise in John 10:10, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
With what does the abundant life abound?
The Scripture assures us that the Christian life abounds with joy, with love, with grace, with power, with peace, with pardon, with salvation, with wisdom, with knowledge, and even material blessings as the Lord pleases. Further, we enjoy the abundant mercy, steadfast love, righteousness, goodness, power, of the Author of Life himself. Indeed, the context of John 10 contrasts the life Jesus gives to the murder and destruction worked by the thief, Satan himself.
Life in Jesus Christ is really full. The Christian life is full of knowing God and knowing his people. It is full of service and meaning. It is full of grace and truth. It is full of untold riches in Christ. The Christian life abounds with attractive and pleasant things.
But, do we recognize that the abundant life Jesus promises is also a life that abounds with suffering in the present age? In John 10:11, Jesus immediately pivoted to say that he would lay down his life for the sheep. He gave life by giving up his life. He reminded his disciples constantly that their way would be his way: the way of the cross.
Paul fills out the idea of abundant life in Christ a bit more in 2 Corinthians 1:5, “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
Let’s be honest with ourselves and others. The Christian life abounds with suffering. That’s what we sign up for when commit ourselves to Jesus, because he has promised it. We should not be surprised when suffering comes because it is part of abundant life in Christ here on earth. The good news? Our suffering is nothing compared to what Jesus has suffered. Our suffering, though it abounds, serves ultimately so that we share in the comfort of Christ even now.
So, as you share abundantly in Christ’s suffering today, rejoice that the promises of your Savior are true. He has promised abundant life, not the easy life. As we find fellowship in his suffering, we find fellowship in his abundant comfort. By faith, we look forward to the day sorrow and sighing flee away, the day when God wipes away every tear from our eyes, when death will be no more, and neither will there be any mourning, crying, or pain.