In John 10:10, Jesus famously said, "The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly." We don't need to look very far to see the effects of this "thief" everywhere: self-hatred, fear, despair, conflict, poverty, failure, sin, abuse, violence, depression... The list goes on, doesn't it?
When Adam believed the lie of the serpent in the beginning of Genesis, he thought he was going to become "like God", but actually the opposite was true. They found themselves far away from God...and all of creation with them. The chaos of the curse had arrived. The serpent (thief, adversary, trickster, devil) exists to subvert life as God intended it. The contrast between the death and destruction which motivates the thief and the provision of life which motivates Jesus could not be clearer!
But what's incredible about the story of the "fall" is from the moment the consequence of their decision became clear to Adam and Eve, God was already pointing them toward a remedy.
One of Eve's offspring would crush the head of the serpent. We call him Jesus. And Jesus came to make things right -- to reverse the curse.
In John chapter 10, Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd, the one who leads his sheep to life even when thieves and robbers are trying to do the sheep harm. He reminds us the curse is still going on, but he has come to lead us through it: the cure for the curse. Here's what he reminds us:
1] Jesus knows us by name (John 10:3). We do not struggle anonymously or forgotten! He knows us personally, and he knows what we need. Tim Keller, Christian author of "The Meaning of Marriage" wrote this about being known by God: "To be loved and not known is comforting but superficial. To be known but not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God." We may struggle with the curse, but we are not forgotten.
2] We should listen to his voice (John 10:3). Just like Adam, we have a choice who's voice we're going to listen to. There's no shortage of voices in the marketplace of ideas, but God's people know and trust the voice of Jesus to lead us through the darkness. All voices are not the same. Jesus reinforced that idea in John 10.
3] Jesus saves us from our enemies (John 10:9). Like a good shepherd, he both protects and provides. I see his protection in a couple different ways: 1) what he has given us, no power can take away (John 10:29); and 2) We have Christian community. Hanging with the herd, provides protection from the predator. Not only does the good shepherd protect, but he provides. He "satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things" (Psalm 107:9). Why do sheep come running when the farmer calls out to them? He feeds them! He satisfies us with the bread of life!
I have another weird confession for you: zombie shows fascinate me. I can't stand the violence and gore of it all, but I find the metaphor intriguing. The world is consuming itself, chasing after flesh and never satisfied. And we're all infected. But there's always that small group clinging to hope for humanity saying "this is what it means to be alive!"
In Christ, we are not crushed by the curse! 2 Corinthians 4:8 says, "We may be hard-pressed on every side, but we are not crushed; we may be perplexed, but we are not in despair; we may be persecuted, but we are not abandoned; we may be struck down, but we are not destroyed!"
I am beginning a new preaching series now through Easter called "The Curse and the Cure". I will attempt to speak the Voice of the Cure into curse that attempts to consume us. We will talk about a lot of the tougher issues of life but focusing on the hope we have in Jesus.
Tune in. Better yet, stop by.