The Thief That Comes to Steal, Kill, and Destroy (It’s Not Who You Think It Is)

Many Christians speak about Satan as the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. While he is successful at all of those actions, Jesus was speaking about a different thief in that context, and it is one that you need to be mindful of today.

As Jesus’ ministry continued to expand throughout the region, the Pharisees liked Him less and less. They were supposed to lead God’s people in devotion to Him but were leading them astray.

While Jesus was fulfilling prophecies of the Messiah, they were fulfilling a different set of prophecies regarding unhelpful shepherds who were dangerously scattering God’s flock (Jeremiah 23:1). Yahweh had promised to bring them a shepherd who would care for them (Ezekiel 34:23), and Jesus proved to be just that.

Amid these angry Pharisees, Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep” (John 10:7). During Jesus’ days, shepherds didn’t always have the best fencing system to corral their flock. Shepherds would have to get creative if there was no structure like a cave to lead them into and keep them secure. Some shepherds would use natural yet incomplete barriers to get the job done partially.

If a shepherd had some structures to use as partial barricades, they would have to use their bodies as the final wall. Without structures, doors, and hinges, a shepherd might have to become the fourth wall to the sheep’s defense. That meant that if anything would get to the sheep, it would have to go through the shepherd.

Jesus serves as the gate for the sheep. He protects against harmful influences and intruders from taking advantage of His flock. Jesus lets sheep come into the fold for provision and protection. He keeps out the thieves and robbers (John 10:8). He protects us from those whose only agenda within a flock is to hurt the ones within it.

“A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”

John 10:10

When many Christians quote this verse, they use it to describe the devil’s specific work in hindering them. Jesus gives life; Satan takes it. While the concept is true, the context is inaccurate. Jesus was addressing spiritual leaders leading people astray from within the fold.

Don’t miss this warning! There are religiously involved, spiritually sounding people who can guide you wrong. Jesus wants to give us an abundant life – not take it away.