The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
There is a dichotomy present between what the thief offers and takes and what Jesus offers and gives.
Every life reading this has been touched by a thief. Something has been taken, or we have been silenced, or we have been broken. For some, the thief came silently. But for many more of us, they were invited in. They do not tell us at first they are a thief. Neither do they reveal their true motives until it is already too late. However, what they have a habit of doing is promising to give us something we could not get on our own. They come in with the false promise to give but leave having taken.
Jesus reverses this method. He says plainly, if you let me into your life I will take everything (Matthew 10:39/Luke 14:26). I will consume your thoughts, your time, your resources, your relationships, your affections, your past and your future. He takes everything in order that he might give us something better. That they may have life…to the full. While a thief promises to give and then takes, Jesus takes so that he can give. He takes the pain and replaces it with joy, the emptiness for peace, the lack for abundance, and the despair for hope.
Jesus takes everything from us in order to make room for everything he wants to give us. In the pain of that emptiness don’t turn back to the thief, wait on Him. He’s doing something marvelous, but like any building project – he must tear down what is there first before he can put in the new.
Furthermore, this is not a one-time decision. Every day, every hour we must decide to let Jesus take and give as he sees fit. There will always be thieves knocking on our doors offering a false hope or a quick fix.
Jesus doesn’t offer a hasty remedy. His suffering was not for our comfort; it was for our fullness. And that is a prize worthy of pain.