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10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.


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10. The thief cometh not. By this saying, Christ — if we may use the expression — pulls our ear, that the ministers of Satan may not come upon us by surprise, when we are in a drowsy and careless state; for our excessive indifference exposes us, on every side, to false doctrines. For whence arises credulity so great, that they who ought to have remained fixed in Christ, fly about in a multitude of errors, but because they do not sufficiently dread or guard against so many false teachers? And not only so, but our insatiable curiosity is so delighted with the new and strange inventions of men, that, of our own accord, we rush with mad career to meet thieves and wolves. Not without reason, therefore, does Christ testify that false teachers, whatever may be the mildness and plausibility of their demeanour, always carry about a deadly poison, that we may be more careful to drive them away from us. A similar warning is given by Paul,

See that no man rob you through vain philosophy,
(Colossians 2:8.)

I am come. This is a different comparison; for Christ, having hitherto called himself the door, and declared that they who bring sheep to this door are true shepherds, now assumes the character of a shepherd, and indeed affirms that he is the only shepherd Indeed, there is no other to whom this honor and title strictly belongs; for, as to all the faithful shepherds of the Church, it is he who raises them up, endows them with the necessary qualifications, governs them by his Spirit, and works by them; and therefore they do not prevent him from being the only Governor of his Church, or from holding the distinction of being the only Shepherd For, though he employs their ministry, still he does not cease to fulfill and discharge the office of a shepherd by his own power; and they are masters and teachers in such a manner as not to interfere with his authority as a Master. In short, when the term shepherd is applied to men, it is used, as we say, in a subordinate sense; and Christ shares the honor with his ministers in such a manner, that he still continues to be the only shepherd both of themselves and of the whole flock.

That they may have life. When he says that he is come, that the sheep may have life, he means that they only who do not submit to his staff and crook (Psalm 23:4) are exposed to the ravages of wolves and thieves; and — to give them greater confidence — he declares that life is continually increased and strengthened in those who do not revolt from him. And, indeed, the greater progress that any man makes in faith, the more nearly does he approach to fullness of life, because the Spirit, who is life, grows in him.




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