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The Thief Comes to Kill, Steal, and Destroy

Briefing: What has been your experience with thieves? Most law enforcement officers I know seem to have a real dislike for thieves. This sections talks about the father of lies.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read John 10:1-21.

On the Street: Are you worried about the thief in this story? If you are a mature Christian, who has a good relationship with Christ and you know His voice, then you can be fairly confident that you will not be deceived. If you are like most of us, still growing and maturing, then you might want to pay attention to the threat the thief poses.

We have seen this thief before. In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus gives us the Parable of the Sower. It is about seeds being scattered. At one point we see a bird that eats the seeds scattered by the farmer. Later, Jesus explains what the bird eating the seeds meant: “the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.” Matthew 13:19 (HCSB).

The thief’s purpose in this story is to lead you astray. What does he use to lead law enforcement officers astray? Abuse of power, heavy badge, sense of entitlement, or a feeling of being above the law? Satan has many tricks up his sleeve. When he comes at us with temptations we have to know and recognize his voice and flee like the sheep. The sheep recognize the voices they are hearing. They are able to discern between the truth of God’s Word and the temptation of Satan. The discernment comes from spending time in the Bible and seeking a stronger relationship with the Shepherd (Jesus).

The description of Satan does not stop at “thief”. John 10:1 (NIV) says he is, “a thief and a robber.” The average reader might think that this is one in the same. To law enforcement officers there is a big difference. The thief is usually a coward who will steal your stuff while your back is turned. The robber, on the other hand, will use force to take what he wants. By saying he is a thief and a robber tells me that he will use deception if he can but he is not afraid to get violent if needed. He will take you at any cost. Make no mistake about it, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” John 10:10 (NIV).

In verse 3 we see that the shepherd knows the sheep by name. We are not just some random animals; He knows us by name. Isaiah 49:16 says that our names are written in the palms of His hands. In Revelation 20:12-15, we see the names of those who are His children are in the book of life. “And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire” Revelation 20:15 (HCSB). This is Satan’s goal. He wants to deceive you and steal you from the Good Shepherd. Satan does not want your name found in the book of life.

One of my favorite parts of this story has to be Jesus referring to Himself as the gate. When shepherds make sheep pens, they stack brush and sticks in a huge circle. They will leave an opening big enough for the sheep to walk through but not make a gate. The shepherd is the gate. He will sleep in the opening at night, literally becoming the gate. He stops predators from coming in and keeps the sheep from wandering away. Jesus tells us in John 14:6 (NIV), “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. He is the gate.

Investigational Resources: Psalm 23 is a great word picture of how our Good Shepherd takes care of His sheep. The parable of the seed is found in Matthew 13:1-13.

Officer Safety Principle: Do not be deceived by the thief. Jesus is the only Way.

from The Gospel of John Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!