John 10:10 (New American Standard Bible)
10"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
The text above follows an action packed section of scripture in the gospel of John. Beginning in John 8:12(which is titled "The Validity of Jesus' Testimony,") we see a section akin to a running gun battle in a movie. Jesus is being questioned by the Jewish leaders of the day and is responding to them by pointing out their lack of knowledge and understanding about the spiritual ramifications of earthly actions. He is also giving them a history lesson to correct some of their revisionist historical beliefs; but anyway...
In John 9, we read of Jesus healing a man born blind followed by an investigation by the Pharisees, and then another confrontation with Jesus. In this confrontation, Jesus refers to those who are blind now and claims that they will see; while those with sight will become blind.
The initial question asked by the disciples was about sin in the life of the man born blind. The question now asked by the Pharisees is: "What? Are we blind too?" Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin: but now that you claim to see, your guilt remains."
This is where Jesus changes analogies in the discussion and begins to speak about shepherds, thieves and sheep. This is language rooted in the history of the Jewish culture. (See; Psalm 23 & 80; Jer. 39:10; Ezek. 34:11-16 for starters)
This is how we get to the comparison made by Jesus.
The Theif: Purpose = Steal, Kill, and Destroy
Jesus: Purpose = Give abundant life.
Now, here comes the question that I will attempt to study and explain from this verse...
Is the life here that Jesus speaks of giving, handed out now, or do we have to wait for Heaven?
Feel free to comment, harangue, poke with a stick, or add your study results along the way.