(Jesus said) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10
Many of you may not know the name of actor Antonio Banderas.
If you don't, let me tell you just a bit about him. He is a movie actor, an actor best known for being the most recent individual to play the role of Zorro. Younger generations may know him as the voice of Puss in the Shrek and Puss In Boots movies.
In short, Antonio Banderas is a big-name star.
Maybe that's why Banderas wasn't surprised at the reception he received when he landed at Budapest's Franz Liszt International Airport. The media that covered the event says he was rushed by dozens of girls, as he made his way from the terminal to a waiting car.
I imagine that kind of attention must be incredibly flattering.
I'm sure that, in this particular instance, it must have been quite humbling.
That's because after Mr. Banderas got to his car and managed to catch his breath, he found out his wallet had been stolen. That's right. One of those attractive, flattering young ladies had lifted his billfold. They were at the airport not to support the actor but to steal from him.
It occurs to me the devil works in much the same way.
He comes to us; he flatters us; he butters us up; he sweet talks us. He says and does whatever is necessary to make us trust him, accept him and let down our guard.
Then, when we least expect it, when we feel quite comfortable, BAM!, he does something quite unexpected. He robs from us; he betrays us; he undermines us; he ruins us. As Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy."
It's a hard lesson and one that was learned by almost every person in the Bible. Indeed, every hero of faith did well as long as he trusted the Lord. It's when he started to believe and trust the devil's lies that he ran into trouble.
That's the story of Adam and Eve, the story of Samson, the story of King Saul and many, many others. It's a story the Bible tells often so that people should learn from the mistakes of others. They ought to learn, but they don't.
In contrast to the thief, we have the Savior, the Good Shepherd. He is the One who gave His life for the sheep. He is the One who sacrificed Himself, so we might have life eternal.
Given an option between the two, it would seem to be a no-brainer as to whom we should follow. Still, as many have found out, the devil's attention can be pretty flattering, but it is also humbling and deadly.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, allow me to recognize and reject the thief who comes to kill and destroy. At the same time, draw me ever closer to my Savior who gave His life, so I might have everlasting life. In His Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries