“I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Revelation 22:13
Revelation is hard in the details, but easy in the general message. Written during a time of great upheaval and threat to the church, God’s Revelation to John was a simple encouragement to persevere. Nero may reign in Rome, but God reigns from heaven. Therefore, every Christian should remain faithful and trust that God will work in spite of the very worst in the world.
One of the most familiar phrases from Revelation, “I am the Alpha and the Omega” takes us to the very heart of this challenging book. We find the phrase three times in the book (1:8, 21:6, and 22:13), the first two times from God, the third time from Jesus. Any of you that have had Sunday School 101 know that these two Greek letters are the first and last of the alphabet. What Jesus meant was that He was the A – Z, the first and last and all things in between. He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent How does this apply on a Monday morning?
First, you cannot leave Jesus on Sunday, or any other segmented time of the week or day. Good religion is concerned about the details of life and infuses the rhythm of grace into every hour and every task. If you want to be truly frustrated, just try relegating Jesus to a Sunday service and become more “practical” during the week. May God preserve us from this kind of practicality!
The abundant life Jesus came to give is precisely that: abundant and life. The Christian life is life in its totality, not just a set of practices and commitments designed to create a slight patina of spirituality or a religious addendum to a well-ordered life. Your challenge on a Monday morning is to view your work through your eyes of faith. In fact, that is your duty. Jesus is the alpha and omega, the beginning and end and all things in between. Don’t try to leave Him on Sunday only.
Second, the all-encompassing nature of Jesus means that He is already a part of every hour of your life. He is there with you. Right now.
Remember the old home movies families would make 40 or more years ago? This technology is hopelessly antiquated, but it operated on a very clever mechanical principle. Each frame captured a different moment in the action. Play the frames over a bright light and the figures appear to move.
Now your life is a movie, a series of frames depicting each moment. The fact that Jesus is the alpha and omega means that He is in every frame. Every frame. One reason so many people struggle with anxiety is that they imagine frames in the future in which Jesus is absent. That will never happen, and you cannot live in fear of an exception. You do not know what the frames of this week will contain, but you must trust that the Alpha and Omega is with you during each moment.
The gospel in its fullness is equal parts comfort and challenge, assurance and warning. The fact that Jesus is the alpha and omega is certainly not a call to simply relax and know that all will be well. It is a call to trust and maintain a muscular perseverance and tenacious trust no matter what comes.
I would often conclude worship services with the words, “Let what you do here on Sunday make a difference in the way you live on Monday and throughout the remainder of the week.” Jesus is the alpha and omega of Monday and every day. Live each moment in His comforting and challenging presence.
Dr. Terry Ellis
September 27, 2010