I walk into the library. It smells like books. Perusing the shelves, I spot a familiar title. I pull the book out and read the first page. Then I tip the book to the left and read the last page. I close it swiftly and return it to the shelf.
Have you ever tried approaching your Bible this way? Try it out. Find a cozy chair and read the first and last page.
In my Bible, the last page includes the words “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13). Jesus describes Himself as the Alpha and the Omega, which are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
It is as though He is saying, “I’m the A and the Z.” So it makes sense that Jesus would also be on page 1 of the Bible. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” is the very first sentence in the Bible (Genesis 1:1). Jesus, who is God, was there in the beginning and all things were made through Him (John 1:1-3). He was there first. He will return. Jesus was, is and will be. Calling Himself “Alpha and Omega” reinforces that He is eternally God.
I can hardly comprehend this. Almost everything I’ve ever known is short-term, temporal and has an expiration date. Even wonderful things – like elementary school, vacation or M&Ms – are eventually finished.
As humans, we live at a certain moment in history. We would like to know the future, but we can’t. For many of us, it is difficult to even remember the past. Sometimes, history feels shaky and global events frighten us. Amid uncertainty and a very limited view, we can feel anxious and overwhelmed, or apathetic and disconnected, or angry and impatient for change.
This is exactly where Jesus, our Alpha and Omega, meets us. In an ancient town called Bethlehem, the Alpha and Omega, who had written the story, entered the story Himself.
The “firstborn of all creation” was born at the right moment in history (Colossians 1:15). No wonder angels celebrated! Jesus was born into an empire marked by evil, corruption and political strife. He was the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecies. The name “Alpha and Omega” echoes God’s description of Himself in Isaiah:
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god” (Isaiah 44:6).
Jesus, our Alpha and Omega, existed before Creation and will return one day to rule forever. He is the consistency our hearts long for. Jesus provides comfort that can’t be concocted from vacations or M&Ms. God’s eternal plan is unfolding and this season isn’t the end. This is just one chapter in His story. It’s the middle of the story. Though we have a limited view, God sees our whole story and how it’s part of His bigger story.
This Christmas, celebrate the surprising entrance of Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, into the middle of your story.
Interested in more about Jesus as the Alpha and Omega? Listen to John Piper’s sermon on this topic.
Taking time to meditate on the many names of Jesus can enrich your worship.
When anxiousness or discouragement creeps in, I try to remind myself that rescue is just around the corner.
Contemplating Immanuel which means “God with us” gives me a reason to hope in the midst of a world beaten down and burdened.
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