Read Revelation 22:12-13
Jesus is the beginning, the middle, and the end of our story, and God’s story. His promise to come again is sure and certain, even if the timing is unknown. We can be confident that He will have the final word when He returns to reverse the curse invoked in Eden’s Garden and to judge the living and the dead.
This week’s featured Scripture is: “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:12-13).
Consider the synonyms for Alpha and Omega listed below. How do these words inform and expand the meaning of “beginning and end”?
“Dawning, birth, inception, conception, origination, genesis, emergence, rise, start, starting point, very beginning, launch, onset.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
“Conclusion, termination, finish, close, resolution, climax, finale, culmination, denouement, epilogue, coda, peroration (the concluding part of a speech, typically intended to inspire enthusiasm in the audience), windup.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) Another way to look at “end” here, however, is to interpret it as the goal, purpose, fulfillment. Jesus, as One of the triune Godhead, initiated creation. He is also its Sustainer (Colossians 1:16-17) and end goal: by and through Jesus, God’s aim is to reconcile all with Himself.
God has been revealing His plan for us from before He said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). And Jesus proclaimed, invitingly, “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12).
Jesus is God’s plan for our redemption. He put this in place before the beginning. Jesus is the Creator in Genesis and Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us for the ending. Jesus said, “it is finished” (John 19:30). He did all the hard work for us by taking on all our sin. We can add nothing to His finished work—salvation comes only through rejecting sin and following Jesus. However, there will be observable fruits of such saving faith: believers’ love for one another (John 13:35) and good works which reveal our walk with Christ (James 2:14-17).
Where do you see God working out His plan in your life? God knows the end. Does this bring you fear or comfort?
For Those in Need:
Pray for those in need; for those who lack necessities and for the poor in spirit. Pray for the person in need who comes to mind when you hear that phrase. Pray for provision and an uplifting of spirit. Pray for people around them to be stirred to bless them.
Read Revelation 1:8
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” (Revelation 1:8)
“This is what the LORD says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from Me there is no God.”
Psalm 90:1-2 (a prayer of Moses)
“Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God.”
Isaiah 44:6 and Psalm 90:2 show again that the Old Testament informs the New Testament, the New Testament being the fulfillment and realization of the Old Testament in Christ. This is why on the Road to Emmaus, Jesus could use Old Testament Scriptures to reveal the Messiah to the despondent pair of believers walking with Him (Luke 24:27). The Bible’s central theme is what God has done to reconcile fallen humankind and creation to Himself, completed in Jesus Christ.
God has always been and will always be with us. Jesus promised accordingly, “surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus is the first (“Alpha”) and the last (“Omega”) and is from everlasting to everlasting. How does it affect you to know that Jesus is always with you—through thick and thin? He went through thick and thin for all of us. Moreover, He emptied Himself of His rights and privileges as God, making Himself poor by worldly standards and dying the most brutal and humiliating death possible (Philippians 2:6-9), so that we might reconcile with God via saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus lived a finite, Self-limiting first Advent life to show us how to live, treat others, love, have peace, and be His examples on earth until He returns. At the same time—via His sacrifice upon Calvary’s cross—He satisfied God’s holy justice (“for the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23) and freed those who would follow Him from the eternal ravages and consequences of sin and death.
We live in a finite timeline—does God? How does God relate to us now in our linear time while He transcends the timeline?
For Those Who Help People in Need:
Pray for the people who have been stirred to help those in need. Pray for their ministry. Pray for the Lord to provide what’s needed to serve others and for people to be stirred to join them. Pray for God to be glorified through their speech and actions.
Read Revelation 21:6
“He said to me [John the Revelator]: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life’” (Revelation 21:6). Jesus elsewhere declared, “Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38).
Read through the following synonyms of Alpha and Omega again slowly, deliberately—reflect upon each of them, asking God to give you new or richer insights. Focus on each word and how it helps to better understand Alpha and Omega. Which words stick out? Which words are informative? Clarifying? Maybe highlight the synonyms in different colors and make notes. How do these give you new perspectives on Jesus, His first Advent mission, His second coming purpose, the hope you have in Christ, and what God has done, is doing, and will do?
“Dawning, birth, inception, conception, origination, genesis, emergence, rise, start, starting point, very beginning, launch, onset.”
“Conclusion, termination, finish, close, resolution, climax, finale, culmination, denouement, epilogue, coda, peroration (the concluding part of a speech, typically intended to inspire enthusiasm in the audience), windup.”
It takes quite a few “human” terms to describe fully the words our Lord chose.
Jesus says that those who come to Him will not thirst and at no cost they will receive from the spring of the water of life. That spring has been there from the beginning and will continue to be available. We can be filled with this living water, just as the Samaritan woman at the well was (John 4). And, like this former outcast, we have the privilege and responsibility to tell all whom we know and meet—even our critics and revilers—of the hope we have that is knowable only by saving faith in Christ (John 4:28-30, 39).
With whom have you recently shared the Gospel, thereby issuing “living water” flowing from Jesus Christ Himself? With whom will you share such good news this week?
What does it mean to receive living water without cost? The best news is that we do not have to pay the cost—Jesus already did.
For Our Local Community:
Pray for our local community. Pray for those who do not know Christ to come to know Him. Pray for those who do know the Lord to live lives that demonstrate who God is. Pray for the Christ followers in our community to tell those who don’t know God about Him.
Read Revelation 22:13
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13)
Jesus says “I am the Alpha and Omega” three times in Revelation. Three times! It must be important for us to know this. Each time, Jesus expands on what this means:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’”
“He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.’”
God has told us His story throughout the Bible, both Old Testament and New. In fact, history itself is “His story”—how and why He created us and what He has done and will do to reconcile fallen humankind and creation to Himself via Jesus’ substitutionary and atoning sacrifice, how the Messiah will return to reverse the curse of the fall to claim His rightful place fully and finally as Judge and Lord of all. He made promises and kept every single one. His love, peace, and grace are available to us; all we need to do is ask Him for it if we are His in Christ. God has been faithful to us from the beginning. Because He is all-powerful, sovereign, all-knowing, good and loving, there is no reason for us to doubt God’s faithfulness in the end.
God is with us from beginning to end and has provided us a way to live with Him: drink from the spring of the water of life. Are you ready to drink? Whom else would you like to join you in drinking from this unquenchable Source? How will you help those not knowing it presently to draw closer to the God who is eager to save, the One who is “unwilling that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9)?
Where have you experienced instances of God’s faithfulness? Have you shared that with people in your life, with non-believers?
For Our Church Community:
Start your prayer time by thanking God for your Christian community and those around you. Ask God to put someone on your heart to pray for and encourage this week. Take some quiet time to listen to God. Pray for our church community to grow closer to God daily, and for Him to provide for, encourage, and bless them.
Read Lectio Divina
We learned how to participate in Lectio Divina during our “Discipleship” series in the fall. Using the following steps, spend time with the theme Scripture for this week.
Revelation 22:12-13: “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
Reading. Read the passage slowly and carefully within the Bible. Re-read it at least once or twice more, not just to yourself but also out loud.
Meditation. As you think deeply or dwell upon a spiritual reality within a text, is there a word or phrase that God is impressing on your heart? Can you block out all distractions and noise, aiming to be fully in the presence of the living God as you meditate upon His word and its promise? What parts of the text are you seeing with new eyes? What parts of it trouble or most challenge you? Where might the Spirit be stirring you as you consider this passage?
Prayer. Have a loving conversation with God with an emphasis on listening. Remember, prayer is not showing up with a “wish list” for God; it is speaking with Him and listening actively so that you might align with His good and perfect will.
Contemplation. Rest in God’s presence. What does God have for you during this time? Perhaps you should re-read the passage yet again, further meditating. Ask God to stir you, to inform you, to help you see what He might be asking of you here.
Action. Go and do what God has empowered you to do with this new-found appreciation of the Scripture. God’s always empowers what He commands. Jesus commanded that you “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and that you, in turn, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30). What is God calling you to do here? How has He equipped you accordingly?
How has your heart changed this week? Do you have a fresh perspective of God’s Word? Do “alpha” and “omega” mean something different to you as compared to the beginning of this week?
Take a minute to reflect on your personal spiritual journey. Ask God to reveal areas of your life where He wants you to surrender to Him. Ask God to reveal what He would like to add to your life. Pray about your heart posture and what you are being called to for the season of Lent.