The Alpha and the Omega

stroke-of-midnight“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13).

One year comes to a close and another year dawns.  What did the year hold for you?  The media love to give recaps of the previous year, who did this, who said that, who got married (and divorced).  Who gave birth and who died?  What was the top movie of the year?  Who was the best (and worst) dressed? What sports team won it all?  Likewise we often take personal stock of the year – how we faired financially and in our relationships, what big life events occurred in the past twelve months and how it went in our jobs.  When I did my own year-in-review I could sum it all up in one word: surprise!  This year was full of the unexpected as my family made a major move; after nearly 20 years in Florida, we end the year back in our home state of Alabama.  God led us to a great place to live and a wonderful church home.  The blessings of our new home also meant saying goodbye to dear and precious people and ministries that I loved.  Life often offers us a little bitter with the sweet.  We sit on the cusp of the New Year with a sense of excitement as we look ahead to what God will do.

The thought always strikes me at the end of each year: I had no clue on January 1 what the year would hold, but God knew everything thing that would occur in the next 365 days.  And as the next year begins, He is equally aware of how it will unfold.  He knows every joy and sorrow, every good thing and every not-so-good thing.  He knows the people that I will meet, and the places this year will take me.   He knows the words I will write on this blog and every person who will read them.  And He knows the mistakes I will make and how He will work them together in my life to accomplish His good plan and purpose for me.  How can I be so confident?  Because Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega.

If you are not familiar with those words, Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last, and they are used to express completeness from beginning to end—much as we say “from A to Z.”  Three times in Revelation Jesus declares, “I am the Alpha and the Omega” and each time He adds a little more to His self-proclamation.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega” (1:8).

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (21:6).

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (22:13).

Because He is the Alpha and the Omega, Jesus knows what the year will hold; He sees the beginning of the year and the end and everything in between.   He is the Beginning of time (Genesis 1:14) and the End of time; because He is eternal, He is timeless (1 Peter 1:11).

Jesus is the Beginning and the End of the universe.  He is the origin of the heavens and the earth and all life—including human beings (Genesis 1-2).    He called the light to dawn (Genesis 1:3) and He will extinguish it and replace it with Himself (Revelation 21:23). He created the universe and will bring it to a close (Revelation 21:1).  He is the Beginning of all righteousness and the end of all evil (Matthew 25:46).

Jesus is the First and the Last in power and authority over all existence.  He is the Son of God (Matthew 3:17). He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). He is exalted to the highest place, His name is above every name; the day is soon coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9-10)!

These are high and exalted expressions of Jesus, yet He is also the Alpha and the Omega of your life and mine.  He is Beginning and the End of your day—He is there with you when you sip your coffee in the morning and when you lay your head down at night and at every hour in between; He continues to watch over you through the night.  He is the First and the Last over your life—He was there when you drew your first breath, and He will walk with you into heaven when you draw your last, and He will never leave your side all the days of your life.

We do not know what the coming year will bring, what adventures and challenges, hellos and goodbyes, joys and sorrows.  But we can greet the coming year confident that the Alpha and Omega is already there.  I invite you to begin the New Year with words of this beautiful old hymn:

I don’t worry o’er the future

For I know what Jesus said

And today I’ll walk beside Him

For He knows what is ahead

Many things about tomorrow

I don’t seem to understand;

But I know who holds tomorrow

and I know who holds my hand.[1]

Precious Lord Jesus, another year ends and a new one begins, I can’t imagine what the next year holds, but I will walk into it holding Your hand and trusting you every day.  Amen.

[1] I Know Who Holds Tomorrow – words and music by Ira F. Stanphill, February 14, 1914—December 30, 1993

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