Today’s passages: Jeremiah, chapter 52; Psalms 143-144; Revelation, chapter 1 Scripture: Revelation 1:4-8 (NRSV) – John, to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Observations: What a powerful reminder of the nature of the God we serve! He is the One who is and who was and who is to come– the eternal God, Creator and sustainer of the universe, the Almighty. He is the Alpha and the Omega– the beginning and the end. Before anything was, God has been, and he forever will be. He has seen everything; he knows everything; he is at work in everything according to his purposes. He has chosen to reveal himself to us, through his Word, and through his Son. Praise be to God! This passage also reminds us about Jesus, our Savior: the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth…who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood… The eternal Son, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – he is also the one who opened the way for us to come into God’s presence and into God’s family. As John put it in chapter 1 of his Gospel, no one has ever seen God, but God the only Son came to make God known to us. When we want to know what God is like, we just need to look at Jesus. Jesus has not only opened the way for us to come into God’s presence and God’s family; he has also made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father. Jesus came declaring that God’s Kingdom is “at hand.” We often think about that as meaning that “it’s almost here,” but Jesus was saying that it is here – breaking into this world, challenging the ruler of this world and this age, beginning the process of restoration and recreation that will conclude with the new heaven and new earth of Revelation 21:1. Jesus has called us to be part of that kingdom – a kingdom that is not of this world (John 18:36), a kingdom that is made up of those who are called to serve his God and Father. This imagery of all of us being priests is a common New Testament theme; it reminds us that our highest calling is to serve God however he calls us to do so. As Paul put it, whatever we do, we are do it for God’s glory. That’s what it means for us to be part of his kingdom – to be priests serving his God and Father. Finally, these verses remind us of our hope: Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. He is coming! Jesus made it clear that it is not for us to know “the day or the hour,” but we have the assurance that he is coming again – and he has called us to be ready. When he comes, we need to be ready – and we need to do all we can to help others be ready as well. As followers of Jesus, we need to be what he is – the faithful witness. Applications: God is encouraging me this morning with the reminder that no matter how things look in this world, he is still the Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega, the only One who can bring grace and peace. He’s also encouraging me to share the message of grace, peace, and hope, because there are many who don’t have any peace nor any hope in this world. Jesus has overcome, and he calls us to be part of his kingdom. What a blessing to be reminded of God’s goodness and faithfulness today! Prayer:Father, I thank you because you are the Almighty God; hallowed be your name. May your kingdom come today in the lives of more people, through the saving power of your Son Jesus Christ. Help me today to walk in your way, that I may share the good news of your kingdom with others. Amen.