“O God, who in the days of old didst make thyself known to prophets and poets, and in the fulness of time didst reveal thyself in thy Son Jesus Christ: Help us to meditate upon the revelation of thyself which thou hast given, that thy constant love may become known to us, and that we may feel thy presence always with us; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (Methodist Book of Worship, 1965)
The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits l before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” u
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it 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.”
The Great Tradition
In the same way the Lord applied to himself two Greek letters, the first and the last, as figures of the beginning and the end which are united in himself. For just as Alpha continues on until it reaches Omega and Omega completes the cycle back again to Alpha, so he meant to show us that in him is found the course of all things from the beginning to the end and from the end back to the beginning. Every divine dispensation should end in him through whom it first began, that is, in the Word made flesh. Accordingly, it should also end in the same way in which it first began. So truly in Christ are all things recalled to their beginning. (Tertullian)
Prayer of Confession
“Lord, in the everyday events of the holiday season so often we forget your message of hope and salvation for a lost and hurting world. Forgive us, Lord, and as this season progresses help us grow in our witness to your mercy and grace. Help us keep the pressures of the world in their proper place and help us share the true joy of Christmas. In Christ we pray. Amen.” (James Wilson)
The last book of the Bible is entitled, “Revelation,” which means an unveiling of something previously unknown. More than that, it is something that could not be known unless revealed by God. There is a sense in which we can generally know about God through nature. However, Christians believe all the Bible is the special revelation of God. In other words, it is only through Holy Scripture that we can learn more deeply about God and come to know him relationally.
We might learn without the Bible that two thousand years ago there existed an itinerant preacher named Jesus who was put to death by the Romans. But only through the revelation of God can we know that this same preacher was God incarnate who came to die for the sins of the world. Without revelation we would not know that God desires for us to have a relationship with him. We would not know this union with God can last beyond the grave. That is a small, though vitally important, amount of what we learn only through God’s special revelation.
All the Bible is God’s Word inscripturated, but only Christ is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:1). Jesus was a unique revelation in that he was truly God with us (Matthew 1:2-3). He is still God with us in and through the Person of his Holy Spirit. As the Son of God, Jesus, in his preincarnate state, has existed in all eternity with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is truly Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. As Alpha, all things were made and hold together in him (Colossians 1:17). Everything was made by him, for him, and through him (John 1:3, Colossians 1:15-16). As Omega he is the ultimate purpose for which everything has been made. Furthermore, his second advent will mark the end of all things as we know it. As the Apostle John says to those who will read the words found in Revelation, let’s do more than read the words about Jesus found in Scripture; let’s take them to heart.
- We often think of the baby lying in a manger during the Christmas season. What thoughts do John’s words bring to your mind about Jesus in his first eight verses of Revelation?
- Does understanding Jesus as “God with us” bring you comfort? Explain.
- What emotions do you experience when you consider Jesus as Alpha and Omega? Why?
- Reread Revelation 1:1-8. Write down everything John reveals about Jesus. Spend some time in prayerful contemplation about your list. Share your experience of encountering Jesus in this way with a friend.