May 8, 2016
As man faces the reality in which he lives, he finds himself perplexed. Perplexed by his origins, his current status, and his destiny; perplexed by the physical world and all of it’s mysteries; perplexed by the interaction of time, space, light, gravity, and other yet-to-be-noticed forces; perplexed by the spiritual side of things which he cannot seem to ignore; perplexed by the the apparent impossibility of good relations among all people.
The clever ones among us embrace the perplexity and focus in on a very narrow portion of it and become expert in that field…therefore able to provide at least some solutions to the perplexed masses. Ever notice that among the most common business names or mottos in our day is word “solutions.” There are computer solutions, financial solutions, dental solutions, plumbing solutions, Which I’m pretty happy about They begin with the assumption that people are perplexed, and they are not be wrong.
We are perplexed by many things. And not just things like computers or plumbing or how the world works, but how our lives work. We often say things like “What am I going to do now?” or “Why is this happening to me?” or “How did I get so busy?” Or you moms: “When will I ever get to sleep like I used to?”
But to this perplexing world there is given the comforting book of Revelation. Your eyes got wide when I said that. I saw you…. “Comforting” is the last thing you think about when you hear mention of that book. True, for those who are enemies of God, Revelation presents a frightening future, but you are not enemies of God! You are followers of his Son. But you say, “I’m a sinner!” Yeah, but Jesus covers your sins by his death on the cross. When he said it is finished…. he meant it was finished. When he went to that hill outside of Jerusalem and suffered there, it was judgment day for your sins. Indeed we will still see the judgement day that is foretold in Revelation…. but we by faith will be those in white robes that have cleansed by his blood. We will shine like the sun. That’s pretty comforting, I think.
But there’s more Consider the name: Revelation. That name suggests that something’s about to be revealed to us, and it is. The veil that normally prevents us from perceiving the doings of heaven is parted and we are allowed, for a moment to peer into the the things of God that we would otherwise could not see. And what we see is that Jesus, the guy who called for our forgiveness as we nailed him to the cross is now in charge of everything. We know his heart. We’ve seen his love. And he is in charge!
There is one verse from Revelation that will serve as my text: Revelation 22:13. It gives us an idea of just how central Christ Jesus is in relation to everything that is. Jesus said “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning of the end.” Alpha and omega, first and last, beginning and end…. those three statements, seem like emphatically redundant: that is they say the same thing over and again with different words to make a single point.. But I don’t think it is redundented. They are all related yes, but each part gives a different nuance. So we’re going to take these one at a time.
I am the Alpha and Omega. This may sound mysterious, but they’re just the first and last letters of the Greek Alphabet Up to this point in Revelation. Alpha and Omega was used a couple of times but only in reference to the Father. But here in the last Chapter of Revelation it is applied to Jesus and reveals was was not simply a man, but God.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says Jesus In the Old Testament personal name of God is “Yahweh” which means simply “I am.” He is s the one who is. He existed before anything or anyone else. He is existence. Everything that exists originates from him.
One of the big projects that philosophers and scientists have been working on for centuries is what they have called “The theory of everything” an all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework that will link together all of the physical aspects of the universe; something that will explain reality fully. They have not yet been successful. I don’t believe they will ever be. That’s because the truth behind reality is the the one who reveals himself to us as Yahweh… the one who is. That’s what Jesus was doing when he said “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” is he was telling us what’s behind reality and it is he.
In these times, it is argued that in order to really come to the truth in science, we need to banish any thought of God. But it seems to me that we can only understand what is, by knowing the God who is.
Another one now: I am the beginning and the end. We go from the broad, all-encompassing Alpha and Omega that includes the eternal and timeless existence of God in eternity to our realm our time, as we call. it. Genesis says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” That’s what Jesus is talking about when he says I and the beginning. He’s saying “I was there at the beginning, I was the active agent of creation. God created with his Word…. I am the Word.” I am the beginning. I’m the beginning of all that you know. The fact that he so freely manipulated our reality by walking on water and and turning water into wine demonstrates that we were being visited by the one who created. He is the beginning.
But he’s also the end. “You shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven seated on the right of God.” Said Jesus. He was there acting at the beginning that brought about what we called time and space and he will be there signaling the end to it.
Those who have spent their lifetimes denying Christ and his word shall see that they never lived without his help. On that that day, all the things they depended upon to always be there… the sun, the moon, the stars…. these things will fall from orbit like scenery being taken down after a play is over and they will come face to face with the owner of the stage, the author of life, the producer who brought it all together. How they have acted during the time they’ve been given will evaluated. They will learn that the Law of God is still in force even though ignored it and tried to rewrite reality.
It’s interesting I think, that the whole world which will be judged by Christ now measures the passage of the years by his birth: BC and AD. We are now in the year of lord 2016. The one who created time and entered time in a stable in bethlehem now has his Birthday as the starting point for our years. Not so easily erased. When the communists sought to erase every record of Christ, they couldn’t imagine changing the years. People of our time tried to change the meaning of the Letters, BC they called BCE (before common era) and AD they called CE (Common Era), which will always begs the question…. what makes it common? Christ does of course. This reminder of Jesus is going to remain. Whenever people ask “Why do we number our years this way, the answer will always be Christ’s birth.”
Jesus is the Alpha and the omega, the Beginning and the end, The First and the Last. With that last bit, we now now move from the history of the entire world to the history of the church…. those people whom Jesus calls his own.
In the first chapter of Revelation, Jesus places his hand on John and says “Fear not, I am the first and the last and the living one, I died, behold I am alive forever more.” I kind of think that this is how it will be on the last day. Jesus will be there on the last day. He will greet us. He will say “welcome you are blessed by my father. Come and see what I have for you. As we see the moon, the stars, falling and the sun refusing to shine, we might be afraid like everyone else at first. But then he will strengthen us and remind us who he is and that we are his, that we are saved not by our works but by our faith in him. He is the first fruits to we are the next.
As we enter that new life, all things that fill us with perplexity shall be no more. The chaos that we have grown so accustomed to as normal will melt away as we behold and commune with the reality and founding principle behind everything that is, for we will meet the one who is. For now, we see in a mirror only dimly, but then face to to face. Now we know in part; then we shall know fully.” AMEN