From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Seventeen, Day Two
In the last book of the Bible, Jesus reveals himself as "the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Present at the world's beginning, Jesus will also be present at its end, when he and his work are finally and fully revealed. When you pray to Christ as the Alpha and the Omega, you are praying to the One who is, who was, and who is to come. He is our all-sufficient Lord, who will not fail to complete the good work he has begun in us.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Revelation 22:13
Praying the Name
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.
Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples
of the 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." Revelation 1:7-8
Praise God: For speaking to us.
Offer Thanks: For the way Jesus communicates God's love.
Confess: Your need for Jesus to be your Alpha and Omega, your beginning and your end.
Ask God: To give you ears to hear and eyes to see.
The longer I live, the more I am impressed with the importance of stories. I think stories are like air — it's impossible to live without them. I'm not saying we would die without novels, plays, or movies, though the quality of our lives would certainly diminish. What I am saying is that you cannot live without an overarching story that explains the world and your place in it. Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Mormons, Buddhists, and Christians — we all have stories that shape our lives.
Even atheists have a storyline that shapes their response to the world. It's that for them there is no ultimate story, no higher power, no absolute truth, and no afterlife. To be true to that story, the atheist must either despair or simply face the facts bravely, determined to live without the comforts of religion.
But what does this talk of stories have to do with the title "Alpha and Omega"? These two letters are, of course, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In fact the word "alphabet" is formed from the first two letters of the Greek language — alpha and beta. When Jesus calls himself the Alpha and the Omega, he is implying not just these two letters but all the letters in between. And letters, of course, are the basic building blocks for words. So it seems entirely fitting to say that Jesus, who is the Word of God, is also the Alpha and the Omega. He is the One who perfectly communicates, through his words and the story of his life, who God is and who we are. He tells us what has happened to break the world and what is necessary to fix it. He shows us that love is not merely one of God's attributes but that God is love. And then he tells us how we are to live in light of this overarching story. The Canadian preacher A. B. Simpson spoke of Jesus as the key to interpreting the entire Bible:
Jesus, in the story of creation, already planning the new creation; Jesus supreme above the ruins of the fall; Jesus in the ark, the rainbow and the dove; Jesus in the sacrifice on Mount Moriah, the ladder of Jacob, and the story of Joseph; Jesus in the Paschal lamb, the desert manna. . . . The face of Jesus can be traced like water lines in fine paper back of every page, for He is the Alpha and the Omega: the first and the last of this Holy Book.
As the Alpha and the Omega Jesus has eloquently communicated the story of salvation to anyone who has ears to hear and eyes to see.
As Warren Wiersbe puts it:
If you want to understand God, you have to know Jesus Christ. I have met people who say, "Well, I get so much truth about God from walking in the woods." You can learn some things about God by walking in the woods, but you cannot get the full revelation you have in Christ. Some say, "I love to sit and look at a beautiful sunset; it tells me so much about God." Well, it can; but you will learn much more of God's revelation through His Son, Jesus Christ. God has spoken in Jesus Christ, and this is His last word. Jesus Christ is God's last word, and if you want to know about God, you have to come to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is Alpha and Omega; His ministry is the ministry of revelation — He reveals God to us.
If Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of the world's painful but hopeful story, it is vital that we not only listen but that we respond, letting Christ weave our own small stories into the greatest story ever told. This week, spend some time thinking about the story of your life thus far. Take everything you remember, both the good and the bad, and give it to Jesus. Tell him you want to surrender your life in an even deeper way so that he alone will be the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of the story of your life.
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback: Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus.
These books help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.