The Alpha and Omega“Most assuredly, I say to you,before Abraham was, I AM.”
Those who believe that Jesus was always meek and tolerant, Politically Correct, if you will, need to look no further than the eighth chapter of John in order to see a completely different side to the Son of God. If you take into account who Jesus is and what His primary mission is and was, as was discussed in the previous post, however, it isn’t that hard to get a handle on the fact that Jesus Christ is the one and only WORTHY heir to the kingdom of God; not just the worthy heir who came along about two thousand years ago, teaching and doing a few scattered miracles, but the heir who has been present since the beginning of time.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Revelation 1:8
Throughout the book of Revelation, this sentence is repeated over and over again. Do you think that it might be important? Jesus wanted John to clearly understand that all that he was witnessing in his vision had been something that He, Jesus, had been a part of since the beginning. By the way, those of you whose Greek is a little sketchy, Alpha and Omega is like the phrase that English speakers use to say, “from A to Z.” Jesus doesn’t end by saying that he is the Alpha and Omega, He wants it to be very clear that He is “the Beginning and the End,” both capitalized. He is not “a beginning and an end,” He is THE, the ONLY one or, shall we say the “superior” or “preeminent” one. If that explanation hadn’t been enough, our Lord goes one step further and spells it out pretty clearly “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” It baffles me how after those three phrases linked together in a single statement anyone can deny the fact that Jesus Christ was with God from the beginning of time. The disciple John even testifies to this fact about Christ.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” – John 1:1-3
Why am I harping on this, you might say? I am harping on this because it speaks directly to the power of Jesus Christ. He is present within creation from the beginning as the powerful means by which everything was created. How does John refer to Jesus Christ? He refers to Him as the very power of God’s creation. Is that strong enough for you? Jesus wasn’t just a great teacher who walked around doing good works, being sweet to everybody, tolerating everything and singing Kumbaya. He was God, who became man in order to dwell among us so that He might be the One Worthy Lamb who would fulfill the law of God and undo the curse of sin and death that was brought upon mankind when Adam failed in the very beginning of human existence. He is the “Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God,” as Hebrews 12:2 puts it.
So, how did I connect that Jesus was the power of God in creation? Very simple, consider how God created. What is the phrase right before every single act of creation? “And God said…” In other words, God spoke and things came into being. When John calls Jesus the Word, again uppercase (even as it is translated from the original writing), he is referring to the fact that He was the very power of God in creation. Jesus, Himself, testified to that very same thing in one of the most profound declarations of His power in the eighth chapter of John, which is what was used to open this post.
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” – John 8:58
To get the full understanding of just how bold this statement was, you really need to understand the context in which it was presented; a context not unlike what we, ourselves, might hear today whenever we declare the power and authority of Jesus Christ over all things. The discussion came when the leaders of the Jews came to question Jesus’ authority. In essence, Jesus had called them out on their false witness, even to the point of calling them liars and son’s of Satan. Talk about stirring up a hornet’s nest. They, of course, appealed to their authority as sons of Abraham. In a very simple, yet profound statement Jesus leapt to a position of authority well above Abraham by saying “before Abraham was, I AM.”
Understand that the word I AM was the name of God. It was the same name that God gave to Moses when Moses asked who he should say it was that was sending him to Egypt to free the Israelites. Here it is:
Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” – Exodus 3:13 & 14.
Before we go any further, look back at the phrase in Revelation… “Who is and who was and who is to come.” It’s the same verb, “to be”; a verb that communicates existence. The significance of I AM, however goes well beyond that, especially when Jesus declares Himself to be I AM, because that is the name of God, Yahweh, that was forbidden to be spoken by the Jews. As a Jew, you could refer to God using any number of His names, but you were never to use the name Yahweh, which directly translated into I AM.
You could be killed for just saying God’s name. Can you imagine how livid the Jewish leaders were when Jesus not only spoke the name of God, but said that He actually “is” Yahweh. You don’t have to imagine. John spells it out in the next verse, verse 59 of John chapter eight. “Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”
The Truth Pisses People Off
Is there any wonder that Christians, true Christians, are so often attacked for speaking the truth? The truth is not comfy and cozy. The truth requires that people understand that Jesus Christ is preeminent over EVERYTHING, because HE IS! Where do you think the power to be able to heal the sick, the lame, deaf, the mute, the blind and even the dead came from? Who else can fix something better and more efficiently than the ONE WHO MADE IT to begin with? The same One; the same I AM, the same Alpha and Omega, the same Beginning and End who has the power to forgive sins, conquer death and is THE ONLY ONE WORTHY to open the scroll that lays out His inheritance, as we examined in the previous post.
Friends, why do we cower in fear when it comes to speaking the truth? We are joint heir, even brothers to the GREAT I AM. I submit to you that we will have that truth tested, heavily tested over the next several years. We are not going to be Politically Correct. You can already see it coming. You can already see the attacks that have come toward Christians. I have felt their sting for just trying to speak the truth concerning how God views homosexuality and abortion over and over again. From what authority do I speak? How dare I go contrary to the accepted principles of the day, after all, Jesus told us to love everybody and accept everybody as they are. I must be some right-wing religious nutcase, because anyone who really believed in the teachings of Jesus would never condemn those things. I’m sure that whenever you’ve stood up and declared the truth, you’ve heard similar things. We’ll move on to a discussion of Jesus’ teachings of love in the next post; something that I touched on in my book A Christian Response to Troubled Times. However, before we leave this one, I want to drop just one more bit of scripture on you. This one coming out of Revelation 22:13, the end of the Book.