Revelation 22:12–14, 16–17, 20
May 8, 2016
The summary of the decoded message is simply “Jesus wins!” There are times when it looks like the bad guys are winning, but in the end Jesus wins totally and completely. Our reading today is the culmination of the book of Revelation and the conclusion of the Bible. These are the last words of the risen Christ to John and to Christ’s church. We will look at the three titles or names of Jesus in these final verses.
Jesus is the Alpha and Omega
What does it mean that Jesus is “the Alpha and the Omega?”
Four times in Revelation (1:8,11, 21:6, 22:13) Jesus proclaims that he is the “Alpha and Omega.” You might know that alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Like our letters A and Z.
The phrase identifies Him as the God of the Old Testament. Isaiah quotes God in several places with words like, “I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last I am He” (41:4; 44:6; 48:12). The words, the vision of Revelation are not the words of a well-intentioned person. The promised victory or not just hope and maybe. They are the words of God.
This name contains the idea of completeness. He's not just A,B,C. He's not lmnop. He is the whole alphabet from the first letter to the last. Among the Jewish rabbis, it was common to use the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet to denote the whole of anything, from beginning to end.
In today’s world a hardware store might claim, to carry “everything from A to Z.” Sandra Boynton’s children’s book A to Z has an animal associated with every letter. Aardvarks Admiring, Cats Cleaning, and Gophers Grinning. Alpha and Omega symbolizes that Jesus Christ has everything within himself, and needs nothing from any other source.
It is also a statement of eternality Jesus is the beginning and middle and end of all things. Jesus was at the beginning before the creation of the world and he will be at the end of the age. It is equivalent to saying He has always existed and he will always exist. As the Nicene Creed states, “eternally begotten of the Father.” There is never a time nor place without the presence and love of Jesus. Jesus was, is and will be.
Eternal God, in Jesus Christ your light shines in our darkness, giving joy in sorrow and comfort in loneliness. Fill us with the mystery of your Word made flesh, until our hearts overflow with praise and joy, for he is the beginning and the end of all that exists, living forevermore. Amen.
Jesus is the root and descendant of David
We spent a great deal of time on this title during Advent when we looked at the genealogy of Jesus. So, we won't go into great detail today. Just a reminder that Jesus is from the house and lineage of David. That qualifies him to be an heir to the throne of David. The Messiah had to be a descendant of David.
There is also a sense here of Jesus being the root and the fruit. The foundation and the offspring of the family tree. This dual relationship of Jesus to the line of David was the source of the riddle which the Pharisees were unable to answer. We have the story in Matthew 22. While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.
The solution to the riddle in found in the eternity and incarnation of Jesus. Jesus is saying that he is at one and the same time the eternal source of being from which David came (the root) and the promised descendant of David, God’s chosen King. He is the anointed one, the messiah. We can count on him. We can trust him. He will deliver us.
O Root of Jesse, rising as a sign for all the peoples, before you earthly rulers will keep silent, and nations give you honor: Come quickly to deliver us. Come, Lord Jesus.
God of grace, ever faithful to your promises, the earth rejoices in hope of our Savior’s coming and looks forward with longing to his return at the end of time. Prepare our hearts to receive him when he comes, for he is Lord forever and ever. Amen.
Jesus is the Bright Morning Star
Jesus is the star. That symbol recalls the messianic prophecy of Balaam in Numbers. “A star will come out of Jacob.” Jesus is that star.
Not only is Jesus the star, Jesus is the morning star. In a time before clocks the morning star was a promise of a new day. The morning star indicates that dawn is coming soon. The long night is almost over. The sun will soon shine. The morning star is a sign of hope. It is a sign of comfort.
The morning star is the brightest star. The bright morning star chases away the darkness of night. Jesus is the best and the brightest of all. In his light the night of sin and death flees. In his light darkness is dispelled. In the light of Jesus, fear is cast out. The light of Jesus reveals who we are but also promises who we can be.
We have this name to serve as a beacon of hope while we continue to live in this dark world. We have these final promise that no matter how dark our times, Jesus is the bright and morning star. He is the light that shines in darkness. The light that gives life and hope and promise. For the persecuted Christians of John the Elder’s day. for the persecuted Christians in our world today, for any who are devastated by the dark valleys we must walk through, the bright morning star is the promise that a new day, a new opportunity, a new chance at life awaits us. Here and now, and eternally later.
So, John concludes the revelation to the seven churches with these words of assurance: Jesus is always with us no matter where, when or what. Nothing and no one has power over him. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the One sent for our salvation. Jesus is the light of the world that dispels the dark. To them and to us: Trust Jesus. He wins.
Everlasting God, the radiance of faithful souls, who brought the nations to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising: Fill the world with your glory, and show yourself to all the nations; through him who is the true light and the bright morning star, Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.