Second Sunday of Easter (April 3, 2016)
- First reading
- Second reading
Revelation 1:4-8 | New Living Translation (NLT)
This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia.
Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world.
All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
And everyone will see him—
even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
will mourn for him.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”
This year’s post-Easter New Testament readings take us to the book of Revelation. Each one of the readings describe Jesus. This morning we take a look at John’s greeting to the seven churches in Asia. The theme of the resurrection is clear as is Jesus’ return. This reading is full of descriptions of Jesus – most of Revelation is. While Revelation is an apocalyptic book – meaning it describes the end of the world, I also see Revelation as a book of worship. I remember preaching a post-Easter series many years ago on the songs of Revelation. It was inspired partially by these Easter readings and by the CD by Michael Card, called “Unveiled Hope.” There are several passages that describe Jesus, who really is the subject of the letter of Revelation. So what do we find out about Jesus – especially in light of the resurrection that we celebrated last week.
- First we learn that Jesus always was – always is – always will be. Jesus existed at the very beginning and was not created.
- He is the first to rise from the dead – remember he did this on his own power. All who have ever risen from the dead have only risen because of God’s mighty power.
- Jesus is the ruler of all the kings of the world.
- Jesus died for our sins and freed us by shedding his blood for us.
- We are priests in his kingdom
- Jesus is coming again – everyone will see him – this is no secret – everyone will know.
- Jesus is the alpha and omega – that means he is the beginning and the end.
That’s an interesting thought. Jesus – who always was – always is – and is to come – is the beginning and the end. That’s a really big thought for my head to wrap around. That is huge. We are finite human beings. We all have a beginning and we all will have an ending. For us it is difficult to think about forever – it is difficult to think about the idea that God always existed – forever is a tough concept. Not only has God always existed, he will always exist – today and forever. I suppose in our own understanding the only way we see this is in our ever expanding universe. Scientists are still discovering just how big this universe is – and our Jesus is the God of the whole universe. He was Jesus at the beginning of the universe and he will be Jesus at the end. What a wonderful reminder that we serve a God who has no beginning or ending – he is the Alpha and Omega!