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.”
Revelation 1:4b-8 (New Living Translation)
This is the last Sunday on the church calendar. Next week begins Advent and a new year. Starting next week, we will be looking at the Gospel reading for the next three years.
We finish the church year in the opening paragraphs to the book of Revelation. It is the last book in the Bible – a prophetic book – and an apocalyptic book. Many have tried to “decode” its meaning. We aren’t looking at the greater part of this book, but the opening paragraph where Jesus speaks to John. This is the same John who wrote the Gospel of John and 1, 2, 3 John.
The book is written to seven churches in Asia – the region we now now as Turkey. Jesus declares here that he the one who is, who always was, and is to come. Jesus has always existed from the dawn of time and Jesus will continue to exist. Jesus even existed here on the earth. John reminds us that Jesus was incarnate – that he dwelt among us as a human.
Here Jesus reminds us that the everlasting one loves us and freed us from our sins through the shedding of blood. This is an amazing statement. I ask the question in tomorrow’s sermon, “What kind of King would lay down his life for his subjects?” Just this week, I was introduced to a song called “How Many Kings.” Here are the lyrics:
‘Cause how many kings step down from their thronesHow Many Kings – Downhere
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Not only did Jesus — the King of Kings — lay down his life for us, but He also rose from the dead. John records that he is the first to rise from the dead. John also records that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end – the first and the last. Jesus is the one who reigns forever and he is worthy of all of our praise!
One day, Jesus is coming again. John writes: “Look! he comes with the clouds of heaven…” For those who have placed our trust in Him, we too have the promise that Jesus is coming back again and we will then be able to have eternal life. As an old praise chorus goes:
All hail King Jesus, All hail Emmanuel
King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Bright Morning Star
And for all eternity I'm going to praise Him
And forevermore I will reign with Him
As we gather for worship tomorrow, we remember that Jesus is the King that will reign forever.