New Years Day
OT: Ecclesiastes 3:1–13
Psalm: Psalm 8
NT: Revelation 21:1–6
Gospel: Matthew 25:31–46
He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new. It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”
For the past month or so at the church I’m a part of, we’ve been going through these different titles of Jesus. So we started with his name and how it means “salvation of the Lord,” and then continued onto Emmanuel and how that title fulfills a prophecy in Isaiah, and continued onto titles like Son of David, Son of Abraham, and Son of God. As part of my job, I assist our pastors in sermon research. So, I’ve been deep reading articles and books about all of this for the past couple of months, which was so perfect during the season of Advent. Each of these titles points back to a covenant, a prophecy, or a promise that the people were waiting for—expectantly looking for. And so I have seen throughout his season just how faithful God is to fulfill all of those covenants in Jesus.
Jesus, not Solomon, is the son of David who established the temple and will sit on the throne forever. Jesus, not Isaac, is the son of Abraham who was sacrificed on a mountain and brings blessing to all nations. Jesus, not Caesar, is the true Son of God who is not only the true ruler of all things, but also is “true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.” He did not come bearing the name Emmanuel—he actually was emmanuel. And in all of these things, we see the faithfulness of God to fulfill his promises. After all, “all the promises of God find their Yes in him.”
This coming Sunday at church we will close the series with Jesus’ title Alpha and Omega, which is also found in our present readings. As I reflect on this title, I can hardly think of one which better displays his faithfulness and kindles our hope. Here are some thoughts on his faithfulness and our hope:
That which he begins, he will also finish. I have dozens of books sitting on my bookshelf that I have begun, but never finished. Sure, I hope to read them someday, but as of now they remain half-finished. I have begun some blog series, which I have not yet finished (though I intend to in good time). Sometimes I begin projects around the house which become piles that are moved into a closet. Am I the only one like this? Am I the only one who leaves things unfinished and loses track of time?
Jesus is not like that. He doesn’t lose track of time. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end; all time is found in him. He doesn’t leave things unfinished. We can be confident, with Paul, “that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Throughout Advent, we joined the prophets and the ancient people of Israel in restless anticipation of the coming of the Christ. During Christmas, I rest in the knowledge that he did not leave them waiting forever. He came. And with his birth a hope is born in me that because he came he will come again. He does not leave things unfinished. But if that is true then why, when I look around, are things so clearly incomplete?
He is the beginning and the end, but we are somewhere in the middle. This truth does not solve the problems of injustice, heal sickness and disease, restore our broken hearts, or remove the weariness of life. But it can give hope. The knowledge that we are currently living in a story yet to resolve may give just enough courage to press on to the happy ending that awaits us.
Are not some of the most favored passaged of scripture the first and final chapters? The creation and the consummation of all things. Why might this be? Perhaps because these chapters are the only ones where things are right and as they should be. They are the alpha and the omega; the beginning and end of our story. They are the parts where Jesus is most clearly present. Because he is the Alpha and Omega. In the beginning he made all things and saw that they were good and in the end he will make all things new. This is our hope!
So may we live with hope. May we contribute to the newness of all things. May we begin this new year with him who is before all things. And may we find our end in him. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
I find it cool the timing of the OT reading
Pretty cool, huh?