“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'” – Revelation 1:8
My husband and I used to play ultimate frisbee…a lot. In college, it was two hours a day Monday through Friday, plus the occasional Saturday. It didn’t matter if it was raining or snowing, we were out on one of the fields, huffing and puffing. Needless to say, we got pretty good at it.
Even when we graduated, we still threw frisbee all the time together to keep up our skills. On one such occasion, we came across a group of high school club players playing ultimate frisbee in a park. Eager to play again, asked if we could join them. They were gracious enough to let us play with them, but I could tell right away they were feeling confident and self-assured I would be a non-factor in the game. Proudly certain of their skills, they completely ignored me. Their pride made it all-the-more satisfying when my husband and I outran, out-threw, and out-caught them the whole game.
Isn’t that how we react to pride all the time? We see someone boldly confident and proud and we just love to watch them fall. We resist siding with them on any occasion because we don’t want to puff them up even more. Pride rubs against our nerves like sandpaper.
In Revelation 1:8, it seems like God is puffing Himself right up. The very first words John writes about God saying are, “I am the Alpha and the Omega…who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” The rebel in you just wants to say sarcastically, “Well good for you!” After all, while He’s being “Almighty,” things seem pretty rough down here.
But this isn’t God bragging Himself up, wanting us to feel how puny we are and how much bigger and better He is. This is not God lording over us (though He certainly has every right to.) Revelation was written in a time when Rome was actively murdering Christians. All of the Apostles, except John, had already been murdered for their faith, and John was in exile on a prison island, where he would ultimately die. This is after Rome had taken up the practice of sewing Christians into animal skins to be mauled to death by wild dogs in the arena, tying them up to huge stakes and setting them on fire as “Roman candles”, and crucifying them by their hundreds.
In that light, God’s bold statement of His power and authority is actually God reassuring and comforting His people. The most powerful Empire on earth is hunting down and murdering God’s people. It seems like dark, hopeless days facing a power they cannot possibly overcome. But God reminds His people HE is the one with the first say (Alpha) and the last say (Omega). The one who has existed before time, throughout all time, beyond the end of time (who was, and is, and is to come), the one who has ALL power and ALL authority to govern the universe (the Almighty). Evil may come, but it will not overcome Him…nor those who belong to Him… no matter what source it comes from.
And that same promise holds true now. In a world that seems to be spinning out of control, where Christians are more-and-more ignored and sidelined for speaking the Truth, where fact and fiction are intertwined so tightly it’s hard to know what’s really going on in the world, when everything seems to be a physical or verbal conflict…when violence is a norm…when it seems like nothing can ever get any better… God says to us, even today, “I am the Alpha and the Omega…who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” He has the power and always will have the power to overcome the evil in our world. No matter how dark things become, He is reigning – He is winning – and where He reigns and wins…so do we. There is real hope in Him.
No matter what.
- Do you ever feel like God isn’t interested in what you’re going through? Why?
- What do you think it felt like to live through what the Christians were living through when John wrote Revelation?
- How can you see God winning over evil in your day-to-day life?
- Challenge for the Week: Go to Voice of the Martyrs and look into how Christians are being persecuted around the world. Commit to praying for a specific persecuted Christian group or Christian for the week.