A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z.” Hailey looked at her three-year-old brother. “Okay, Curtis, now you try.”
Curtis looked like he was thinking intensely. “A!” he suddenly shouted, and then, after a pause, “Z!”
“Ugh!” Hailey put her hand on her head in frustration.
Dad, who was watching the whole thing, began to laugh.
“I’m glad you think this is funny,” Hailey said. “I’ve been working with him for an hour, and he’s just not getting it.”
“Why is it so important that he know the alphabet right now anyway?” asked Dad.
“Jenny and I are having a race,” replied Hailey. “I’m trying to get Curtis to learn the alphabet before she teaches her dog to sit and roll over. If Curtis learns the alphabet first, I get to pick the movie we watch this weekend.”
Dad chuckled and shook his head. “You guys are silly.”
Hailey laughed. “Yeah, I guess.” She put her head in her hands and sighed. “Yesterday Jenny asked me a question that made me feel really silly. She asked me how old God is. I didn’t know what to say.”
Curtis walked over to where Dad was sitting, and Dad picked him up and put him in his lap. “Well, Curtis just told you the answer,” he said.
Hailey gave her dad a confused look. “But all he said was, ‘A, Z.’ That’s not a number.”
“In the Bible, Jesus says He’s the Alpha and Omega–the beginning and end. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, like our A and Z. God is A to Z, just like Curtis said. He always was, is, and will be. He doesn’t have an age.”
“So God has no beginning or end?” Hailey asked.
“That’s right.” Dad’s eyes twinkled. “And yet, He was born–and also died.”
“But wait, you just said…” It took Hailey a moment to realize what Dad meant. “Oh, I get it–you’re talking about Jesus! He was born as a baby and died on the cross for us.”
Dad nodded. “Jesus is God, who is eternal with no beginning or end, but He was willing to become human and die for us so we could have eternal life.”
“Wow,” said Hailey. “He really sacrificed a lot to save us!”
Today-Sunday, November 25, 2018-marks the end of the church year. Next Sunday-December 2, 2018- the season of Advent starts. Advent is a season when we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus over 2,000 years ago and his eventual return to be our king. Today we celebrate Reign of Christ Sunday, also known as Christ the King Sunday.
It is not an ancient festival in the Christian calendar. In fact, it was only established by Pope Pius XI in 1925. It was established at a time when Europe was in chaos. Inflation was rampant, and colonialism was at its worst. The seeds of evil that would eventually grow into the Holocaust and World War II were being planted. Pope Pius XI established the Festival of Christ the King to declare that Jesus Christ is king. He is the goal of human history, the joy of all who hear, and the fulfillment of man’s aspirations.
Every king must have a kingdom. It is there that we come into play. God’s kingdom is all around us and we are called to give faithful witness to it. We are members of the kingdom and we are called to show others this glorious kingdom that they too are a part of even if they don’t realize it.
Revelation 1:4-8 has four descriptions of Jesus:
- The author of grace and peace
- The faithful; witness
- First born of the dead
- Ruler of kings on earth
John then goes on to describe Jesus as the one who loves us and who has set us free from our sins by His blood. The word “blood” means that Jesus:
- has made us a kingdom
- has made us priests
- has received glory and dominion forever
- is coming again as our king
John gives us a look into the kingdom theology of the New Testament. God’s kingdom is seen in terms of our relationship with God. Ordinary people who accept Christ as their Saviour will become Christ’s servants and His kingdom in the world
Jesus Christ is described as the one who loved us, freed us from sins and lifted His people up. The word “washed” could more literally be translated as “loose” or “freed.” The word also recalls that the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Jesus has likewise freed believers from their sin. This action makes us a kingdom and makes us priests to serve Him. We live our kingdom role when we love and live as Jesus our King would have us love and live. We are priests when we intercede on behalf of other people in prayer and share the Gospel of forgiveness in Christ. Our identity as priests is shaped by Christ’s identity as our king.
Only in the Book of Revelation is Christ given the title of “faithful witness.” He was a genuine martyr, faithful unto death. Jesus’ earthly throne was a cross. Jesus chose the way of obedience and humiliation, but in doing so He was exalted to God’s right hand where He is our Lord and King, ruling over all the rulers of the earth. Kings protect their subjects, including dying for them. Revelation 1:5-6, with its emphasis on love, service and sacrifice, captures the essence of Jesus. He loves us unconditionally. He has freed us from sin forever. He cares about the intimate details of our lives, just like kings care for their subjects. He has made us in His image to serve God in His kingdom here on earth.
Verses 7-8 present the theme of the entire book: the return of the King and establishment of his rule over the kingdom. The word “coming” expresses the return of Jesus. It describes the arrival of the king and the changes in the situation that His arrival produces. Believers of Christ are called to become united under the rule of Christ. Christianity and the world don’t always align. Our allegiance to Christ must take priority, even if it means resisting a political regime, an economical organization or cultural systems.
The words “Alpha” and “Omega” are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Here they point to the eternity of Christ and to His all-inclusive power. Jesus is the boundless, timeless, and powerful One. He is the most important person in the entire universe because He is our King. He thinks that we are important. He gave His life for us because He is our king, and as our king He loves us.
We must not forget about our responsibility for Jesus’ suffering. We caused it because of our sin and we need to have our broken relationship with God restored. Those who crucified Jesus will see His loud, thunderous return and mourn. For those who have accepted Christ as their Saviour, the days of mourning will be over. When He returns, He will bring peace just like good rulers do.
In worldly terms, the reign of Christ was a failure, but in reality it wasn’t a failure at all. We understand Christ’s kingship in the light of the cross. In His darkest hours, when He was abandoned by His followers and underwent one of the cruelest forms of death known to mankind, He revealed His eternal kingship to the world. His death and resurrection were the manifestation of Christ’s glory.
If we know that God loves us with an unconditional love, nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ our king. King Jesus will make all things right in the world when He returns. Right now we can’t see Christ the king, but he is there on the throne at the centre of the universe, ruling all things according to the plan of God. Grace and peace are ours. He will come again, as he left, “with the clouds.” Though only the disciples saw him go and no one sees him now, everyone will see him when he returns-even those who crucified Christ. Grace and peace will be ours then too.
This is not a holy day to celebrate a day to come, but rather it is a holy day that reminds us that at the very end of all one thing has remained constant and will forever remain constant-Christ is king! Christ is a good and faithful king who has been with us through it all. Christ is not just a future king that will one day come. Christ is the current king who has reigned forever and ever and will reign forever and ever.
With Jesus as the faithful witness and our Saviour, we are members of a kingdom that will last throughout time and beyond time. We can find comfort in knowing that Jesus reigns now and forever, in both the good times and the bad times. Our understanding of who Jesus is will determine our eternal destiny after death. Is Jesus the king of your heart?
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p.1838)
- Palmer, E.F. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 35: 1,2&3 John/Revelation (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982; pp. 110-114)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers: 2006)
- “How Old is God?” Retrieved from email@example.com
- “Receive.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- “The Grandness of God.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Anne Graham Lots, “Just Think on Jesus.” Retrieved form www.angelministries.org
- Ron Moore, “The Revelation.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Kenneth L. Samuel, “Facing Injustice.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joni Eareckson Tada, “The Second Advent.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Dr. Charles Stanley, “An Introduction to Christ.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Fr. Robert Verrill, O.P., “A Pope’s Hope.” Retrieved from www.torch.op.org
- Tracey Hinkel, “Revelation 1:4b-8.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pastor Jack Hibbs, “Revelation 1:8.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Stan Mast, “Revelation 1:4-8.” Retrieved from http://cep.calvinseminary.edu/sermon-starters/proper_29b/?type=lectionary_epistle
- Violet Nicolet-Anderson, “Commentary on Revelation 1:4b-8.” Retrieved from www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1468
- Brent Neely, “Revelation 1:4b-8.” Retrieved from www.aplainaccount.org/revelation-14b-8/