Day 13: Jesus is the Alpha and Omega     
Wekutanga neWekupedzisira (Shona)

“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

The phrase “I am the alpha and the omega” appears three times in the Book of Revelation. First, it appears in our passage in Revelation 1:8 where its subject is “the Lord God.” It appears in Revelation 21:1, where its subject is God, and in Revelation 22:13, where its subject is Christ. This usage clearly demonstrates the identity of Christ as similar to that of God; the same way God is the alpha and omega is the way in which Christ is the alpha and omega. The Christ we worship is none other than God Himself.  

The Greek letters Α (alpha) and Ω (omega) are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet. The implication is that God is the first and the last, which “emphasises the sovereignty of God.”  All of history is guided by the one who is “sovereign over its beginning and its end.”  God was there in the beginning before the world was created. He also will be there after all things. He has no beginning or end.  A few verses earlier John identifies God as one “who is, and who was, and who is to come” (verse 4). He is a God of the past, of the present, and of the future. His concern is not just with the beginning and the end, but with all that happens in between. 

In the African context, particularly south of the Sahara, we have the issue of Christians visiting witchdoctors when they are sick. In such cases, Jesus is something that is added to other, pre-existing cultural solutions. Jesus as alpha and omega means that He is sufficient and we do not have to look for other supernatural solutions. He is the one we run to from the beginning, along the way, and the one we run to at the end. 

The people of God in all contexts should find assurance in knowing that God is involved in the affairs of the world and in our lives as well. Not only should we trust Him with the present, but we can trust Him with the future. In this verse, just as it is several times in the book of Revelation, God is known as the pantokratōr, “the all-powerful One” or “the Almighty,” which means He has all the power and is sovereign over all things, including our lives.  As we go through the Covid-19 pandemic, it should be clear to us that we have one who is able to carry us through the pandemic. He was in the beginning and He will be in the end (Revelation 3:14; 21:6; 22:13). 

When the pandemic is at its peak, He is sovereign; when the pandemic is long gone, He is still sovereign. This is grounded in the message of the book of Revelation itself, given what the people were going through. Scholars have noted that the churches addressed in Revelation were facing political, social, and economic pressure. Persecution was rife. In the midst of that situation, God/Christ declares that He is the alpha and omega and the Almighty. That is to say that persecution does not have the last word, and, in our case, Covid-19 does not have the last word. Even when it continues to claim lives and destroy livelihoods, it shall have its end just like all the pandemics of the past. In every situation, our God reserves the right to the last word.

Rev. Dr Gift Mtukwa was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, and currently lives and works in Nairobi, Kenya. He is a Langham Scholar and teaches Bible and Ethics at Africa Nazarene University. He is lead pastor at University Church of the Nazarene.

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