Sunday, February 17, 2008

Portraits of Jesus: Alpha & Omega in His sacrifice

Back to Jesus as the Alpha & Omega. The next picture that makes up this portrait in Revelation is Jesus as Sacrifice. The scene switches now in Revelation. John gets a glimpse of the throne room and there’s this angel asking who is worthy to open the seals of this scroll (we’ll get to that in a minute). Unfortunately, nobody can do it so John starts to weep, but he is comforted and told the Lion of Judah can do it. Impressive. We’re expecting Aslan to step onto the screen. But John, as we’ll see later, has no problem mixing metaphors. The Lion isn’t a Lion, but a Lamb. And not just any Lamb, but a slain Lamb.

Now you may be thinking, “Justin, you’re trying to prove the greatness, the Alpha & Omega-ness of God – maybe you should’ve skipped this one.” No way. This is probably one of my favorite passages in Scripture, and certainly in Revelation. His greatness, His Alpha & Omega-ness is revealed in His sacrifice as the Lamb. In fact, He is deemed worthy to open the seals because He is the Lamb.

And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." - Revelation 5:9-10
This apparent time of weakness, the cross, was seen as a shameful event for a person and family, but God delights in working through weakness. It is His specialty. His greatness is shown in His humility in accomplishing His great mission to reconcile mankind with God through the sacrifice of His death.

So … while the Alpha & Omega-ness of God speaks of sovereignty and greatness, I can’t help but move my thoughts to the value of Jesus as the sacrifice for our sin. John doesn’t say He died to purchase the just the Jews for God. Not just the Samaritans. Not just the Romans. Not just the known world. He died for every tribe and tongue and people and nation! That’s why we do missions. God is doing a great work in reaching every tribe, tongue, people, and nation and it is our privilege to be part of it. We’re missing out if we don’t.

Get this. The gift of His life is so valuable (He is so great!) that it pays our infinite debt of violating the holiness of an infinitely holy God … and the offer is for anyone.

What do we do with that? Receive it. How? Understand that you’re a sinner, that you are living for yourself, by your own terms instead of living for God, which is what you were created for. Being a rebel requires punishment. Fortunately, Jesus took our punishment on the cross. We need to admit that we’re sinners and then believe that He died in our place and rose again from the grave, proving He was greater than death. And then we need to commit to following Jesus with our lives, being His disciples. That’s what it means to receive this gift.

What else can we do? Worship Him in His greatness. Remember. That’s why we do communion regularly.

This is such a great gift that Jesus has given us, a great way to show He is the Alpha & Omega. What do you do to remember His great sacrifice on our behalf?

No comments: