Summary: What does it mean to us individually that He is the first and the last?
(I began this service with a 4 minute clip from the movie Amistad. The clip begins at 1:35:11 and ends at 1:39: 12
But who was the man in the pictures? He was none other than Jesus, but you knew that, you have the benefit of the book in your language, the benefit of having experienced church, the benefit of dozens of readings of the Christmas story and as many Easter sermons. But who is this man Jesus? He speaks for himself in the scripture that Larry read earlier. The book of Revelation was written by John, one of the apostles about 60 years following the death and resurrection of Christ. Because of his preaching he had been banished to the Isle of Patmos, a penal colony situated in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and the Isle of Crete. If I pull up a map here we can see where the Isle of Patmos is actually located and here is a picture of Patmos today. It looks fairly pleasant, a small island ten miles long and five miles wide but listen to the Words of Sir William Ramsay, “John’s banishment would be preceded by scourging, marked by perpetual fetters, scanty clothing, insufficient food, sleep on the bare ground, a dark prison and work under the lash of the military overseer.” Pretty rugged conditions for a man probably in his nineties, no matter how pretty the view.
And it was here that John tells us he had a vision, a vision of someone he hadn’t seen for sixty years, his friend Jesus. Who now appears in his glorified state and reveals to John the ultimate destiny of humanity. In closing Jesus makes a statement that in 2001 doesn’t seem all that important, or even relevant but to John clearly reiterates the identity of Christ. Revelation 22:13 (quickview)  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
Huh? Well Alpha was the first letter of the Greek Alphabet and Omega was the last letter. Today he would have said “I am the A to Z, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” This statement signified a completeness to Christ. That he is indeed the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Start and the Finish. That he is one with God the Father who describes himself in Isaiah 44:6 (quickview)  this way “This is what the LORD, Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty, says: I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.”
God says “I am the first and the last” and Jesus says “I am the first and the last” How many firsts can there be? Or for that matter how many lasts can there be? But then again we already know that Jesus is God and now we know that he is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Start and the Finish. But what is he the beginning of? And what is he the start of? And what is he the finish of?
He is the Alpha and Omega of Creation If you want to know the beginning of our world you need to go to the beginning of the book. In Genesis 1:1 (quickview)  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. You say, “I’m not sure that I really believe the Biblical account of creation Denn, I’m more of a big bang proponent myself” Wow, you must have a pile of faith, to believe that everything just kind of happened, five Gazillion years ago. Kind of mind boggling isn’t it, when they talk in millions of years. What was it 2000 years ago that Christ was born? So one million years would be 500 times longer than that, 50 million years would be 25000 times longer than the period of time between the birth of Christ and today, the difference between the hour we are in church and a period of almost three years. And you can believe that 50 million years ago, out of nowhere things just appeared, and from that nothing our world was created and eventually we evolved from a single cell protoplasm to what we are today.