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The Word, part 4: The Last Word

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end...” (Revelation 21:6)

To get the last word in an argument is to win the argument, to settle the matter, to say what cannot be refuted or denied. In matters of decision, the one with the last word is the decision maker, the one whose authority matters. Further, a person who is considered the chief expert in a field of study or science is said to be the person with the final word on such matters.

Today we are speaking again of Jesus, this time as the last or final Word. This brings us back around to where we started – with the Word that was in the beginning – the Word that was with God, the word that was and is God, the Word that brought all things into being, the Word of beginning, of creation, of life and love spilling over from the fountainhead of God, who is love. That which began in him finds its terminus, its consummation, its fulfillment in him. It ends with the one with whom it began. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”

We considered briefly that the crowning glory of God's creation, mankind, became bent. We turned from God, disbelieving Him, distrusting Him, preferring the slippery words of the deceiver that tickled our ears to the true and living Word of God. This fatal flaw now loose in creation had to be fixed in order for God's love to finally know it's requital and be satisfied. Thus the Incarnation. God's life and love becoming flesh, becoming Man in order to make things right, in order to bleed and die for the sins of the world, that the world might again be reconciled and restored to God.

In the third installment, we recalled that the ministry of reconciliation that the Word made flesh enacted and began, is to be carried on and furthered by his followers. The church is on mission for the life of the world, sharing in the mission of Jesus. We are his body, his manifestation, his glory, his aroma in this life.

But stories have a beginning and an end. Work begun, eventually is complete and the workers rest. In a conversation, someone gets the first word and someone gets the last word. Dreams are either pursued and realized or they are like morning fog in the sun that just fade away.

How does the Dream end? How does the Story end?

Part of the blessing of the significant relationships that support and comfort us in life (friends, family), is the assurance that their love for us is constant. It won't change or decay over time. Words like “I will always be there for you.” are life-giving words to us. But because we are frail and mortal, our promises and assurances are not foolproof guarantees. We can't always be there for each other. We get sick, or move, or are overcome by adversity and become bitter. We die. But God does not suffer such maladies.

In theology, we speak of the immutability of God. He is consistent or constant in His being. He is who he is. I AM. For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

The apostle John wrote often of God's profound love for the world in Christ. In his last epistle, the book of Revelation, he uses layers of phrases to communicate the immutability, the unchanging nature, or God's loving plans for the world. Here we find Jesus saying: I am the first and the last (Rev 1:17 and 2:8) ...the beginning and end... the Alpha and Omega (Rev 1:8 and 21:6). In part, we can understand these words to mean for God's people, “My love for you will not change. I have loved you...I will love you still. I will always be there. You can lean on me.” But these words also give us time's boundary markers, and we find that all time, all creation, is bounded by a Person – the Word. It's something along the lines of Jesus communicating to us: “Know that all of creation, all of life, all of your days are known to me and encompassed by me and filled by me. I hold it all in my hands. I am not bound by any of it, but rather I establish the bounds of it all. And I am the boundary markers. I am the first and the last.”

It's glorious how the Scriptures record two great words of completion spoken by Jesus regarding his work. One is connected with his redeeming work on the cross at his first coming, the other is the consummation of his creative work and is spoken from the throne after his second coming. In John 19:30, as Jesus is at the end of his life, he utters an agonized yet victorious, It is finished! And then at the end of the last book of the Bible we find Jesus declaring that he is the one who makes all things new. He again utters a word of completion, of victory, of fulfillment - It is done! (Rev 21:6) The word of redemption had to be spoken in order for the word of consummation to be declared. But declared it will be. All glory to the living Word, our Lord, Jesus Christ, now and evermore. Amen.

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