Illustration of the Month: Alpha and Omega

By Hillary Asbury

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:1-5

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  John 19:30

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”  Revelation 21:6

I never knew why, but the description of God as the Alpha and Omega, the first and last, always seemed a little odd to me. It just didn’t seem to fit, for some reason. It seemed passive and immaterial. It didn’t seem to go along with the way I knew God has always worked. Our God is a God of action. He creates, destroys, judges, forgives. The world was plunged into sin and God took action, sending us a Savior. He does work through physical means. We are saved by the waters of baptism. We are forgiven through the physical means of communion. So, it just didn’t make sense to me that God’s eternity should be defined by these symbols so often. I thought that there had to be more to it than that, another layer or meaning that I was missing.

When I started this illustration, I started thinking of it as more of a telling of who Christ is, and what He does. Christ is the beginning of all things: present and active at the creation of the world, bringer of new life and salvation, healer of the weak and wounded.  Christ is the end of all things: who died for us and rose again, the end of sin and death, in Him we are reconciled and made whole. This is Christ as Creator and Author, as the final sacrifice, and the completion of our faith. He is where we begin, where we end, and where we rest in the promise of eternal life.

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