Hello Church Devotion Aug 7, 2013



"F is also for First"


12 "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."  Revelation23:12-16 ESV

The First and the Last is how Jesus identifies Himself in our text for today.  Many equate the “First” with Creation. Therefore, we recall that “in the beginning God created heaven and earth”.  By so doing, we then would also understand “Last” as pertaining to Eschatology or what is meant by “the last things”.  In other words, “Last” would represent death and the life of the world to come. 


The Title “First and Last” shows us the totality of God from the beginning of Creation to the great Day of Judgment and the fullness of the Kingdom of God.  The title, however, does not limit God.  For God stood before all things and will stand always eternal. 

Our lives our filled with firsts and lasts.  These points seem to be highlighted in our memories.  The first time you drove a car; the last time you talked with a loved one; the first day of school; the last night at home before college; the first time you said you loved your spouse; standing last in line; being the first in line; etc.  The list could continue for quite a while.  We constantly are making of highest importance the first and the last. 

Remember the disciples, discussing who would be the “greatest” among them.  Perhaps it was just a wondering of who was in first place versus being in last place.  With that being said, we recall that moment that we first became a child of God in our baptism.  We recount and rejoice in what God did for us then and what the repercussions of God’s activity in our lives meant for each day. 

When we think of Jesus as the first and the last, we could be tempted to forget that Jesus is in all our moments.  Not just the first and the last ones.  When you are “In Christ”, you are connected to Him throughout all the moments between the beginning and the end.  Certainly, the “First and the Last” are connected to the other metaphors given in that verse including: “the Alpha and the Omega”; “the beginning and the end”. 

But, we can also see the preeminence of Christ in that He was the first to die for the sins of the world and He is also the last one necessary to die.  His suffering and death provides the once-for-all atonement for all sin in all time. 



15 Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. Colossians 1:15-23

We are told in the above text that creation was made through Him.  That Jesus is above all created things.  That Jesus is the firstborn of the dead.  Jesus is also the head of the Church.  We are the living body, the gathering of His family beneath His direction and guidance. 



16 So the last will be first, and the first last."  Matthew 20:16ESV

Jesus became the “Last” by humbling Himself, suffering even death on the cross for you and me.  His supreme act of servanthood and obedience from earthly standards made Him “a stumbling block and folly”.  People mocked Him because of His lowly “Last” status.  Yet, God in His amazing turn-a-round, raises Jesus and puts Him into the “First” position.  The last has certainly become First.  Jesus knows the pains of being “Last” and the joys of being “First”.  He has experienced all of life, except that He did not sin.  Jesus can relate to each of us and we have a “Mediator” before God who sympathizes with our weaknesses. 


Things will constantly start and finish in our lives, but Christ is in all and all.  He is in you! 
 
Study:
1.    The “First and the Last” are one of the metaphors used in
        Revelation 23:13.  What are the others?
 
2.    What are some “Firsts” that God has done uniquely for you?
 
3.    What are some “Lasts” that God has promised for you?
 
4.    Do we have a tendency to forget the in-between times? 
        Yes/No  Why?
 
5.    How does Revelation 1:8 further our understanding of God?
 

 
Prayer:
Thank you almighty God, for caring so very much for me that You sent Your dearly loved Son to become the scorned “last” and mocked “servant” for my salvation.  Even though Jesus was perfect in every way, a true “greatest” among men, He chose to humble Himself so that others could be saved through His sacrifice on the cross.  Because of this action, I am now no longer lost, but Your love has found me.  You have taken me into Your household of faith and gathered me with others who also believe.  From that first day and until my last, I will thank You for Your incomparable mercy and love.  I look forward to the last day, when I will be called from this present darkness into the fullness of Your light.  And I trust that by faith in Christ, You will guide me all the days in-between.  In the name of the First and the Last, Jesus the King, I pray.  Amen.  

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