Judgement

I am the alpha and the omega

40 blogs of Lent, day 26

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

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. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practises falsehood.

“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.” Revelation 1:4-8 and 22:12-16

John quoting Jesus’ I am statements are not just in his gospel. there’s this in Revelation, too. Jesus is the alpha and omega, the first and the last. Aptly it comes at the beginning and end of that book.

I said in the last couple of blogs that I have a problem with apocalyptic writings. I do not really know how to translate it, but do know this; This literature is not literal.

Not only do I not like the style of writing, the content makes me uneasy too. Jesus in the vision is getting judgemental. “Bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done,” he says. It just isn’t nice.

There is a problem here. To have justice there needs to be judgement. We love the idea of justice, but when it comes to judgement, especially if it is us who are being judged, it does not sound such a good idea. it does not seem fair, and it certainly is not nice.

AOBut what is the alternative? That for if there is no judgement, I am looking at the small local picture here, do we allow violent criminals to walk around without being tried? No we remove their right to freedom to protect the many. Magnify this up to a global level and you have anarchy. Part of being made in God’s image is that we have a strong sense of justice and fairness.

Jesus came to Earth to not only show us the way to God, but to be the way. It is through his sacrificial and atoning death that we come to know the Father God.

And Jesus will return. Jesus, in the vision that is the book of Revelation, clearly ties his return to being the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end. The end is his return as judge.

Jesus taught about his return clearly, but the harshest words are in apocalyptic passages. I have said before that I do not understand apocalyptic. When I am looking at what kind of judge Jesus will be I look to the more literal passages. When faced with a woman caught in an act of adultery, he did not judge – in fact it was those who would judge that were made to look small, people who should have known better.

It is really easy to find Jesus. Whenever we want to build walls between ourselves and others, as those who brought the were doing, we will find Jesus on the other side of the wall.

If we build walls between ourselves and people of other races
Jesus is on the other side of the wall.
If we build walls between ourselves and people of other countries
Jesus is on the other side of the wall.
If we build walls between ourselves and people of other religions
Jesus is on the other side of the wall.
If we build walls between ourselves and people of the other gender
Jesus is on the other side of the wall.
If we build walls between ourselves and people of other social classes
Jesus is on the other side of the wall.
If we build walls between ourselves and people of other sexuality
Jesus is on the other side of the wall.

This is the judgement of Jesus — when we judge others, it is then that we are judged.

-o0o-

Bible readings are from English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

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