The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. (Rev. 2:8)
We have already heard God call himself the Alpha and Omega, the first and last (Rev. 1:8). Now Jesus does the same. His second letter, addressed to the church of Smyrna, is introduced as, “The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.” The book of Revelation just can’t make this point often enough. What God is, Jesus is.
It all hinges on the truth that Jesus died and came back to life. That’s a historical fact. It happened. But Jesus didn’t just rise; he is risen. That’s the good news the angel proclaimed on Easter morning: “He is not here: for he is risen.” Jesus is the Living One. “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore” (Rev. 1:17-18).
Did you catch the “Fear not” there? John had just been blown away by the glory of the risen Lord. He was lying at Jesus’ feet like a dead man. And the first thing Jesus said to him was, “Don’t be afraid.” Someone has noted that this is the most often-repeated command in the Bible. Not “Don’t sin.” Not “Believe in me.” Not “Love one another.” Those are all great biblical imperatives. But what Jesus told us more than anything is, “Don’t be afraid. I’m alive. Forever.” Jesus has passed through death into life. Death has lost its grip; it no longer can hold him. Nor can it hold us. —David Bast
As you pray, give thanks to the Living One.