Jesus, the First and the Last

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What are the challenges that you are facing? What are the fears and concerns that you have?

When the book of Revelation was written at the end of the first century, Christians were experiencing brutal and systematic persecution. Many of them were killed simply because they believed in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

In Revelation 1:17–18, Jesus says: “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” How does the truth that Jesus Christ is indeed the first and the last help us in the challenges and the fears and concerns that we are facing? Let’s consider what it means for Jesus to say that He is the first and the last.

Jesus as the First

For Jesus to be the first means that no one and nothing existed before Him. Jesus Christ is the creator God, as we read in John 1:3: “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” And in John 1:10, God’s Word says regarding Jesus, “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.”

The fact that Jesus Christ is the One who created us means, among other things, that we cannot truly know ourselves unless we personally know Jesus Christ. So in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, we need always to look first to Jesus Christ, for He created us and He purposefully placed us in the situations that we are in for His glory and for our good. This reminds us of the great truth in Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Jesus as the Last

What, then, does it mean for Jesus to say also that He is the last? It means, among other things, that Jesus Christ is also in charge of history and that He is the One before whom all people will have to stand and give an account of their lives.

Practically speaking, there are only two ways to approach God. We can approach God simply to get for ourselves what we would like to have. That means that we are using God for our own ends. In other words, we really believe that the one who matters more than anyone else is us, even more so than God Himself. So in essence, when we live this way, we truly believe that we are the last, not Jesus.

The other way to approach God, the biblically faithful way, is to come to God because of Himself. God is so glorious and so holy that we want to come to Him and experience His love.

Jesus truly is the first and the last, and when we come to Him and worship Him for who He truly is, then He will shower us with His love, and we will be able to withstand any challenges in our lives.

First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.