March 23


"Then he placed his right hand on me and said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last" " (Revelation 1:17, NIV).

The book of Revelation is conspicuous for its identification of Jesus as the timeless, ever-present Lord. Here He is called "the First and the Last" (Rev. 1:17, NIV), "the Alpha and the Omega" (verse 8).

John's first encounter with the glorified Lord is in his vision of One like the Son of Man. In the encounter, John falls to the ground exhausted. Jesus promptly revives and encourages him by identifying Himself as "the First and the Last." In this familiar self-designation, Christ assures His church that there is nothing to fear because as "the First and the Last," He is always present and available to save, sustain, and protect His people. He is the ever-present, ever-available, ever-loving Saviour.

Jesus further encourages John with the words: "Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last" (Revelation 1:17, NIV). Those who belong to God's redeemed family have nothing to fear because He is ever-present in their lives. "The First and the Last" is always available to touch our lives as He touched John. In our weakness and conflicts, in our greatest moment of need, in pain and tragedy, the voice of the ever-present Lord declares, "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last" (Revelation 1:17, NIV).

In all that pertains to our existence--both here and in the hereafter--Christ is "the First and the Last." No one in all the universe can precede Him or succeed Him. T. W. H. Myers said it beautifully: "Christ is the end, for Christ is the beginning; Christ is the beginning, for the end is Christ." Ellen White wrote, "It is Christ first and last and always. He is to be with us, not only at the beginning and the end of our course, but at every step of the way."--The Faith I Live By, p. 125.

My Prayer Today: Lord, touch me today as You did Your servant John, And may I hear You say, "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last." Amen.