"Christ, the Word of God incarnate, Lord and Son of Abraham; Christ, the radiance of the Father, Perfect God, the great I AM; Christ the light, You shine unvanquished, Light and life You bring to all; Light our path with Your own presence, Grant us grace to heed Your call.
"Christ, the Alpha and Omega, Christ, the firstborn from the dead, Christ, the life and resurrection, Christ, the Church's glorious head; Praise and thanks and adoration, And unending worship be, To the Father and the Spirit, And to You eternally."
The apostle Paul told Timothy, "Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me .... and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 1:13a; 2:2). When false teaching threatened that pattern of sound words, leaders of the early church met to make clear the biblical truth that had been handed down. As a result of the meeting, and in response to false teachers who claimed that Jesus was not truly God, we confess in the words of the Nicene Creed that Jesus is "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God."
Drawing on Scripture, our hymn also celebrates Jesus' identity. He is "the Word of God incarnate," the Word made flesh. He is Abraham's Lord and Abraham's offspring. "God is spirit," Jesus said (John 4:24a), so how can we know what God is like? What does He think of us? For answers, we need only look to Jesus, who is "the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature" (Hebrews 1:3a).
Jesus is "perfect God, the great I AM." The sacred Name I AM was revealed to Moses when God acted in mighty power to set the Israelites free from slavery in Egypt. Jesus identified Himself with that Name, saying, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58b). With mighty acts of power, God saved ancient Israel from slavery. With mighty acts of power veiled in weakness and humility, God saved us from slavery to sin and death. "Christ the light" suffered and died on a day of darkness, offering His life as the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. Raised up from death to "shine unvanquished," Jesus is "the firstborn from the dead." Because He rose, we too will rise; for all who trust in Him, He is "the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25b).
Jesus said, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (Revelation 22:13). He is the beginning—all things were created through Him and for Him. He is the end as we confess in the Apostles' Creed, this present world's history will be brought to an end when He comes "to judge the living and the dead." We know Him by many names, but until that great day we call out to Him in prayer, using the Name we love: Come, Lord Jesus!
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in You I have forgiveness and the sure and certain promise of eternal life in Your presence. Help me to eagerly watch and live for Your coming. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "Christ, the Word of God Incarnate," which is number 540 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Does your Bible have any special tools (articles, chronologies, archaeological info, etc.)? Do you use these resources?
2. Does Jesus saying He is the Alpha and Omega carry any special significance for you?
3. What help are the various creeds (Apostle's, Nicene, Athanasian) to you? Have you read them?
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