Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
ENGAGED: The Call to Be Disciples
Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
“I AM the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8
I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Revelation 22:13
Good morning Prayer Team!
We don’t read from the Book of Revelation during church services in the Orthodox Church. The book was accepted into the Canon of Scripture with the provision that it not be read in the church. Because up until recent centuries no one but the clergy could read, this book was unknown to the faithful. Now that we all have Bibles and can read, many people have read through this last book of the Bible, which was written by St. John the Evangelist and Theologian, and was his vision of the Apocalypse as revealed to him by the Lord.
In this vision, Jesus reveals Himself as “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:13) This is a very profound statement. Here is a great exercise: Write down the words “I am” on a piece of paper and follow them with as many things as you can think of. For example, I am a priest, a husband, a father, a homeowner, a male, a college graduate, a son, a brother, a citizen, a taxpayer, a sports fan, a Christian, a patient, a client, a resident of Florida, a traveler, a son-in-law, etc. I could probably write 100 things down following the “I am”. And then I would run out of things to write. Eventually, we would all run out of things to write.
For Christ to reveal Himself as “I AM” is to say that He has no beginning, and no ending. He is uncontainable, indescribable, infinite, beyond comprehension, with an infinite number of things that can be ascribed to Him. That is very profound indeed.
Christ (the Word of God) was present from the creation of the world, “In the beginning” (Genesis 1, John 1). There was never a time when He wasn’t. He IS, at work in the world today. He is TO COME. There will never be time when there will not be a Christ. He exists from eternity to eternity. There is no beginning and there is no end because wherever beginning starts He was before that and wherever end may be, He will go beyond that.
This last I AM of Christ reminds us that Christ should also be our Alpha and Omega, our beginning and our end and everything in between. We should start our day with Him in prayer, end our day with Him, and think of Him throughout the day. He shouldn’t just be someone we think of once a week or on holidays or in times of crisis, but at all times and in all places.
The purpose of these several reflections on the “I AM’s” of Christ as we begin our study of “Called to Be Disciples” is to remind us before we discuss why we should follow and how we should follow, WHO it is that we are following. Jesus is
I AM (Exodus 3: 14)
The Bread of Life (John 6: 35, 48, 51)
The Light of the World (John 8:12, 9:5)
The Door (John 10:7, 9)
The Good Shepherd (John 10: 11, 14
The Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
The Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14: 6)
The True Vine (John 15: 1)
The Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 1:8, 22:13)
We will continue our discussion tomorrow with a five day study of the “Names” of Jesus.
Lord, thank You for Your many blessings on my life. Thank You for my beginning, for bringing me into this life. Please walk with me through this life. Please walk with me through the end of my life. And by Your grace, grant me eternal life. Amen.
Start and end your day with Christ. Keep Him in the front of your mind at all times.
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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