Monday, September 22, 2008



He is Alpha, the first, the chief, the foremost, the first-born of every creature, the Eternal God. Man by nature is not the first even among creatures, for angels excel him far; nor are angels the chief, for our glorious Lord infinitely transcends them. He who made is greater than they who are made; and he who sends is greater than those who are sent. Jesus Christ stands Alpha in honorable degree; no angel can vie with him. “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? . . . And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” As for the Son, he hath appointed him heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds, but of the angels it is asked — “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”

Alpha was frequently used by the Hebrews to signify the best, just as we are accustomed to use the letter A. We say of a ship, for instance, that it is “A 1.” So Jesus Christ may truly be said to be the Alpha the first in this sense. Call him by whatever title Scripture has affixed to him, and he is the first in it. Is he a prophet? Then all the prophets follow at a humble distance, bearing witness of him. Is he a priest? Then he is the Great High Priest of our profession; he is the fulfillment of all that which the priest did but typically set forth. Let him mount his throne as king, then he is King of kings, and Lord of lords; “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation.” If he be the builder of his Church, he is the wise Master-builder; if a shepherd, he is the Great Shepherd who shall appear; if the corner-stone, he is the chief corner-stone — in fact, it mattereth not what title, or which character he beareth, he is in all these respects the Alpha, as much surpassing all things that may be compared to him, as the sun excelleth the stars, or as the sea exceedeth the drops of the dew.

From a sermon entitled "Alpha And Omega," delivered December 27, 1863. Flickr photo by Kevin Law; some rights reserved.

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