In our readings this week in our New Testament Immerse Bibles, in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, I stumbled upon another hidden treasure: the Greek word πάντα, transliterated “panta,” translated into English as ALL THINGS or in some translations, EVERYTHING. This word shows up multiple times in Colossians 1: 15-20, and the root of this word, PAN, meaning ALL, or EVERYTHING, shows up a couple of times as well. Here, highlighted in bold print, are references to ALL THINGS and to the root word ALL in the wonderful Christ song, found in Colossians 1:15-20, .
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
This same Greek word is also found repeated numerous times in two other Christ songs in the New Testament, including in John 1, and Hebrews 1.
In Colossians 1:15-20, pay attention to what Paul is asserting about Jesus in this paragraph related to the hidden treasure, πάντα:
- Jesus is the firstborn over the entire universe, “over ALL creation.” Firstborn is a title of honor, meaning the one who is supreme or master, the primary authority over everything in creation.
- In Jesus ALL THINGS were created. That is all inclusive, including every molecule, every galaxy, all people. Nothing is excluded in ALL THINGS. Jesus made them all.
- This truth is repeated in the phrase, “ALL THINGS have been created through him and for him,” with this additional insight that not only is the entire universe made through Jesus, it is made for Jesus. Our ultimate purpose is to live for Jesus. The entirety of creation is directed to exist for Jesus.
- Jesus is before ALL THINGS. Jesus preexists the universe. This is one of numerous bold statements in the New Testament about the eternal nature of Jesus’ very being.
- In Jesus, ALL THINGS hold together. In your understanding, what holds the universe together? In the Bible’s understanding, Jesus holds all things together, including solar systems and your life and my life. Jesus coheres our lives together. We do not fall apart, because the love of God expressed personally in Jesus is holding our lives together.
- In everything, Jesus has the supremacy. Jesus is over ALL THINGS, the true master of the entire universe, supreme over every human authority, every atom, every distant star.
- God was pleased to have ALL God’s fullness dwell in Jesus, from eternity, as well as dwell in Jesus as Jesus walked upon this earth in human form.
- Through Jesus, God reconciles ALL THINGS to himself. The work of fixing broken relationships across the universe, in every human heart, is done by God through Jesus. All things are able to be reconciled through Jesus. If you have a broken heart, God is able to work there through Jesus to heal and renew your life. If you have a broken relationship, God is able to bring reconciliation through the completed work of Jesus. Jesus is the great reconciler. He does this amazing work of reconciliation, making peace through his blood shed on the cross.
We tend to compartmentalize life, putting everything, all things in separate boxes and categories. This is understandable, and normal. But too often, those boxes do not include Jesus. Millions of people remove God from all their boxes, or try to put God into one of their boxes, and only one: into the religious box. God doesn’t fit into our boxes. God spills over, flows out into all the other boxes.
Think of all the containers in your fridge. They are designed to keep things separated, to keep the fruit salad from being ruined by the pesto sauce leftovers. But ALL THINGS in the fridge are permeated by the coolness. The temperature of a fridge is designed to touch ALL THINGS.
In the same way, Jesus delights to touch ALL THINGS in our lives, moving through the walls we put up, quietly, lovingly touching every part of our life, even when we are unaware of His presence.
As Paul writes later in this same letter to the Colossians, “set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2). Keep refocusing our hearts and minds on Jesus, who holds ALL THINGS together in our lives.