“ALL authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
There is a marvelous Greek word – “pantes” – which is normally translated in your Bible by the word “all.” Yet, the word itself has two possible implications in terms of its ultimate meaning depending upon the context. In context the word “pantes” can mean “all” (kinds of) or “all” (every single thing). For instance, the Bible says in I Timothy 2:1 – “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for ALL people…” The word “pantes” means, in context, “all KINDS of people.” The next verse gives one such KIND when it calls us to pray for “kings and those in authority.” Likewise, in I Tim 2:3,4 the Scripture says, “…this is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior who desires ALL people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” There the word “pantes” again in context means “ALL KINDS OF.” Then turning to another familiar text, II Tim 3:16, 17, “ALL Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness that the man of God may be adequate and equipped for every good work.” Here in context “ALL” means EVERY SINGLE Scripture. Now why is this Bible translation insight important?
Take a moment and go back to the top and read the familiar Great Commission passage which is of vital importance to the CO ministry. Confident that all of you already know the imperative command to Christ’s Church in the text is to “make disciples” and the process to accomplish this mandate is given through the three modifying participles of “as you are going, baptizing and teaching them” and in light of our theme –EVERYTHING, I thought we might look at a sometimes overlooked dynamic in the Great Commission.
The word “pantes” is found four times in Matt 28:18-20 and each time it has either a significant challenge or encouragement to those of us who greatly desire to be fully engaged in fulfilling the Great Commission. Let’s look at all four of them.
1. “ALL authority has been given to me…” the word “pantes” in context means EVERY SINGLE authority belongs to Christ, therefore, anyone in authority whether it is the state, the church or the family is only there by His appointment and permission and for His purposes. Perhaps even more importantly, your call to fulfill the Great Commission is a call to be, as the Apostle Paul so rightly describes, an “ambassador of Christ”. In light of His authority– Great Commission commissioners who are “making disciples”, do so in the full authority of Christ who has EVERY SINGLE authority under His sovereign control.
2. We are to “make disciples of ALL the nations.” Again in context pantes translated “all” means EVERY SINGLE nation. That is why CO seeks to send Gospel laborers to ALL the world of EVERY nation. Furthermore, Jesus has told us that the “end” will not come and He will not return until this Gospel has actually gone to EVERY SINGLE nation.
3. As we “make disciples”, we are to “teach them ALL that He has commanded”. Knowing that some Scriptural doctrines are primary, some secondary and some tertiary which obviously affects how we teach but our objective in what we teach is EVERY SINGLE commandment given by the Lord in Scripture. This is why the Apostle Paul said, concerning his “disciple-making” ministry – “I am innocent of the blood of all men for I have declared to you the whole counsel of God.”
The first three ALL’s – “pantes” – EVERY SINGLE thing brings to us enormous challenges. How can we possibly, given our frailties, even with a multitude of Gospel laborers, fulfill such an all-encompassing Great Commission? Well, praise the Lord there is one more ALL – “pantes” – in the Great Commission. It is found in the last verse…
4. “I will be with you (literally) ALL the days until the end of the age.” In other words Jesus enthroned on high as the risen Redeemer with EVERY SINGLE authority, sending His people to EVERY SINGLE nation with the Gospel to make disciples by teaching them EVERY SINGLE thing He has commanded now promises by the Holy Spirit to be with us EVERY SINGLE day until the end which comes when the Great Commission has been fulfilled and all of His elect through the Gospel disciple-making ministry of His people empowered by the presence of the Holy Spirit brings the end of the age. There in Glory will be the redeemed, purchased at the Cross and brought by the Holy Spirit through His people from every tribe and nation who have brought the Gospel harvest from by ALL the authority of the Risen King, teaching the whole counsel of God by the EVERY SINGLE day presence of the Holy Spirit knowing He will “never leave us nor forsake us.”
Now, we are ready to go with EVERY authority, to EVERY nation, teaching EVERY commandment, knowing our Lord is with us EVERY day until the end which is really the beginning.
-Harry Reeder (Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church)
Pray for CO Lynchburg:
Pioneering new ministry at Radford University this fall
Virginia Tech ministry/laborers to resource the new Radford ministry
The launching/pioneering of the Radford ministry would be a catalyst to stir pioneering/evangelistic vision and passion for our entire region