Keys to the Kingdom

18 08 2016

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. (Matt. 16:13-19)

Life’s most important question – and Peter nails it! Who is Jesus? The Christ, the Son of the living God. But that’s a sermon/article for another day.

What is the rock upon which Jesus will build His church? Is it Peter himself? Is it the confession of Peter? Again, a sermon/article for another day.

What has always intrigued (perplexed) me about his passage is the last verse. What does Jesus mean about binding and loosing? What’s He talking about? I’m not saying it hasn’t been there all along. The meaning has been staring back at me for as long as I could read the words on the page. Probably my biggest problem has been thinking too much, or rather too complex. It’s rather simple, I believe.

Further, it’s not that I had mis-interpreted verse 19. I had no interpretation to speak of. I simply shrugged my shoulders. However, as has happened from time to time in my spiritual walk, I believe the Holy Spirit has illuminated something for me. I believe that Jesus is telling Peter (and by proxy, all disciples throughout all time and place) that He is preparing to leave. He will no longer hold the keys to the Kingdom, but is handing them over to human hands. To quote Matt Papa,

The keys of the Kingdom were placed into hands
Of children and priests and of fishers of men

But you probably already figured that out. Yes, it’s obvious that the keys are given into human hands, but what do the keys look like? How do they function? What are we binding and loosing? To answer these question, I want to offer a few others.

  • Who is “the door?”
  • What is the key that unlocks the door to the Kingdom of Heaven?
  • As followers of Christ, with what have we been entrusted?
  • As followers of Christ, what is my mission?

The answer to all of these questions…Jesus Christ and the message of the gospel. The gospel unlocks the door to the Kingdom. The gospel has been entrusted to humans. The gospel in every ear, shared with every person is my mission. It’s an enormous responsibility with eternal ramifications. To bind/loose can also be said to close/open or lock/unlock. As I share the gospel, I share the keys that unlock the Kingdom. The door is loosed. When I fail to share the gospel, I bind people to eternal damnation.

Now the question – What you going to do with the keys?