Matthew 16:13-14,16-20 NIV
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
The keys of the kingdom
Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to Peter to unlock the door of knowing God to all people, including Jews and Gentiles..
What we think of Jesus is of crucial importance.. who we think He is will influence how we speak about Him and witness for Him. The realisation of who Jesus is belongs to those who are His people and who have given their lives to Him. This realisation is a supernatural awakening by the Spirit of God. It cannot be manufactured or worked up as an emotion. It is spiritual knowledge and a spiritual experience.
Peter had this awakening and Jesus tells him that he will be involved in building God’s church. No one or no power will be able to stop this work of God and the people of God who work and witness to it. All Christians need to study the Word so that they can spread the message to those who do not know or believe. The knowledge of the gospel is the keys of the kingdom whereby the people of God show the way to outsiders and give them opportunity to enter in.
Peter is given a tremendous authority over all other powers and authorities. The doors to heaven can be unlocked by God’s people to show the way to God, everlasting life and entry into heaven. This was not setting Peter above the other disciples, or any Christian, as Jesus clearly hated such lifting of one above another. Peter is the one who has spoken out, and he speaks for every human heart who has this same realisation. The comments of Jesus apply to all believers, not just Peter.
The implications for every Christian are huge. If we know the way into the kingdom and can tell others how to find their way there, then we must be involved in that mission. There is no exemption clause. If the way to God has been revealed to me, I am absolutely bound to share the news with others.
We are given this mandate. As we spread the word and live our lives as a reflection of Christ, so the way into the kingdom is made available to all peoples. We have the keys to the kingdom and we exercise authority in sharing the news of forgiveness of sins and faith in Christ.
If we decide that is not for us, we give up our right to be part of that eternal kingdom. If I deny other people the right to know, I am denying them the kingdom. God is sovereign, but how we behave as His people is crucial to winning souls for a God. Times of barrenness in the building of the church of Christ, are attributed to the failure of God’s people to live lives worthy of their calling.
Failing to exercise my authority has consequences for me and all around me…Jesus said
“…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18
As Christian people we need to be involved in that work of the Kingdom. We are jars of clay that hold precious truth inside for the salvation of those who are lost. May our fate not be that of the wicked servant who lost everything by not investing his wealth and producing a profit for the Master.