The keys to the Kingdom
In Matthew 16:13-20, when Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then gives him the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Keys. We sure have lots of keys in our lives today, not only the traditional metal ones, but now cards you stick in the door or even just touch the door. I only need to keep my car key in my pocket and the door will open at my touch just because my key is close. And there are all these mental keys we must keep, now, we need to remember that password for the ATM, or the password to get our email, or the one we set up to access an account, or a program online. Keys are important. They allow us to keep things safe and secure, but they also give us access, open things up for us and can open things up for others. So, what does it mean that Peter is given the keys to the Kingdom of heaven? It means he has access to the Kingdom and can open it up for others.
We too have been given the keys to the Kingdom. When we took on Christ, when we, like Peter, admitted and confessed that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, when we accepted him as our Savior, we were given his gifts, including the gifts of the keys to his Kingdom. What an awesome authority this is. As one pastor, Gary Charles put it, you’ve been given the keys to God’s heart, the keys to God’s mercy, the keys to God’s peace, the storeroom with its unlimited supply of love. And you might say, whoa, I don’t want that authority, I don’t want that responsibility, I’m not worthy of that. Peter ultimately showed he was worthy even with all his faults and foibles. Each of us can do that even if we do feel unworthy, even if we feel like we don’t know enough or aren’t pure enough. We’ve been given the keys to the Kingdom and we are to use them, to share them with those who don’t have them, so that they too can open the door to God’s heart, to God’s love, to God’s mercy and to God’s peace. You’ve been given the keys, use them, share them.
Let us pray: Loving God, what a gift it is that you have given to us, the keys to your Kingdom. Help us to use them responsively, to open doors for those who are in need of your care, and to bring others into your Kingdom as well. Amen.
REV. DALE BROWN is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian churches. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.