The Keys (Matthew 16:19)

Photo by Samantha Lam on Unsplash

“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.”

Peter, to whom this sentence was originally spoken, would later preach to the Jews. The Jews are arguably the most resistant people group on the planet in terms of their internal resistance to turning to Jesus for salvation. But at Pentecost, as the Spirit of God fell, Peter preached to them that they should repent and turn to Jesus for salvation. Then, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”  

Peter would go on from there to preach to the Samaritans at the request of the church in Jerusalem. The Samaritans had already come to Christ under Philip’s preaching, but they had not received the Spirit. “Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” 

Peter moved on from there to preach at Cornelius’ house (a Gentile home) by personal request at the homeowner. Scripture records, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.” 

Peter literally opened the door to the Kingdom of God for the Jews, for the Samaritans and for the Gentiles. In this respect, what Jesus said literally came to pass. Peter had the keys to the Kingdom of God for others. Full of the Spirit of God, Peter opened the way for people of other cultures to hear the Gospel. 

But Peter is hardly unique. Peter might have been the first true Christian – the first to publicly confess that Jesus is Christ, the Son of the Living God – but Peter is not the only one to confess that. Each of us who confess the same thing also have the keys to the Kingdom for other people. Each of us who confess Jesus as Christ, the Son of the Living God are to follow Peter’s example. We have keys to the Kingdom of God for other people, and like Peter, we must use them! 

There are people in your circles of influence who do not yet know Christ. They may be of your own culture (like the Jews were for Peter). They may be of the same country, but a different culture (as the Samaritans were for Peter). They may even be of a completely different culture and country (as the Gentiles were for Peter). But they are made in God’s image also, and they are lost. 

They are lost until you use the keys God gave you. Until you – full of the Spirit of God – seize the opportunity clearly given to you to preach Jesus as Christ, the Son of the Living God. Then they will hear the Good News, and they will respond. They will come to Christ, and the Kingdom of God will expand right before your eyes.

This is the heritage of all who are part of Christ’s ekklesia. We each have a part to play. For some it is a small part – to reach just one soul. For others it is a large mandate – to reach many thousands. To each is given a mandate appropriate to our circumstance and gifting, but whether small or large, this is our common call. This is our mission mandate! 

May we all prayerfully and humbly do our part.

If Yahweh alone is God and if Jesus alone is Lord, and if it is God’s will (as it manifestly is in the Bible) that these truths be known throughout the whole creation, then there is a missional mandate intrinsic to such convictions.

Chris Wright

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Do you know who God gave you the keys to His Kingdom for?