I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven
Matthew 16:13-17:9 from the daily reading in the One Bear Bible
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?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 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. 18 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. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth hall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.
21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. 22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.
28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
17 Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. 2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. 7 And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.” 8 And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.
9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”
Today’s text says: 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 hall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. We have been given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. But it is based on the revelation that Jesus is the Christ; a revelation that we cannot receive from people, but rather only from the Father in heaven. In John 6:44 Jesus says: No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. To believe that "Jesus is the Christ" is to believe that he is the Anointed, the Messiah of the prophets, the Saviour sent of God, that he was, in a word, what he claimed to be. This is to believe the gospel, by the faith of which alone men can be brought unto God. That Jesus is the Christ is the testimony of God, and the faith of this constitutes a Christian.(These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.) It is only in believing that Jesus is the Christ, that we are added to the church He is building. Being added though, we have been given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. With the keys to the kingdom of heaven, we have the authority to bind and loose on earth and in heaven.
In Matthew 28:18 Jesus says: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” Jesus says that the gates of Hades will not overpower the church. The gates of Hades are the places or points from which evil and darkness enter into the world. Secular humanism, the immoral and lawless media and entertainment industry and sadly even our education system and much of our political system, are all gates of Hell; entry ways of evil, darkness and deceit. As believers; as those who are part of the church Jesus is building, we must bind this darkness on earth. It is not enough though just to bind it and to denounce it. In Matthew 12:43-45 Jesus says: “Now when the unclean spirit comes out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they come in and live there; and the last condition of that person becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.” We need not to just bind evil, but we also need to loose what is good. We need to not only bind the darkness, we need to loose the light. Romans 12:21 says: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” We loose light into the world not just by denouncing darkness, but by being the light of Christ to the world. Jesus taught us to pray saying: Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. That prayer is often referred to as the Lord’s prayer. If it is His prayer, then we are not only to be those who repeat His prayer. We are to be those who answer and fulfill that prayer on earth. Having the keys to the kingdom of heaven, we are to loose the realities of heaven on earth.
Heavenly Father thank You for the revelation that Jesus is the Christ; my Lord and Saviour, the Messiah, the Anointed One. Thank You Holy Spirit for affirming and confirming that revelation to me and for empowering me to stand against the gates of Hell. Together may all those who are part of the church that Jesus is building, use the keys of the kingdom of heaven to release the realities of heaven on earth. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.