The Church: Keys to the Kingdom.

July 2nd, 2009

Matthew 16:15-19

16:15. He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?''
16:16. And Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.''
16:17. Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
16:18. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
16:19. "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.''
--NKJ

The events leading up to this passage has Jesus talking to his disciples and asking them what others are saying about him. The disciples named off a few prophets. Most people, even today will concede that Jesus was at least a great teacher and prophet. Jesus doesn't stop there, next he gets personal.

Deciding who Jesus is, and what he is all about is a personal decision. You can't take what others are saying and claim it as your own. At some point you have to turn to him face to face, and decide for yourself. Who is Jesus to you? He is who he is, and you can't mold him into your own convenient god. Until you come to understand who he is, as Peter did, the rest of this passage can hold no meaning to you.

Now, in this passage Peter steps up as the spokesmen for the disciples. I'm sure they were silently deciding the matter and arriving at their own, similar conclusions. In simple terms, Peter claimed that he believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Christ. Also that Jesus was the son of God. Doesn't that seem like such a no brainer? But is it? Think about all those times when the disciples had to pull Jesus aside to explain a parable. Even as late as the day Jesus ascended to heaven, ten days before Pentecost they were unsure of what would happen next.

Jesus knew all about the thick heads of his students and acknowledged that this revelation of truth could only be known because it came from God. Look at what Jesus does. He addresses Peter directly. He answered him, not he answered them. Each individual has to come to make his own decision. Each individual gets a personal responce.

Due to his desire to seek after Jesus, and his new discovery by God, Peter is given his new name which means rock. Though he might only be just a little rock, he would be the beginnings of the foundation that the rest of the house of Jesus will be built upon.

The shape and strength of a building's foundation determine the shape the building will take. Peter was being given the keys of the kingdom to unlock a little of what heaven is like here on earth. The traditions he started are to continue their patterns all through the building that would come. The things that he restricted would become the taboos of the church that would later come.

Ask that God will reveal Jesus to you so you can believe and be a part of his kingdom. As believers, we have our own part of the building. Much of the shape of the building has already been set in place. There's still room to fit in and be part of the finished structure. The rocks of the foundation are way different from the shingles that cover the top of the roof, but all parts of the building are needed and important. There's a place that is empty and waiting for you to fill it in.

Come face to face with Jesus. Ask God to reveal the secret of who Jesus is as his son and savior of the human race. He has a key for you as well to unlock your part of his kingdom. Get involved and be part of his building, his church, his body of believers. Through fellowship in a body of believers, start today to discover what the keys of the kingdom will unlock.

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