I was really inspired by the following – thought you might like it too.
From Nicky Gumbel, Alpha Bible in One Year:
Receive the keys of the kingdom by faith – Matthew 16:1-20
The context of Jesus’ teaching about the keys of the kingdom is understanding and acknowledging who Jesus is. Just as we read in the psalm for today, God is looking for ‘any who understand’ (Psalm 14:2b), so Jesus is quite amazed at the lack of understanding of his disciples: ‘Do you still not understand? … How is it you don’t understand?’ (Matthew 16:9,11).
Then the penny drops for Peter that Jesus is ‘the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (v.16). It is within this context that Jesus gives Peter ‘the keys’ saying, ‘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’ (vv.18–19).
The words of Jesus are addressed to Peter. On the rock-like faith Peter has displayed, Jesus is going to build his church. Peter receives the keys of the kingdom. On the day of Pentecost, Peter opened the door for 3,000 people (Acts 2:41). He opened the door for the Gentile centurion, Cornelius, and thereby to the whole Gentile world (Acts 10).
But it is not only Peter who has the keys of the kingdom. Later on in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus gives the disciples a similar authority: ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven’ (Matthew 18:18).
This is the extraordinary responsibility and privilege that Jesus gives to us, his church. He gives us the keys of the kingdom. ‘You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is a yes in heaven. A no on earth is a no in heaven’ (16:19, MSG).
Jesus says, in effect, that the powers of hell will ‘not overcome’ the person who has faith in him (v.18). Rather, the church, armed with the keys of the kingdom, can storm the gates of hell and set the prisoners free.
Lord, thank you that you have given us the keys of the kingdom. Thank you for the amazing privilege of seeing people set free through the preaching of the good news of the kingdom. Thank you for the joy of seeing people set free from drug addiction, alcoholism, crime, and every other bondage. Thank you for your promise that whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
If you want to know more about the Alpha ‘Bible in One Year’ visit https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/bible-in-one-year/id504133402?mt=8CachedSimilar
Kate Henry Leadership Team London Christian Police Family www.LCPF.org.uk