Read: Matthew 16:19
I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in Heaven.
This is one of those passages in the Bible that is huge, and often quoted and misquoted. It seems clear that we are seeing Jesus doing something big, but actually most of us are not really sure what He did or what He meant. In this discussion that took place in a beautiful setting in the far north of Israel, where the Jordan River originates as it flows out of Mt. Herman, Jesus has taken His guys on a retreat to prepare them for His crucifixion. And He asks them a couple of simple questions, “Who do others think I am?” and then “Who do you say I am?” It is here Peter makes one of the most profound statements found in all of the Bible. “You are the Christ the Son of the living God.” To which Jesus replies, “…Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
And then suddenly Jesus drops a bombshell when He says, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
This is the first time the “Church” is ever mentioned by Jesus and then He immediately ties spiritual authority to it. Most of us are well aware that many times throughout history the Church has abused that authority, just as humans have abused all the blessings God has trusted to them. As painful as it is to say this, it is important to declare that people’s misuse of God’s gifts is not a good reason to shy away from them, including the authority He desires us to wield in prayer. Authority can be a very uncomfortable thing. If someone else is misusing it unjustly on us it can be oppressive and very discouraging. If we are entrusted with authority, it can easily become a huge burden just to function in that authority and to manage it thoughtfully. That is why many people just shy away from authority. But Jesus, who had all the authority in heaven and on earth, did just the opposite. He embraced the authority and then entrusted it to us, His Church.
The keys to the kingdom are there for a reason, to unlock the door, the door to Holy Spirit empowered possibilities. These possibilities lie within our reach for a reason, so we will open the door to His power and possibility. The kingdom Jesus spoke of has a king, a ruler, so we are talking about the Lord’s rulership, His kingdom and expanding His kingdom.
“I will give you the keys,” this is called delegation. Jesus is handing us authority, or the keys. If you have the keys you can open the doors. If you have the keys you can start the car. My friend, like it or not Jesus wants to hand you the keys. He wants you to open the doors that will set your captive friends and family members free. Don’t frown on the keys or the authority because others have abused it. Authority used humbly and kindly has an immense power to free other people. Today, surrender to Him and invite Him to empower you with the authority you need to break the chains that bind those near and dear to you.
Father, teach me not to stray away from your authority, but to embrace what you have delegated to me. Holy Spirit, equip me to humbly embrace the authority of the Kingdom and pray with that authority, believing that you will set my captive friends free.