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Thursday, June 2, 2011

A lock and a key

19"And that's not all. 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 yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven."
(Matthew 16:19)

In this passage, Jesus is finishing a discussion with his disciples that began with the question, "Who do you really think I am?"  One of the most revealing questions we can ask is for someone to really begin to openly testify to who they think we really are.  We open the door to allowing others to be honest with us about what we have revealed about ourself in both our words and our actions.  Peter gives Jesus an answer that is just exactly what he hoped for - you are the Christ.  In other words, you are the Messiah.  Jesus had revealed enough of himself that Peter really "got" who Jesus was - or at least he had a glimpse of the truth.

Jesus' response to Peter is revealing - it shows us that when we begin to see Jesus as who he really is, there is much more opened to us in response to that first revelation.  Peter did not really "get" Jesus totally - he had a small revelation of the Messiah that would expand over many years of faithful service to him.  Yet, this was a starting point - it was like a key opening a lock and beginning to reveal the hidden treasures within a room.

Jesus tells him that he is giving him the "keys" to open any door - no more barriers between heaven and earth.  In the King James it says that whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven, or whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  Whether we consider binding or loosing, opening or shutting, we begin to see the value of the keys.  He who holds the keys has access - he also can limit the access.

The key fits or it doesn't.  I had a key ring with about twenty keys on it for padlocks, gates, doors, and I am not sure what else.  It sat in the drawer in the garage for years.  I don't know where it came from - I think we just added to it every time we found a key that we weren't sure about.  One day, I was in a cleaning mood and guess what - I threw them away.  When I finally came across a padlock later that day, I had to throw it away, too.  Why?  I no longer knew where the key was!  The lock had been separated from the key and there was no recognizing the use of the key when it was out of proximity to the lock.  Without the key, the lock was useless.  When Jesus gives us the keys to bind or loose, he intends for us to stay in close proximity to him so that we are always aware of how to use the keys.

In school, my teachers used to let me grade tests.  I usually finished my work early and they'd let me do extra tasks around the classroom that helped them out in the end.  Whenever they did this, they gave me the "key" to the exam.  It contained the answers.  I'd compare the answer on the key to the one the student filled in on their paper.  If it matched perfectly, they got a good grade on their exam.  It it did not, they might have to redo their work or even take the class over again.  That key held the answers and it was very valuable.  The keys that Jesus gives to his kids hold the answers, as well.  There is an unlocking of knowledge in the use of the various "keys" he gives to his kids.

We need to become skilled with the use of the keys of the kingdom - knowing what they unlock and realizing the value or worth of those keys.  When we do, we will likely open much more of what needs to be loosed, and close much more of what needs to be bound.  There are possibilities within each of us that need to be loosed - the key to unlocking those possibilities is already in our possession.  We just need to connect it to the lock!