February 25, 2014

Keys of the Kingdom

Matthew 16:16-19

16 Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Then Jesus replied, “Happy are you, Simon son of Jonah, because no human has shown this to you. Rather my Father who is in heaven has shown you. 18  I tell you that you are Peter. And I’ll build my church on this rock. The gates of the underworld won’t be able to stand against it. 19  I’ll give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. 
Indiana United Methodist Bishop Mike Coyner tells the story of a visit to the Holy Land:
We were visiting an excavation of a home in Capernaum from the time of Jesus. Our guide was showing us the ruins of the house, the various rooms, and then she made an off-hand comment, "Here is the storeroom of the house. It was the only room that was locked, and the person who had the keys was the servant of the household, whose job it was to unlock the storeroom and provide the needed resources for the household."
Then came the realization that Jesus was not giving Peter the keys of the kingdom of God to "lord it over others", he was making Peter the servant leader of the house whose job was to unlock the storeroom and provide the resources.       read Coyner's sermon here