“We live on the other side of Easter.” Pastors often sprinkle their sermons with little sayings like this one. But, it’s also a truth—the church age did not take place until after the resurrection. It’s also interesting; too, that Jesus spoke of the church while still on this earth. It’s in Matthew 16:18. He tells Peter that the church will be founded on the truth that He is the Son of the living God. And, He also says that Hades will not overpower it. Now that’s something!
Jesus is pointing out that the church and its’ believers have nothing to fear from Hell. Hell has no power over the church. This same thought is repeated in Revelation 1:18 when He tells John that He (Jesus) has the keys of hell and death. Now since He has the keys, it has to mean He has the ultimate power. After all, everyone knows that the one who has the keys has control of whatever the keys go to.
But, back to Matthew 16, this time verse 19. Here Jesus says that He is giving Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven. What! A mere mortal has the keys of the kingdom of heaven? Of course, this is a spiritual kingdom, not a political or physical one. Matthew 13 contains parables about ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven’ (13:11). He explains, using these parables, what the effect of the Gospel will have on mankind. Peter has the keys. He was the first to say who Jesus was. Jesus identified that God gave him (Peter) this gift, and that Peter would be the one to start the ball rolling by taking the Gospel first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. Peter unlocked the mysteries for those who would believe.
Is this a little discourse on history? No, take a look at Matthew 25:14-30. It’s a warning. Sitting on one’s talent (which is actually a gift from God) will not work to one’s benefit. One must be like Peter and deliver the message.
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