Keys to the kingdom
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. ~ Matthew 16:13-20
I recently read a great metaphor for Peter getting the keys to the Kingdom: Jesus giving Peter the keys was like a parent giving their teenaged driver the keys to the car for the very first time. Was Peter anymore ready for this responsibility than the average 16 year old?
There's been a lot of debate about this passage between Catholics and Protestants. Catholics use this as "proof" in the primacy of the Pope. Protestants clearly do not.
But in the midst of the debate, there is Peter. Being offered a role of importance by his Master. Being given responsibility that he will prove more than once that he isn't ready for.
Whether Peter is the first pope, as Catholics say, or a stand in for all the disciples as many Protestants say, Peter has authority.
Even though he isn't ready.
What does that say about us? Are we always ready for the responsibility that comes with being a follower of Jesus?
But we are called anyway. We, like Peter, are given the keys to the Kingdom.
So, what will we do with them?
You have trusted your Church, including me, with your mission! Help me to follow it with care, Amen