The Kingdom Is At Hand

Big Idea:  Jesus handed Peter and the Church the keys of authority and invited us into partnership with the King. With the keys we have the privilege and responsibility of inviting or prohibiting people into the King’s throne room.

 

The Kingdom is at hand

 

Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

 

For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight!’” 

 

Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 

 

Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 

 

“Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.  “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Matthew 3:1-10 NASB

 

Tag, You’re it!

 

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”   Matthew 16:15-19

 

Jesus was talking to Peter and to the other eleven disciples as he explained how Kingdom authority works. They were very cognizant of the reference Jesus was making to Eliakim, who had been the keeper of the keys, which gave entry to his throne, for king David.  Then it will come about in that day, that I will summon My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your tunic and tie your sash securely about him. I will entrust him with your authority, and he will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, when he opens no one will shut, when he shuts no one will open.

I will drive him like a peg in a firm place, and he will become a throne of glory to his father’s house. 

 

Eliakim was the trusted servant of the king. So faithful was he, that David handed him a large three-foot metal key that opened or locked the door leading to the king’s throne. Eliakim had the privilege and responsibility of allowing or refusing the hundreds of petitioners wanting advice or blessing from King David.

 

He could open the door to whomever he decided, and that person then had direct access to the highest authority in Israel. Or he could lock the door and deny a place to whomever he chose.  Think of what Jesus said to his disciples after his resurrection

“Receive the Holy Spirit.  “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”  John 20:22c-23 NASB

 

Therefore Jesus was saying to Peter, “Ambassador Peter, I’m giving you the keys. You now have them, not me. You loose from prison whom you choose, or you bind up whom you choose. You bring my Kingdom to, or keep my Kingdom from, whomever you wish. The authority is in your hands.”

 

Or, as Eliakim carried the large key on his shoulders, “Access, or denial of access, to the kingdom of God, in your neighbourhood, is on your shoulders!”

 

When Peter wrote to the Church later, he made sure we understood that the conversation between Jesus and him was not just about Peter. It was about all of us. He wrote, “but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

 

In that sentence, Peter explained that we are all Kingdom representatives, as well as priests (spiritual representatives), who have been anointed for the huge task before us.  We each have a significant part in the Kingdom of God while here on earth.

 

But one day we will graduate from this Kingdom school and rule with Jesus for eternity.    And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.  Revelation 22:5 ESV