Back to Catalog List
Common Lectionary: Proper 16A, Confession of St. Peter
The Keys of the Kingdom that Jesus gave to Peter are not about earthly status, but about opening the Kingdom of God to all people--a task all believers are called to do through suffering, self-denial and dedication.
Keywords: - Power, Status, Peter, Disciples, Suffering, Cross-bearing, Following Christ
Key Scriptures: - Mat 16:13-26
Other Scriptures: - Mat 18:18, Joh 20:21
Click here to listen to sermon. Click here to read sermon notes.
1. Keys of the Kingdom
a. Not about earthly power or status
b. About the Kingdom open to and bringing life to all
2. Kingdom, Suffering, Self-denial
a. We must take up our cross to follow Jesus
b. We must avoid the idolatry of self-indulgence
c. Self-denial in our time, money and talents
Jesus giving the “Keys of the Kingdom” to Peter was not a bestowal of power or status; Jesus was asking Peter to be responsible for the ‘project’ of a new participation in life in the Kingdom. Jesus told Peter, “Whatever you bind on Earth will be bound in Heaven; whatever you loose on Earth will be loosed in Heaven.” Two chapters later he said the same thing to the rest of the disciples, so apparently they must have the keys also! The intent of the keys is not to have a doorkeeper to regulate who comes the Kingdom, but is a charge disciples to see that the Kingdom is open to all. Are we good key-keepers? Do those who mourn find comfort? Do the pure in heart see God? Unlike the teachers of the Law, who hinder people from entering the Kingdom, we are to proclaim the openness of the Kingdom, making its wonders known. Jesus immediately speaks of mutual suffering and death, saying, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” There is no way around the cross if the Kingdom is to become a reality. Unlike the ‘self-indulgence’ or ‘gratification of self’ practiced and worshiped so freely in this culture, the Kingdom advances only when its subjects follow their King’s practice of self-denial. Examine yourselves in the three basic areas of time, money and talents. How do you use these? Are you self-indulgent or self-denying? Do you use your time, money and talents as a gift from God, with wise and disciplined stewardship? Do your hobbies become more important to you than the Kingdom of God? Adherence to the spirit of indulgence spells death for the Kingdom. Significant Kingdom advances have always required self-denial, hard work and dedication on the part of believers.