Reasons of Jesus Giving Peter Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven
By Yang Qing
I Was Confused When Reading the Scriptures
This morning, after the morning prayer, I opened the Bible and read chapter 16, verse 19 of the Gospel of Matthew where the Lord Jesus said to Peter, “And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” When reading the verses, I thought: There were twelve disciples of the Lord Jesus, but why did He give the keys to Peter rather than the others? What did Peter do so that the Lord was so pleased with him? If I can figure these questions out and act according to Peter’s actions, then won’t I also earn the Lord’s praise and in the future enter into the kingdom of heaven? However, I still didn’t make them clear after reading these verses several times and then I had to eat breakfast first and go to work.
I Found the Answers After Consulting My Colleague
During the lunch break, I inquired of a colleague who believed in the Lord, and she was glad to help me.
She said, “In the past I was puzzled by the scripture, too. Later, I read Matthew 16: 13–19 several times and contemplated them carefully. Thank God’s enlightenment. I came to understand the Lord’s will.
We can see from Matthew 16:13–16 that when the Lord Jesus asked His several disciples, ‘Whom do men say that I the Son of man am,’ some of them said He was John the Baptist, some said Elijah, some said Jeremiah, and only Peter said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ From this, we can see that among the twelve disciples, only Peter knew the Lord Jesus is the coming Messiah, Christ. Peter confirmed the Lord Jesus was Christ through His work and words. No matter how the Pharisees condemned, attacked and judged the Lord Jesus, he wasn’t deceived but just obeyed the guidance and will of the Holy Spirit and followed the Lord Jesus all the time. From this, we know Peter had true knowledge of the Lord Jesus. In addition, when the soldiers came to seize the Lord, Peter darted forward to protect the Lord and cut off a soldier’s ear. His action was a result of being hot-blooded and a little rude, which was not in line with the Lord’s will, but from another angle, in the presence of such a danger, that Peter did this showed he truly loved the Lord. Besides, after the Lord rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, Peter shepherded the churches according to the Lord’s commands and finally he was crucified upside down for the Lord, thereby bearing beautiful and resounding witness. From these things, we can also see Peter truly loved the Lord, or he wouldn’t risk his life to protect the Lord, nor would he pledge to follow the Lord till death and spread His gospel, much less bear the testimonies of submitting to God unto his death and loving Him to the extreme.”
I nodded and said, “That’s right. Among the twelve disciples, only Peter recognized the Lord Jesus was Christ. Peter indeed had true knowledge of the Lord.”
My colleague went on talking, “The Lord Jesus said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment’ (Matthew 22:37–38). ‘If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our stayed with him. He that loves me not keeps not my sayings’ (John 14:23–24). ‘Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 7:21). Peter observed the greatest commandment — loving the Lord, so that he wasn’t afraid of the soldiers and protected the Lord. What’s more, he could even lay down his life and be nailed upside down on the cross for the Lord’s sake, obeying God unto death. This was enough to show that he was the person who followed the way of the Lord. That the Lord Jesus gave Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven allows us to know Peter was a man after the Lord’s heart and his pursuit was approved by the Lord. In order to enter into the kingdom of heaven, we should imitate Peter and be a person who loves and knows the Lord. Only in this way can we receive His promises.”
After hearing her words, I saw the light and said, “It turns out that there are the earnest intentions of the Lord and His expectations of mankind in Him giving Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Then specifically how did Peter pursue to know and love the Lord?”
Only by Imitating the Pursuit of Peter, Will We Receive the Lord’s Approval
Hearing my words, she took out a tablet computer with delight and said to me, “Regarding how Peter pursued to love and know the Lord, I read two passages of words from a gospel website, which explain it very clearly. Allow me to read them to you.
‘Peter followed Jesus for a number of years and he saw many things in Jesus that people do not have. … Jesus’ every move acted as an exemplar for him in his life, and Jesus’ sermons were particularly engraved in his heart. He was very considerate of and dedicated to Jesus, and he never had complaints of Jesus. This is why he became Jesus’ faithful companion everywhere He went. Peter observed Jesus’ teachings, His gentle words, and what He ate, wore, His daily life, and His travels. He followed Jesus’ example in every way. He was not self-righteous, but he cast off all of his previous outdated things and followed Jesus’ example in word and deed. It was then that he felt that the heavens and earth and all things were within the hands of the Almighty, and for this reason he did not have his own choice, but he drew in everything that Jesus was to act as his exemplar’ (‘On the Life of Peter’).
‘After a period of experience, Peter saw in Jesus many of the deeds of God, saw the loveliness of God, and saw much of God’s being in Jesus. So too did he see that the words of Jesus could not have been spoken by man, and that the work Jesus did could not have been done by man. In Jesus’ words and actions, furthermore, Peter saw much of the wisdom of God, and much divine work. During his experiences, he did not merely come to know himself, but also focused on observing the actions of Jesus, from which he discovered many new things; namely, that there were many expressions of the practical God in the work that God did through Jesus, and that Jesus’ words, actions, the ways He shepherded the churches and the work He carried out differed from any ordinary man. Thus, from Jesus he learned many lessons that he was supposed to learn, and by the time Jesus was about to be nailed to the cross, he had gained some knowledge of Jesus — a knowledge which was the basis of his lifelong loyalty to Jesus, and of his crucifixion upside down for the sake of Jesus’” (“Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God”).
Having heard these words, I said to her, “It turns out that when Peter lived with the Lord Jesus, he paid great attention to observing His words and the things that He did.”
She said, “Yes, from these two passages we can see Peter desired to know the Lord. When he was in contact with the Lord Jesus, he observed His every word and action. In the Lord Jesus, he saw much of the being of His divinity. For example, His words are full of authority and power; no one is capable of doing His work; no one possesses His mercy, love, patience and tolerance toward man. In addition, from the different ways that the Lord Jesus treated ordinary people and the Pharisees, Peter could see His holiness and righteousness. The Lord’s revelations and living out are all positive things and can bring light to man, Peter saw many adorable sides of God in the Lord Jesus, and these stirred up his love for the Lord. He took the Lord Jesus as an exemplar, was mindful of His will and had the utmost loyalty to Him, shepherding the churches and spreading His gospel. Besides, Peter firmly kept His words in mind, and always contemplated them and put them into practice. And he examined his own words and actions at all times. If he found there was something that he did was not according to the Lord’s words, he would pray to God and despise his rebelliousness. Thus he resolved to practice on the basis of the Lord’s words and follow the example of the Lord Jesus. Moreover, Peter stood as equal to the others when working and he didn’t put himself in a position of one of the Lord Jesus’ disciples, but only loved God and fulfilled his duty as a creature of God. No matter he encountered the derision of the unbelievers or the persecution of the ruling party, he had no complaints against God. No matter how many hardships he suffered and what kind of trials and refinements he faced, his love of God had never changed. Due to his pursuit, finally he could obey God unto death and love God to the utmost, and be nailed upside down on the cross for God’s sake. The Lord Jesus favored his humanity and his pursuit in believing in God, and knew he was the most worthy to be entrusted with everything and the most worthy of trust. Therefore, the Lord Jesus said, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona … and on this rock I will build my church…. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven’” (See Matthew 16:17–19).
When my colleague finished her words, I felt a special kind of brightness within and truly felt that God could see deep into the heart of man. It is not causeless that the Lord Jesus praised Peter and gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. In the past, because of Peter’s three denials of the Lord, I didn’t understand why the Lord praised him. Now, I realized I was so stupid and ignorant. The Lord considered the essence of a man, but I considered his momentary expressions. If I don’t put my conception aside and seek the Lord’s will, how can I not make mistakes? Through my colleague’s fellowship, I knew Peter was loved by God and he was our exemplar. Though I couldn’t live with the Lord today, I could imitate Peter to pursue to know the Lord, love the Lord and practice His words in real life. Only in this way can I receive the praise of the Lord and have the opportunity to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
I said to my colleague, “Thank the Lord for His guidance that allows me to hear such good preaching and have an abundant harvest. Thanks be to the Lord! Amen!”
She said with a smile, “Thank the Lord! Amen!”
Source: Grow in Christ — The Second Coming of Christ
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