“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.” vs. 19
Jesus’ promise to give the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter has had enormous consequence in the history of the Church. Since popes have considered themselves to be the successors of Peter, many believe that they have inherited the keys, and with the keys, the power to bind or loose sins. By the time of the Reformation, the papal court had figured out a way to monetize their control of the keys and had begun extracting massive sums of money from desperate sinners all across Europe through the sale of what were called “indulgences.” Ultimately this abuse led to Luther’s protest in 1517 and to the radical splintering of the Church. Obviously, volumes have been written about the historical evolution of Jesus’ gift to Peter, but a more important question has to do with its significance in the lives of believers today. Put simply, it means that followers of Jesus have the power to forgive sins! If they don’t forgive, those sins remain a stumbling block to community on every level. But when we do forgive, the gates of heaven are opened, relationships are restored, and we experience the joy of reconciliation.
The power of the keys is one of our greatest blessings…and is intended–not to make–money, but to free souls from bondage to sin.
Thought for the Day: How do I use the power of the keys?