Our scripture this week is Matthew 16:13-20.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Jesus warns us that “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). This is an awesome responsibility, but we need to understand the full meaning – it’s not our decision but our duty from God. Many people see this as license to approve behavior that is not in line with God’s plan for us. That is not what Jesus intended.
This responsibility enables us to carry out God’s instructions in order to help bring His kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven”. Jesus isn’t saying what we do here will change what is done in heaven, just the other way around – what is sent from heaven will change what we do here. Those who hear His call in their lives and accept the connection He offers will be the ones to implement God’s plan for all the earth.
Somehow this seems an even more awesome responsibility than making our own rules. God invites us to be His representatives to all the world, to carry the Good News to everyone. Binding evil and loosing goodness is not easy, but it is the task given us by Christ Himself.
Loving Lord, we are humbled that You call us to be part of the coming of Your kingdom. Help us to share Your love and grace with all Your children everywhere. Amen.