‘And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.’ (verses 18,19)
Read Matthew 16:13-20
Peter had just answered the most important question that Jesus asks each one of us: ‘Who do you say that I am?’
On the answer to this question hangs eternal life. Just as Peter could not answer it on his own, neither can we; we too need an answer given ‘directly by [our] Father in heaven’ (verse 17). The answer is the basis of the faith on which the Christian church is built, faith that has been passed down through the ages to you and me. So we too are part of the church which holds the keys of heaven.
Now the ball is in our court. There are people around us who won’t know what to say when Jesus asks, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ We have been able to answer because others opened us to the Holy Spirit by bringing us to baptism and told us the good news. Now we are the ones the next generation of Christians is relying on.
We do not do it alone. We do not convert those we reach out to. As it was with us, that is the Holy Spirit’s task. Our task is be his messenger, bringing Jesus to people who don’t know him.
Holy Spirit, you have created the church and given me the faith that makes me part of it. Live and work in me so that I too can help others come to faith in Jesus. Amen.
by Bob Turnbull, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
Visit the Daily Devotion archives page.