02052019ONTHESIDE

On the Side: February 2019

Keys to the Kingdom
Sharon Chatwell

I have keys to lots of things. I have keys to the house, keys to the car, and keys to the safe deposit box. I even have a key to my husband’s office!

Not that I use them every day. Some keys I use only very rarely.

We have a “key jar” at our house. It holds things like extra keys to the car, a key to the lawnmower (which we aren’t using right now), a key to the snowblower (which we are using right now) and keys to other things that I’ve almost forgotten I have.

But all of these keys point to one thing: Authority.

That’s right. You heard it here first. You don’t have keys without the authority to use them. My house key means that I have the right to open the front door and walk right in! The car key means that I can get in the car and drive it around (with a valid license.) And, yes, the key to my husband’s office means that I have access to it, even though I can’t go in and “doctor” his patients, like he does.

You have keys, too. I’m sure of it. And they allow you to go in and out of all sorts of places. You wouldn’t have these, if you didn’t have the authority to use them.

The Bible talks about the Keys to the Kingdom.

After Peter’s confession that Jesus is “…the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus told him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:16, 17-19 (NASB)

All of this binding and loosing sounds a bit confusing. Perhaps it is easier if we think of it as locking and unlocking; like with a key! And, how is it that what we bind down here has any effect on what is bound in heaven? I think it comes down to the tense of the verb (future perfect – passive) which means that “it shall have been done” (already) in Heaven. So, basically it is done first in Heaven and then done here. Nobody surprises God.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary points out that the phrase, “I will give you the keys” means that it doesn’t happen while they are speaking at that moment, but that it will happen in the future. He says that meant after Christ’s Resurrection.

He also points out that since Peter and the other disciples received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, after Jesus’ Resurrection, it means that the keys to the kingdom were given to them all. We as the church have the Keys to the Kingdom. We can open and shut doors (or loose and bind things) as Jesus said, in His name.

It is all too often that I worry about what is going to happen tomorrow. What if I make a decision today that is going to mess things up in the future? (Not a decision about whether I should do something that is good or bad. Those decisions are clear. I may choose to do something bad, but that’s not an unclear decision.)

What I’m talking about is this: How do I decide between two things that both seem good?  For Example:  Do I wash the car or take the kids to the park?  Which one is better?  Can I do both? Which one do I do first? If I do one good thing does it keep me from doing the other good thing? How do I decide between better and best?

As women married to physicians, we have our own set of unique questions:  Which residency program do we rank the highest? Which town do we want to live in? Can we really leave our home state and live somewhere else for a few years?

If I unlock one door, do I lock another one? Or, just by walking through this open door, do I negate my chances of walking through the other one?

When we are working for the Kingdom of Heaven, of which we (as the church) have the keys, I think we get to make decisions. “If the Lord wills we will live and also do this or that.” James 4:15 (NASB) We do our best, God helping us, to make decisions about what ought to be happening next. And we have the authority from Jesus to do so. We don’t see the future, but we can trust in the One who does.

There is a verse that I helped teach to some children recently, which has already been useful to me several times since then, including in this article. “The mind of a man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)

We can know, as we walk through this uncertain world, that the Lord is directing our steps. This can be very comforting, especially during those stressful times like when we and our spouses are waiting for the results of Board Scores or the Match!

It may also help to remember that Jesus has keys as well. In Revelation 1:17-18 He says, “I am the first and the last,and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” (NASB)

We serve the Risen Christ who has bigger and better keys than we have!  Let’s trust Him to help us use our “keys” and our opportunities, as He sees fit! Amen.


Sharon is the wife of a physician, as well as a mom and a grand mom, living in beautiful Lincoln, NE. She says that there are currently 10 inches of accumulated snowfall all over her yard. She has not personally used the key to the snowblower, but invites any of you who are so inclined to drop by and shovel snow. She says that she is waiting patiently for Spring, when she will undoubtedly get to use the key to the lawnmower.

Christian Medical & Dental Associations®

About Christian Medical & Dental Associations®

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations® (CMDA) is made up of the Christian Medical Association (CMA) and the Christian Dental Association (CDA). CMDA provides resources, networking opportunities, education and a public voice for Christian healthcare professionals and students.

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