My reflection today is centered around keys. In a world where security and fear seem to reign prominent, we seek to continually improve our expertise in protecting what we have acquired. In the physical world we seek the best locks to keep out those who want to rob us of our property and possessions. In the world of technology, our newly acquired locks come with video surveillance so at least we can help authorities catch the perpetrators after the fact. When these perpetrators are captured and convicted, we have devised prisons with state of the art locking systems to separate them from society at large so they will cease their stealing.
Some years ago I had the opportunity to be a part of a meeting where the discussion around the table related to ministry by community clergy. One particular minister shared a story about a man he sought to help. We’ll call him Jason. In the minister’s belief he thought if Jason ever died never making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ he would go to hell. The minister had tried numerous times to get Jason to profess Christ to no avail.
He shared an additional story about another man by the name of Carl. The minister thought Carl had made such a profession of faith during a worship service he was in. He felt that if Carl ever died he would enter into heaven based upon his profession. As the minister’s story continued to unfold he shared that Jason and Carl were acquaintces and that to his knowledge Jason never made a profession of faith.
The twist in the story came when he shared that Carl learned that Jason had assaulted his wife and due to this assault went and murdered Jason. Then he shared that Carl was killed in an auto accident trying to escape the police after the murder. Later it was learned that evidence proved by surveillance cameras that Jason had in effect chased away the perpetrator coming out of Carl’s house.
The dilemma for this minister surfaced when his theology came into question. The question regarded the good deed of Jason with no profession of faith and the murder of Jason by Carl who had made such a profession of faith. Both men were now deceased. I watched this minister struggle as he tried to find some kind of spiritual solution.
The story I shared with this minister came as a result of a recent happening in my life where my wife and I purchased a new house. As we attended the closing at the representing attorney’s office, we had numerous papers to sign in order to finalize the sale. As we were leaving, the real estate agent handed me a folder. As I investigated the contents of the folder, I discovered a set of keys. You can imagine my excitement at this discovery. We drove to the new home address. I took one of the keys and inserted it into the deadbolt lock in the front door and sure enough the key turned and unlocked the door and all of a sudden we walked into this newly purchased home. Because my wife and I now possessed the keys, we could come and go as we pleased.
As I shared this story with this struggling minister, I held up for him the passage in the bible book entitled Revelation chapter one and verse eighteen. In essence it says, Jesus speaking, “I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” The word translated hell in this passage is the greek word hades. Hades is made up of two greek words. “Des,” (with a long e) means to see. The “ha” in front of it is the negative aspect or in other words, “not to see.” Basically hell means a person’s inability to see the truth. When Jesus was resurrected from the grave He brought about a new creation. He now holds the keys of death and the inability to see the truth. This inability will not prevail against us. The apostle Paul quotes the Poet in Psalm 68:18 in Ephesians 4:8ff. In essence it says Jesus ascended on high after descending into our inability to see the truth bringing His Light. Now that Jesus holds the keys of this darkness, He can come and go within this darkness as he pleases. Because Jesus is the Light, he brings sight to the blind (John 9). The recognition of our blindness is how we begin seeing.
Remember, this is a reflection regarding keys. To hold the keys of death, hell and the grave means that the presence of Jesus, the Light, enters mankind’s darkness at will. The Poet contended in Psalm 139: 7-8 wondering where to go from God’s Spirit. If he or she ascended up into heaven they knew God would be there: Furthermore, the Poet indicates, if I make my bed in hell, behold God is there as well. I close this reflection with Matthew 16:18-19. Basically it indicated that Jesus is the Rock and we are chips off of that Rock meaning we come from Jesus and the gates of not seeing will not prevail against us. Then Jesus told his disciples that he would give them and us the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. If you possessed keys to a place of absolute value, what would it take for you to share them?