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As Jesus’ time on earth wound down and opposition, both human and Satanic, kept getting stronger, Jesus continued to teach and prepare His disciples. During a time of informal discussion, Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was (Matthew 16:13-19; Mark 8:27-29; Luke 9:18-20). Many and various opinions were circulating and bringing much confusion. Peter stepped to the front and affirmed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God! Jesus was greatly pleased and told them all that on this truth Jesus would build His church, which not even Satan himself would be able to overcome. He also said “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

LESSON FOR TODAY: Jesus promises He will build His church. No one else can do so, and nothing can stop it from happening. It is not our church for us to grow, it is His church for Him to grow. There will be opposition, even from the ‘gates of Hades” (Satan and his evil forces) but nothing can defeat God and His people.

LESSON FOR TODAY: Binding and loosing is very similar to rebuking, just a bit more specific. Rebuking means to resist, oppose what an evil spirit is doing. Binding and loosing, which applied to demonizing, refers to stopping (by binding) evil spirits and freeing (loosing) those they have in bondage. This passage (Matthew 16:19) is quite difficult to understand in detail, but clearly some authority over evil is given to God’s people.

LESSON FOR TODAY: Jesus gave Peter, as he spoke the truth about Jesus as revealed to him by God, the keys to the kingdom so that whatever they bound on earth would be bound in heaven and whatever they loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19). This is authority and power to minister in His name, as seen before (Luke 9:1; 10:1, 17-19). Jesus will be gone, and He is giving His disciples the right to represent Him, like a parent would give a grown child were the parent to be leaving for a long time. These keys are hard to understand, but they don’t have to do with salvation. They are not keys TO the kingdom but keys OF the kingdom. Whatever is bound or loosed on earth is first bound or loosed in heaven. When we affirm that someone is forgiven when they confess their sin, or not forgiven when they do not humble themselves and confess their sins, we are applying God’s truth as revealed in His Word. We can represent God and tell others when they have done what God accepts to receive salvation, and also when they don’t.

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