The Keys That Jesus Gave Peter
The keys to the kingdom of heaven that Jesus gave Peter are God’s Words (John 1:12; 17:3). Christ Himself points that the “keys” here referred to as “the keys of knowledge” of how to enter the kingdom (Luke 11:52). The words of Jesus are “spirit” and “life” to all who receive them (John 6:63). It is the words of Jesus that bring eternal life (John 6:68). And they are the keys to the new-birth experience (1 Peter 1:23).
As the words spoken by Jesus convinced the disciples of His divinity, so their sharing these words with others reconciles the world to God (2 Corinthians 5:18–20). The saving power of God’s Word is the only thing that allows people to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Christ simply gave Peter and all the other apostles (Matthew 18:18; John 20:23) the authority and power to lead people into the kingdom. It was Peter’s realization of the truth that Jesus is indeed the Christ that placed the keys of the kingdom in his possession and let him into the kingdom, and at the same can be said of all Christ’s followers till He comes again.
The belief that Christ has given Peter a degree of authority greater than that which He gave to the other disciples, is not scripturally based (Matthew 16:18). Because among the apostles it was James and not Peter who exercised administrative functions over the early church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13, 19; cf. chs. 1:13; 12:17; 21:18; 1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 2:9, 12).
Finally, it should be added that in a certain occasion, Paul “withstood” Peter “to the face” for a wrong course of action (Galatians 2:11–14), which Paul certainly would not have done had Peter received the authority that the Catholic Church now claim for him upon the basis of Matthew 16:18, 19.
In His service,