Mt 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?”
16:14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16:16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
16:17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
16:20 Then He strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that He was the Christ.
Notice in the next verse how Jesus defines the "key" as representing knowledge.
Lk 11:52 Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”
The "lawyers" Jesus was speaking about was the scribes who were defending the Pharisee's interpretation of Scripture. The scribe's job was to correct their errors, but they became corrupt and joined the Pharisees in hypocrisy. (A scribe studied the Scriptures and made copies. The Pharisees observed strict observance of the written law, the laws God gave to Moses.)
How important are the keys given to Peter? The "keys" are very important because they open the door to grace. See the lesson on grace in order to understand grace.
The Scriptures are a great place to receive grace because the Scriptures train us to reject sin. No where in the Bible does it say the Scriptures are the only authority. God through His Son Jesus has been giving us new ways to fight sin. Through the "keys of Peter" Jesus has been giving new trainers called grace. For example the Mass, Stations of the Cross, Holy Rosary and Divine Mercy Sunday are graces given to us through the authority of the Pope.
The Protestants reject the keys and thus reject knowledge and graces given to man by Jesus. The way in which Jesus loved us is deeply complicated. We need the keys of Peter to understand and have the graces to love others in the way Jesus loved us.
Why did Jesus change the name of Simon to Peter? Actually the name Peter is from the word petra meaning rock in Greek, and Cephas means rock in Aramaic. For the language of Aramaic was spoken in Jerusalem, and the language of Greek in Greece, and Latin in Rome. When Jesus used the name Peter, Jesus would call him Cephas in the native language of Aramaic. But when the Gospel of Matthew was written in Greek, Matthew used the word Peter and thus the Greek reader would recognize immediately that Peter meant rock. Today when men who read the Gospels in English, the name Peter does not immediately come into our minds as meaning rock.
Actually the first time Jesus and Peter meet, Jesus said: “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). Jn (1:42)
It's amazing that people give little thought to Jesus changing the name of Simon to Peter. Jesus warns people that an evil generation requires a sign. Lk (11:29) The Holy Trinity does not use signs to save people. If the Holy Trinity wanted conversion by signs, Jesus would have came down from the Cross when the Jews screamed "come down and we will believe you". Mk (15:32) Thus people shouldn't expect Jesus to over power them with proof that Peter was His earthly representative.
One Protestant view is that Jesus was referring to Peter's confession of faith when he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”, and Jesus was actually referring to Himself as the rock. In their minds, Jesus would never build a church on a man. Why do we need God's representative on earth when we have the High Priest Jesus? Thus many have come to believe that Peter was not the first Pope, nor was he Roman Catholic. Such people will say that the keys given to Peter were given to the whole church. Others will say that Peter received the keys to be the first person to preach about Jesus. Other problems arise for the unbeliever because the word Pope which means Father is not found in Scripture, nor does Scripture say Peter was in Rome. (The word Pope comes from the Greek word "papas", meaning father in English.) Others will say that Jesus never intended a structured church with many layers of leaders and rituals. Others will say Peter was nothing more than a disciple. There are many opinions about these verses and thus many oppose the papacy.
But the reader must notice how Jesus asks the question, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”.
When God changed a person’s name and gave them a new name, the purpose was to establish a new identity. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham "father of multitude" Gn (17:5) and his wife’s name from Sarai to Sarah “mother of nations”. Gn (17:15) God changed Jacob’s name to Israel “having power with God”. Gn (32:28) The Apostle Paul, whose name was Saul, his name was changed in the Scriptures however there was no direct communication from God in changing Saul's name to Paul. Acts (13:9) But Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter "rock". Why did Jesus occasionally call Peter “Simon” after He had changed His name to Peter? Simon sometimes acted like his old self instead of the rock God called him to be. The same is true for Jacob. God continued to call him Jacob to remind him of his past and to remind him to depend on God’s strength.
Why did God choose new names for some people? The Bible doesn't’ give us God's reasons why He changes names, but it's not hard to see that their future was going to be changed. The new name was a way to let Abraham, Sarah, Israel, Peter, and Paul know that they were in God's plan and also to assure them that God’s plan would be fulfilled in them. In the Book of Revelation, Saint John is told about those who conquer are given a new names.
Rev 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.’
If we consider ourselves as God's children, and loved by God, we would expect God to teach us the truth. In fact Jesus said to Pilate, "you say I am a King. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth". Jn (18:37) Jesus even said that He would send us the Counselor, also called the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father. Jn (15:26) "When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth." Jn (16:7) But the reality is this, men do not agree on religious theology. Even among Christians there are countless doctrines of faith.
The Scriptures were written in such away that it is impossible to know the answer to many questions. The Scriptures leave out too many details. For example, did the Mother of Jesus have other children? The Scriptures do not say Mary gave birth to other children, but the Scriptures speak about Jesus' brothers and sisters. As Catholics, through the "keys of Peter" we are told Jesus' Mother was a Virgin throughout Her life. Jesus' brothers and sisters were His cousins.
The Scriptures can't fully answer questions about baptism, salvation, church, divorce, heaven, hell and many other topics because the verses lack details. The Scriptures do not say not to baptize children, but their are those that believe a child must be old enough to understand baptism to be baptized. The list is endless when it comes to interpretation of the Scriptures. So why would God allow this to happen? God is testing us. Arrogance is a sin. God is testing men, do men follow their own personal thinking, or have humility.
The prophet Samuel says in the Old Testament that presumption is the crime of idolatry. 1 sam (15:23) (Idolatry is a sin against worshiping other gods.) Since the Scriptures can't fully answer many questions, we are not to answer these questions using presumption and thus commit idolatry. For example we can't delay baptism for children because the bible doesn't give us details about that topic. So if we are not to presume, then God must have give us away to know the truth. The answer to this problem is the keys of Peter so we will not fall into presumption. Presumption is a sin against the First Commandment.
Ex 20:1 Then God delivered all these commandments:
20:2 “I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
20:3 You shall not have other gods besides Me.
The Protestant Churches have violated this Commandment. The reason why there are many Christian denominations is because people like to presume. As I said the Scriptures are very unclear on many issues and mankind likes to presume the answers to their questions. So every time you see a Protestant Church, think to yourself this an example of the sin of presumption. And for Catholics who like to pick and chose Catholic doctrine are also committing the sin of presumption.
But arrogance and presumption is the sin that allows people to believe in their doctrines and recognize everyone else is in error. But this would never happen if Christians had the humility of the eunuch found in the Acts of the Apostles. The eunuch had left Jerusalem and was reading the book of Isaiah. Apostle Philip was sent by the Holy Spirit and Philip asked the eunuch if he understood what he was reading. The eunuch responded by saying: "How can I unless some one guides me"? Act (8:31) The eunuch's response should be our response. Thus who can be a worthy trainer to teach us how to reject godless ways?
Jesus gave us a Father here on earth called the Pope to answer our questions that Scriptures do not fully explain. A humble man will allow our Father the Pope to lead him. But an arrogant man chooses to be his own "pope". All Protesters called Protestants have chosen to be their own "popes" and this is why we have so many religious denominations.
So many beliefs, and yet people feel so secure in their beliefs. Many feel they know the Lord and thus they are lead by the Holy Spirit. But how can this be? There are many religious people who say they know the Lord and are being lead by God's Spirit, yet they have different facts about matters of faith. Why is there no concern about unity? Because each person believes the other person is in error and are deceived. But Jesus defines those who are deceived.
Lk 10:21 At that very moment Jesus rejoiced (in) the Holy Spirit and said, “I give You praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned You have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been Your gracious will.
Who are the childlike? Again many answers can come from the many Christians who proclaim they follow Jesus. In fact those who preach their doctrine would consider themselves as childlike because of their certainty of their beliefs. Even though Jesus does not give a definition of "childlike", a possible definition could be: "childlike" is person who has a child's trust that God would reveal the truth to them. In the same way a child loves and trusts its parents to lead them, the "childlike" loves and trusts the Lord to lead them. "Childlike" person would be the complete opposite of a person who follows their own emotions. And following our emotions or thoughts can be called the deadly sin of arrogance.
Who are the wise? Even though Jesus does not give a definition of wise, the Book of Proverbs does. Proverbs 3:7 warns us not to be wise in our own eyes. It is our "eye" that represents our emotions. For example, "pleasing to the eye" is an expression used when Eve saw the fruit. Gn (3:6) Seeing the fruit and recognizing it as pleasing is an emotion.
Who are the learned? Look closely and we can see by experience how people believe what has been taught to them. If we grow up in a Jewish family, we are likely to be Jewish. The same can be said if we grew up in a Muslim or Hindu family. As children, teenagers or adults, we can easily follow the teaching of those we trust. But just because we feel something is true, it doesn't make it true. So be serious in seeking God's truth and you will find that only the keys of Peter can lead us to knowledge, truth and His graces.
Truth and grace is revealed to us using the keys of Peter, through Ecumenical Councils, Papal Encyclicals, Bulls and Briefs, 35 Doctors of the Church and the "City of God" written by Mary of Agreda. It's through the Pope's approval that we can be sure of God's truth. But many people feel very strongly that they are being lead by God's Spirit and reject the keys. But these people actually follow doctrines written down by other men. They learn doctrine created by others, like John Darby and the rapture, and make this doctrine their own. But could it be that Jesus is calling such religious men "the wise and the learned"?
If your a Christian who denies the Catholic Church, then that person will not recognize any significance in Jesus changing the name of Simon to Peter. Also such people do not see any problem in the many opinions concerning the Scriptures and their meanings. Protestants are not united in their beliefs. What actually happens is this, people will follow their hearts because they believe the Spirit of Truth is guiding them.
The Catholic view requires us to follow the "keys" to understand the Holy Trinity and our relationship with the Holy Trinity. That is why Jesus ask His Apostles, “But who do you say that I am?” Obviously the Jewish people during the time of Jesus would not answer in the way Peter did. In fact the Pharisees thought Jesus was an imposter and His sin calling Himself the Son of God deserved death. Men throughout time are unaware how God has setup authority for people to stumble over. Like the cousin of Moses name Korah who rebelled against him. God caused the earth to open up and swallow Korah and those that followed Moses. Num (26:10) Even Apostles Judas didn't know who Jesus was. Because if Judas knew, he would never had sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. And so it happens today, people who sin against the Natural and Written Laws will not have the ability to recognize the keys because sin has hardened their hearts.
People do not know that arrogance is a serious sin. Arrogance can be likened to the deadly gas called carbon monoxide because it can't be seen with the eye, smelled with the nose or tasted with the tongue. When people follow their thinking, this is the sin that can't be seen. As I said people believe in what their hearts tell them because they believe they are being lead by the Holy Spirit. But actually they are being lead by arrogance that can't be easily detected. Just because a person is sincere in what they believe doesn't make it the truth. Men have no excuse, they should see the madness in the multitude of religious beliefs. As the people in Genesis tried to build the tower of Babel, God stopped their efforts by changing each man's speech so they couldn't communicate with each other. Gn (11:7) God continues this confusion in the speech of men today by giving each arrogant man a different spirit to believe what their hearts tell them. Thus we have a multitude of churches and their theologies on every street corner, all caused by the undetected sin of arrogance. Man has done a terrible job of detecting when they are lead by God's Spirit or when they are lead by arrogance. It's impossible to convince a man who believes he is lead by God's Spirit when he is actually following his arrogance.
Jn 10:7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
10:8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them.
10:9 I am the door; if any one enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Lk 13:24 “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
Mt 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
7:8 For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
The verses above do not say that these doors have locks, but important doors that protect valuable things have locks. Since the wise and the learned are denied entrance through the door, it's reasonable to say that we need the "keys of Peter" to open the door. Since Jesus calls Himself the "door", the "keys" open His emotions to us. Take for example when Jesus says, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Mk (15:34) Without the keys we could only guess the meaning behind these words. In the book written by Mary of Agreda, approved by five Popes, she explains how Jesus was vocalizing His complaint over the damnation of many souls. People who do not follow the keys will state that Jesus was abandon by the Father. The Father treated Jesus as if He was the one who had sinned. Sin is so disgusting in the eyes God that God turned away from His Son. But this theology is completely wrong, and only the keys can reveal the true meaning.
The final argument to the keys is the following verse spoken by Jesus.
Jn 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me.
Jesus speaks again about the "truth". As it has been pointed out, the Scriptures do not have the necessary detail to answer all our questions about God's will. But yet Jesus keeps referring to the "truth". If Jesus didn't give us the "keys of Peter", He would be lying to us that He was the truth. But Jesus is not lying, He gave us away to know the truth by using the "keys of Peter". Combine this with the fact we are on earth to be tested, and thus the only answer is the "keys of Peter". We can be humble by relying on the "keys" and yet at the same time we can be bold in seeking the will of our Father.