Jesus Trusts You.
If Jesus was your church’s youth pastor, it wouldn’t be long before the parents would be demanding his resignation.
Don’t believe me? How would you feel if he took your kids to a dark and seedy "anything goes" kind of town for a youth group trip?
I’m sure you can picture an “anything goes” kind of town right now. Caesarea Philippi was one of those kinds of towns. It’s the last place where upstanding boys from Galilee would normally find themselves, if their teacher hadn’t led them there.
The worship of the god Pan happened in this town, and it’s where we get the word “Panic” and “Pandemonium.”
Why Pandemonium? Because when you worshipped Pan, you let go of your inhibitions, and you gave in to your animal-side. Pandemonium describes the sound of a frenzied, animal-charged free-for-all that you could hear from a long way off.
Pandemonium is the sound that the weak make when they are being preyed upon by the strong, all in the name of worshiping the spirits they allowed to influence them.
When people give into their animal-side, things get crazy, and loud, and it gets really gross, exploitive, and dark.
But Jesus is the Light of the World – the darkness poses no threat to him. So this dark town is the very spot where he asks his traveling youth group, “What are people saying about me?" (Matthew 16)
Please note: Jesus doesn't ask them this question in an environment that is safe and clean.
Jesus' youth group kids throw in a few answers: people are saying you're a prophet of old, here to get people back on track.
But then Jesus makes it personal, "What about you? Who do you say that I am?"
Peter gets it right when he says, “You’re the One we’ve been hoping and waiting for.”
Jesus tells Peter, “I’m going to build a church on this rock – right here in this dark and unlikely place – and the Gates of Hades don’t stand a chance!”
Now, don’t change Jesus’ words to say the Gates of Hell. He said the Gates of Hades, and when you stand where he stood and spoke these words, it all starts to make sense.
A prominent feature of Caesarea Philippi is a large cave that looks like the mouth of a monster. The worshippers believed that this cave was an entrance to the realm of the dead, otherwise known as Hades. And this was Hades' gate.
In typical Jesus style, he's using his immediate surroundings to make a point.
When animal sacrifices were thrown into this cave, they fell into an underground spring, and a few yards away, blood-stained water sprung up from the ground, which the worshippers understood to be a sign that the gods had accepted their sacrifice.
And this is where Jesus says, “I think I’ll build a church here.”
Jesus likes to build churches in unlikely places.
Caesarea Philippi was one of those places.
Your town, and the “anything goes” towns are those places.
Then Jesus adds, “and I’m giving you the keys to the Kingdom.”
Jesus gives his followers the Kingdom keys.
And if you follow him, he’s given you those keys.
Keys are a picture of trust.
It’s the ability to open locked doors.
It's proof that you're a partner.
I don’t know if anyone has ever entrusted you with something that was valuable to them.
But Jesus has given you the keys to his Kingdom – what’s more valuable than that?
Here’s what I hope you’ll know today: Jesus trusts you.
What are you facing that requires courage? Jesus trusts you.
Is it time to break new ground for God’s Kingdom? Jesus has given you authority.
Are you facing a locked door? Jesus has given you the keys to his Kingdom.
Jesus trusts you.
If you’d like a Kingdom Key necklace as a reminder that Jesus trusts you, visit reunionoak.com, and give us your name and mailing address so we can get you a key.
And when you wear your Kingdom Key necklace, remember that you’re connected to other Jesus followers who are praying and working towards the same things in the places where Jesus is building his Kingdom.
Take courage. Jesus trusts you.
You are entrusted.
You are empowered.
You have authority.
You are a partner.
It's time to use those keys that Jesus gave to you.