December 20, 2007 at 1:55 pm 1 comment

Fountain Hills, Arizona

The day assigned to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Lamb that takes away the sins of the whole world, the Good Shepherd, and the most extraordinary title-God Incarnate, is just a few days away. So I thought it would be fun to write some things for a few days that have a Christmas twist. Last year at this time I wasn’t blogging so this will be my first time to write Christmas focused posts.

Almost 30 years ago now, we were living in the Seattle area, where I was working in the real estate business.  I had dropped out of graduate school to start this business along with a seminary friend, hoping to make enough money so that we could go to school without having to work.  After several months Linda and I knew we were supposed to be back in school and so we left Washington to return to Portland where the seminary was located.  The business owned our house and our car and of course the office where we worked and what I remember most about that time was when I got in the U-Haul to drive to Portland, I had no keys.  0.  No house key, no car key, no office key. Never before, or since have I had a key ring with no keys.  It was a symbol for me of where we were in life.

About two years ago, right about now, I was sitting in a meeting with some men who used to be my biggest supporters and friends who were now sitting in judgement of me.  It was not a fun meeting and the outcome of it was to set the course for a whole lot of really tough days which are just now beginning to fade.  During the meeting the chairman looked over at me and said totally out of the blue and out of the context of the discussion; “before you leave we need to get your keys”.  For whatever reason, out of all the things that went on in that gathering, what I remember is him asking me to turn in my key.  I had that key for more than 16 years and to me it was a symbol of the authority, privilege, responsibility, value, importance, I placed on what I had done since I completed my graduate school education.  That key was a big deal and when it was gone it was as if all of life was gone.

There is an advent point to all of this and it is found in Isaiah 22:22. I will give him the key to the house of David-the highest position in the royal court.  He will open doors, and no one will be able to shut them; he will close doors and no one will be able to open them.

Keys represent authority.  The one who has the keys has authority.  The story in Isaiah 22 is about a man named Shebna who was King Hezekiah’s chief-of-staff.  He held the keys to the palace.  He misused his authority by having his tomb carved where kings were buried and made himself rich at his master’s expense.  The servant wanted to be king, and so he was stripped of his office, and Eliakim was called to replace him.  Shebna had to turn in his keys.  It’s a strong warning to any who hold authority, to not use it for personal profit.

God used this little bit of palace power politics to prophesy something greater:  “I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”  Those same words are applied to Jesus in the book of Revelation chapter 3 verse 7.  Jesus is the one “who has the key of David, who opens and no one shuts, who shuts and no one opens.”

Sin locks prison doors on us.  It makes our lives into a prison of fear.  Because of sin we are locked up into ourselves, locked away from others.  We are in bondage to sin and we cannot free ourselves.  No matter how much we struggle against the chains and rattle the bars, we are unable to break out of the prison that sin has put us in.

But when Jesus came as a baby it was to enter our prison cell, set us free and then take our place on death row.  Even as a little baby He was on death row.  His mission on this earth was to take the death sentence that was rightly ours.  In His death He stormed the gates of death and hell and gave us life.  He put His key into the lock of our prison cell and freed us from the Law of sin and death, broke the chains of bondage and fear and set us free to live as free children with no more fear or bondage.

Jesus is the key of David that is prophesied in Isaiah 22.  He is the One who opens and closes what no one else can and then what is beyond wonder He gives to us, His Family, keys to bind and loose others in His name.  The key of David, the key of authority is now in the hands of those of us who are His children and we have the honor of turning the key that frees others from their sin.  The authority to bind and loose (Matthew 16) is not done on our own authority but the authority comes because the One giving the keys to the Kingdom has and is the Key of David-Jesus.

The advent season is a season of promise.  A promise that in the name of Jesus, the Key of David, the natural keys to a false kingdom are replaced with keys to a Kingdom with all authority in heaven and on earth.  The keys to the natural world are important but they are nothing in comparison to the keys to the Kingdom that King Jesus came to give us.

There are days I still miss that key I lost two years ago, but the Keys I hold in my hand today are much more than a sufficient replacement. 


Entry filed under: Advent, Authority, Belief, Christianity, Church, Culture, Faith, Friendship, Holy Spirit, Institutional church, Jesus, Kingdom, Supernatural, The Father, Thoughts.

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.24 Fortunate Son.

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