Tuesday, December 20, 2011

O Key of David

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Isaiah had prophesied: "I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open." (Isaiah 22:22) "His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore." (9:7) "...To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." (42:7) The theme is also repeated in Revelation 3:7.

"Handing over the keys" is symbolic of the conferral of supreme authority. Though the relevant passages in the Hebrew Scriptures aren't messianic per se, but rather are directed towards a faithful civil ruler who has God's support, St. John borrows the passage from Isaiah 22 and applies it to Jesus. Being in the line of David, "son of David", Christ is the heir and possessor of David's keys, i.e., his kingdom or reign. Jesus the Christ is the chief steward of all the blessings of salvation, and, through the Apostles, entrusts this to the Church, which becomes the vehicle of Christ's grace and forgiveness of sin. The Christ holds the means of releasing us from the darkness and imprisonment of our selfishness and lack of love. In loosing our bonds, we are freed to grow in the love Jesus modeled and share with all the people in his life. 

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