On one occasion Jesus said to the apostle Peter, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19) Keys mean authority – particularly the authority to open and grant admittance.
On the first Pentecost, following the resurrection of Christ, the kingdom was established. And on that first day when the people asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter – the man with the keys – issued this command: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:37-38) Peter further added that this was open to all people, then and now, in these words: “For the promise is unto you, and your children, and all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39) The record continues: “Then they that gladly received the word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41)
Sometimes people wonder why we place such great emphasis on baptism. Why is it so important? One reason is the fact that the man to whom Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom bound it on the very day the kingdom began. Furthermore, Jesus had said to him, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.”