Isaiah 7.10-14; Psalm 23; Luke 1.26-38
“O Key of David, who opens the gates of the eternal kingdom: come to liberate from prison the captive who lives in darkness.” Our Advent prayer for this day combines ancient Israel’s hope for a restoration of the monarchy of descendants of King David [cf Amos 9.11-12] with the prophetic belief that a trans-national leader would arise not from human lineage [cf John 1.13] but as God’s own gift: a Prince of Peace who would by a just rule [Isaiah 9.1-7] bring Solomon’s peace [I Kings 5.4] to the whole world.
The ‘Key of David’ is a reference to Isaiah 22.15-25. To Shebna, a corrupt chief of staff to King Hezekiah (reg. 715-686 BC), the prophet issues stern denunciation: his office and its appurtenances will be stripped from him. His keys will be given to someone else.
The key to the kingdom is taken up by Jesus in his promises to Peter [Matthew 16.19]. But the key in a real sense is Jesus himself. Locked doors and blocked roads characterise human life. Sometimes our movement is obstructed by tyrannical rulers [cf Mark 6.17-20]; sometimes God himself stops us in our tracks because he has intentioned something better for us than we could imagine. [cf Acts 16.6-10] Not only is Jesus not impeded by locked doors [cf John 20.19]; he himself is the Key that opens doors for us. [Apocalypse 3.7-8] His life, death and resurrection have unlocked for us the gate of heaven. He has closed the gap between us and God and given us eternal access to his grace and bounty. [Hebrews 10.19-20]