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UPON THIS ROCK WILL I BUILD MY CHURCH: WHAT EXACTLY IS THAT ROCK; PETER? I DON'T THINK SO



When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And 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 16:13-19


This ground breaking conversation took place at Ceasarea Phillipi, which lies today in the modern-day reserve of the Banias in the Golan Heights region of Isreal. The city was established by Ptolemaic Greeks, a Hellenistic community where the worship of the god Pan was centered. Reviled by the Jews of Yeshua’s time and considered by them the most idolatrous place in the entire Galilee, to this day it remains a place of nature worship and deep paganism.

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE CHURCH
The church here simply means the body of Christ, the gathering or the assembly of people that has confessed Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour and not those big cathedrals  or temples we gather into for worship.

Hebrews 12: 22  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

What then is the Confession that makes people a part of the body of Christ?
That is the same (the first) confession of Peter when Jesus asked who he was to them (the disciples).
Peter says “You are the Christ (the savior), the son of the living God.

Therefore, anyone that has come to confess Jesus Christ becomes a member of the assembly or the church of Christ.
Romans 10:9      That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Confession of Christ comes through Revelation
The revelation knowledge of Christ aids confession; for no one can confess whom he has not known.

John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
The verse above indeed is a vivid replica of what Jesus said to Peter when he made the bold confession: … “for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven”…

Revelation knowledge of Christ comes through the Word of God
Romans 10: 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Peter has the knowledge of Christ, and he can boldly profess the faith because, he had been with the Word of life and of God Himself, He knows Christ first handedly, hence, he cannot but confess that which he has seen and witnessed.

Having this prior knowledge that; the church of Christ is built by confession, confession which comes through revelation, and revelation by the Word.

We shall then go on to see exactly what Jesus meant by saying “though art Peter (which means a rock), and Upon this rock will I build my church and the gate of hell shall not prevail against it…”
Rock figuratively means: Something that is strong, stable, and dependable; it may be a person who provides security or support to another .

Peter: a strong and dependable rock that provides support for the body Christ

The name ‘Peter’ means ‘rock’. In the Old Testament, the word ‘rock’ often describes the security that God gives to his people. For example, ‘The Lord is my rock’ (2 Samuel 22:2).
Jesus used the word ‘rock’ or Peter as a name for Simon (John 1:42).
Peter himself is like the first rock in Jesus’s building which is the church. Jesus Himself is the true foundation.

But Peter was the first person to declare that he believed Jesus. And Peter became a leader and teacher in the church. He was the first to speak to the crowds at Pentecost about Jesus, the Messiah where 3000 people became Christians that day (Acts 2). Later, he had a dream when he was staying at Joppa. As a result, people who were not Jews believed. And Peter gave them a welcome into the church (Acts 10:1–11:18). He supported the believers who were not Jews at the Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15).
Here we can see Peter’s authority in the church being the first rock, as well as the first leader and guide to the church.

19 And 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.
Peter’s authority was not his alone. God’s special servants and the men that Jesus sent out were also the foundation and special rocks in the church (Ephesians 2:20).

Hence, Peter is seen here as a solid rock that provides support to the growth of the church, but not upon whom the whole church of Christ, the assembly of the angels and believers is being built.

The truth unarguable is that, if Peter had been the very rock upon which our faith is built as Christians, our faith is going to be dashed and shipwrecked and the gate of hell will probably prevail against it. And besides, our confession of faith cannot be built of placed on Peter.

 The very Rock: The Confession of Christ

If the passage is read contextually and not literally, one would see that; the ‘rock’ refers to what Peter said. He believed that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son. Everyone who can say the same thing is like a stone in God’s building (1 Peter 2:4-8). They are the ‘church’. As I have stated earlier, the Greek word for church does not refer to a building or to a particular organisation. It refers to all the people who believe in Jesus. They who heard the word, believed and confesses that He is God’s Son.

Nothing would be able to destroy the church because it was being built upon Revelation and upon Jesus Christ Himself who is the strong, stable, dependable, unbeatable Rock, and the true foundation of the Church.
He (Jesus) is the head and the church is the Body (of Christ).
Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted …

We can therefore see that; Peter is not the rock upon which the whole church of Christ is being built, rather he is a solid rock that gives support and guide to every other rock therein, rather, the true Rock that the church of Christ is being built upon is the confession of faith in Christ Jesus and everyone that has come to confess just as peter has done became a rock and support in the Body of Christ.

More Grace.

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