Matthew 16:15-18, NLT
15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah,* the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John,* because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell* will not conquer it.
Church (ἐκκλησία, ekklēsia). Followers of Christ who derive their identity and mission from Jesus and understood themselves to be the true eschatological community of God.
Then he asked them, “But who do YOU say I am?” vs 15
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” vs 16
Matt 11:2-6, NLT
John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen – the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the Good News is preached to the poor.” And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of me.”
Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because MY Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. vs 17
Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means rock), and upon this rock I will build my church and the powers of hell will not conquer it. vs 18
Optional meanings that scholars debate:
- Peter himself is the rock.
- The faith Peter just professed is the rock.
- The teachings of Jesus are the rock
- Jesus himself is the rock
Our foundation in Christ is solid as a rock. We know Christ is the cornerstone and chooses to work through people and faith. Peter clearly has a prominent role – after Jesus comes back, he tells Peter three times to feed his sheep. And other disciples have roles in spreading the growth of the early church as well.
Romans 8:38, NLT
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
So what does that mean for us?
- Place our faith in Jesus, not in ourselves.
Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding,
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
- If you have not made Jesus your Lord and Savior, now is the time.
- Maze of twisty passageways all alike …
- Let God’s word shape us. Be in your Bible, Pray.
- Stick together. Don’t do life alone when things are hard.
Psalm 121, NLT
I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there?
My help comes from the LORD, who made Heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber,
Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade,
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.
* 16:16 Or the Christ. Messiah (a Hebrew term) and Christ (a Greek term) both mean “anointed one.”
* 16:17 Greek Simon bar-Jonah; see John 1:42; 21:15–17.
* 16:18a Greek that you are Peter.
* 16:18b Greek and the gates of Hades.
Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Mt 16:15–18.
Joshua M. Greever, “Church,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
Leon Morris, The Gospel according to Matthew, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992)
Louis A. Barbieri Jr., “Matthew,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985)