When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
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 chuman being.18Now I say to you that you are dPeter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this drock I will build my echurch, and all the powers of fhell will not conquer it.19And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
20Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
If you read this and want to show others what you think you will get caught up in a centuries old controversy. But just read it as a story included in a letter written to you and you will find some treasures here.
First, Jesus asked his disciples about what others were saying. He quickly shows how unimportant that is in comparison to the greater question “But who do you say I am?” And there is the question to me. Am I really sure who Jesus is to me and do I actually “say” it. To Peter’s credit he appears not to hesitate (so Peter like) and just lays it out there clear and plain. What a wonderful way to speak and live. Do I quickly and boldly say that Jesus is God and my personal savior and redeemer? Not nearly as often as I should.
Then Jesus tells Peter that God has revealed this to him – not any human being. If I know Jesus as my Messiah it is because God revealed it to me also. Why did he choose me? Why did he choose you? I have no idea in the world. I certainly can look at my sinful life and say without hesitation that I didn’t deserve it. Yet He opened my eyes and my ears and my heart and I am so grateful! We must tell others about Jesus, but it is God who truly reveals Jesus to them and makes the gospel real and personal.
Now read the rest of it again. Who builds the church? Whose church is it? Jesus is the true builder and maker of a church that is his. We are part of that body that is Christ’s church. He is our builder and we are His.
But as the first plain confessor of Jesus as the Son of the Living God, Jesus does give Peter keys (access to God) and authority and responsibility. There are many theologies and philosophies about what is being said here. I won’t pretend to understand it for sure. But don’t get so caught up in this debate that you miss what the story is saying to you. Beginner’s Online Bible Study *obbs*