Jesus Said: "Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church..."

The statement above was made at the end of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples. It was preceded by Jesus asking them these words: “‘Who do men say that the Som of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’ He saith unto them, ‘But who say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” (Matthew 16.13-16). Peter’s words, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” were what Jesus was referring to as the “rock” upon which his church is founded. Let us consider the significance of this as it relates to the church.

Peter’s words are a confession, but more so, they are an acknowledgment of something about Jesus that must exist in the understanding of one who would become a disciple. Peter would later state to those present on the Day of Pentecost that, “God hath made him (Jesus) both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2.36).

Jesus’ position as “Lord and Christ” relates to his authority, HIs position of authority is reflected by being referred to as head to his church and the church being referred to as his body: “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the savior of the body” (Ephesians 5.23). The significance of being “head” is that he, and he alone, has the right to rule. His word is the truth; the standard for all that is to be preached on any subject (Colossians 2.10).

As the body is subject to the head, the church is subject to Jesus’ teachings. Subjection is obedience. It is only when we are obedient that Jesus’ position as Lord and Christ is honored and respected. This is a continual action, not just a one-time confession. While our confessions relative to the new birth are essential, recognition of his authority is the foundation of discipleship.

Christians are to be reminded of the relationship between honoring Jesus and obedience to his teachings through preaching. Paul wrote, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 14.5). Our obedience can deteriorate into a repetitious series of acts if preaching does not “stir up our minds by remembrance” (2 Peter 1.5-13).

Peter pointed out to Cornelius that this was ordained of Jesus: “And he ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10.42).

The resurrection reflects that Jesus’ position as Lord of heaven and earth was God’s intention. “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both fo the dead and of the living” (Romans 14.9). Jesus stated this clearly to the apostles following his resurrection, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28.18). In connection with this, Jesus had earlier said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, no that those who see may become blind” (John 9.39). The significance of this is seen in that Jesus’ teaching was the means which eyes (i.e., minds/hearts) would be revealed. By the acceptance of his teaching, his authority would be honored. Obedience, prompted by this recognition, would follow, and God’s blessing of pardon would be granted.

James used the phrase, “A man may say…” he has faith (James 2.18). However, in the absence of expressing that faith as Jesus taught, such faith is worthless. He is condemned. Similarly, John used the same phrase in regard to loving God (1 John 4.20). However, if we hate our brother, we are liars. As a bystander once said to Peter, “Thy speech betrayeth thee” (Matthew 26.73). We stand condemned when we fail to respect God’s will. No greater deception exists than that of self-deception.

We are made in God's image (Genesis 1.27). There is an innate desire to express our feelings toward God. We want to love and to be loved. We want to think of ourselves as actually loving and respecting God with our lives. We must judge ourselves by God’s standard. Love your brother, your neighbor. Conquer that first. Make peace with your adversary. It will lift your spirits, and restore joy, peace, and self-respect to your life. This will, in turn, enable you to go to God in prayer without shame and condemnation. Is this not your desire? Honor Jesus. He died so that you might live abundantly (John 10.10). Trust him enough to obey; there’s no other way. Then, you will truly know you are a member of his body, the church, and  can say, as Thomas said, “My Lord and my God” (John 20.28)!