13 Jesus went to the area of Caesarea Philippi. He said to his followers, “Who do people say I amh?”
14 They answered, “Some people say you are John the Baptizer.i Others say you are Elijah.j And some say you are Jeremiahk or one of the prophets.l”
15 Then Jesus said to his followers, “And who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ,m the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah. No one taught you that. My Father in heaven showed you who I am. 18 So I tell you, you are Peter.n And I will build my churcho on this rock. The power of deathpwill not be able to defeat my church. 19 I will give you the keys to God’s kingdom.q When you speak judgment here on earth, that judgment will be God’s judgment. When you promise forgiveness here on earth, that forgiveness will be God’s forgiveness.”r
20 Then Jesus warned his followers not to tell anyone he was the Christ.
21 From that time Jesus began telling his followers that he must go to Jerusalem. He explained that the older Jewish leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of the law would make him suffer many things. And he told his followers that he must be killed. Then, on the third day, he would be raised from death.
“Jesus was telling Peter to take some rocks and build a church.” Cayleb, 6
“Jesus will build the church with rocks so it can be hard!” Jeremy, 6
“I think that Jesus was telling Peter that he (Peter) was the rock because his name means ‘rock.’” Hillary, 12
“I think Jesus meant that he was the rock and that we, his house, should build our lives upon him.” Ashley, 12
Jesus said he would build his church upon a rock. This brings up two questions. What is the church? Is it a building, or is it something bigger? Also, who or what is the rock?
The real meaning of the word “church” is assembly or gathering. It’s like a family. In fact, it is a family. It’s the family of God. Everyone who believes in Christ is part of this family. The fact that Jesus is the Christ is the rock upon which God’s entire church family is built.
The early Christians met in homes. Church buildings didn’t exist for several centuries. When Jesus spoke of building his church, he thought of all the people who would believe in him. Hey, that includes you and me!
Before Jesus said, “I will build my church on this rock,” he asked his disciples what people were saying about him. Jesus asked them who they thought he was. Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” These words are the foundation rock of God’s big church.
Everyone who believes Jesus is the Son of God is part of God’s big church. Christians in the first century and Christians in the 21st century are part of the same spiritual family.
Some people think that the Apostle Peter is the rock upon which God’s big church is built. Here’s why. The name “Peter” comes from the Greek word “petros.” This means a stone or a piece of a rock.
Another word for “rock” comes from the Greek word “petra.” This means a large rock from which a smaller stone might break off. “Petra” was the word Jesus used for “rock” when he said, “I will build my church upon this rock.”
Jesus is the large rock upon which the church is built. Peter is a small rock. Jesus’ 12 apostles spread the good news throughout the world that Jesus is the Christ. Their work laid the foundation for the universal church (Revelation 21:14).
In other words, Jesus repeated what Peter said: “You are Peter (a piece of the rock), and on this rock (the fact that I am the Messiah, the Son of the living God), I will build my church.”
Think About This: If you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, you will meet with people from all nations from many centuries to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 5:9).
Memorize This Truth: “Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (Matthew 16:16).
Do you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God?
How can you be a part of God’s plan to build his universal church?
How many people can you think of that need to know Jesus as their savior?