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Matthew 16:13-20 (KJV)
13 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?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 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.
18 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.
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.
20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

How often have we quoted this verse or used it as our platform for Apostolic authority? However, does this passage really lay out the foundation for the widespread concept and understanding of Apostolic authority? Does this scripture align with what we have many times heard coming from prayer meetings, by others or ourselves, or in the altars with zealous men and women who are commanding that things be “loosed and bound” in the name of Jesus Christ?

Honestly, most of my life this is how I believed this portion of scripture. I myself have often prayed with an integral focus on the verbal “binding forces of evil” and “loosing angelic hosts.” But, if we are honest with each other, this is most likely the result of what I call the “lullaby effect.” In other words, we read or hear sometimes so much that we merely repeat what we have read or heard without any serious Biblical study. Ask yourself the question: “when is the last time I say down and actually studied scriptures like this?” Probably, for many, the answer would result in “seldom, if ever!”

The passage in question introduces us to the narrative of identity perception. How did the disciples perceive Christ? However, His journey did not begin with their perception, but rather, “whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?” In response to this question the disciples articulate the local talk as it relates to the identity of Christ.

“Some say that you are John the Baptist,” one declares.

“Yeah,” pipes in another disciples, “others have thought you to be Elijah or Jeremiah, while others believe that you are one of the prophets”

I’m sure, the disciples having agreed upon the peripheral perceptions of who others considered Jesus Christ to be, began to individually ponder that very question only to be interrupted by the follow-up of Jesus when He asked, “but whom say ye that I am?” 

Scripture gives us nothing of the possible hesitation of some of the disciples. Surely, Judas Iscariot did not grasp the identity of Christ. Surely, based upon future discussions that occurred, Philip was not eager to express his thoughts as to the identity of Jesus Christ. I’m sure, beyond the implied outburst of the Apostle Peter, that there was a slight pause among many of the disciples. Mouths opened slightly, yet tongues caught between hesitation and articulation as their minds began to wonder, “do I really know who this is?

I find it fascinating that John was not the quickest of them all to proclaim the identity of Jesus Christ. Instead, it is the disciple whose commitment oft seems to shift like the very sands that Satan will desire to sift him. It’s Simon Peter, the boisterous, out-spoken, sometimes given to temper and ill-thought action, that declares, “thou art the Christ, the son of the living God!” Immediately, in a manner that is completely unexpected, Jesus declares to Peter, “blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” 

One can only imagine the looks that seized the faces of nearby disciples. Philip, eyebrows probably furrowed in thought, was most likely intrigued and puzzled by the mention of Jesus’ Father in heaven. What were the thoughts of Judas Iscariot, with whom we realize could not grasp the mission and purpose of this man for whom the money bag was being kept. Really, the play on words used by Jesus is quite astonishing when one takes a more thorough look.

By identifying Peter as Simon BarJona, an emphasis is being placed upon a lineage of flesh and blood. Yet, this articulation of the identity of Jesus Christ as being the “son of the living God,” is said to have been a revelation that transcended Peter’s flesh and blood.  It was a revelation of divine origin or, as we would come to understand, a spiritual revelation. This meager, hot-tempered, inconsistent Son of Jona comprehended something about Christ that went far beyond the knowledge and scrutiny of flesh and blood rationale.

How curious then, upon Peter’s exclamation of Christ’s identity, that Christ would, in turn, deal with the identity of Simon Peter. Pivoting from the acknowledgment of Peter’s spiritual revelation, Jesus sovereignly declares, “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church.” Of course, anyone that has been around long enough recognizes the play on words in that, Peter (petros) means small stone whereas rock (Petra) means a large stone. What is Jesus doing in this moment? He is pointing toward the future realization of how the church would be built. Ephesians gives us this exciting connection.

Ephesians 2:20-22 (KJV)
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The church, motivated by the revelation and understanding of the Mighty God in Christ, would be built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. It would be a church, not of flesh and blood, but those spiritually birthed into a kingdom that would be marked by the authoritative and supreme name of Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, this habitation of God through the Spirit that would be built upon a foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets, Christ being the Chief Cornerstone, would be made up of living stones, fitly framed together and the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it!” What is “it” that the gates of hell shall not prevail against? The foundation which Christ is the Chief Cornerstone.

 

Matthew 28:18 (KJV)
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Philippians 2:10 (KJV)
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Ephesians 1:19-23 (KJV)
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head (chief) over all things to the church,23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The Greek word used for “IT” is “autos,” which translated means “Him, Myself, Same or He Himself.” In other words, the church was not build upon the little stone (petros), but rather, upon the chief cornerstone (Petra) of Jesus Christ. Because hell could not and cannot overcome Jesus Christ (Eph 1:19-23), then it is self-explanatory that a church which is founded upon the same cannot be overcome!

1 John 2:13-14 (KJV)
13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

1 John 4:4 (KJV)
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Call us the “Jesus Only” group all you want! We own it! We claim it! We believe it! If you don’t get the identity of Jesus correct, you fail to correctly comprehend the foundational cornerstone upon which the entire church is built upon. This is why the Old Testament law served to function as the schoolmaster. The schoolmaster was preparing us to encounter God manifest in flesh, reconciling the world unto Himself! 

In this moment, Jesus is declaring the powerful masterplan of how the church would be built! “Little stones” would be built upon a foundation which bears the “chief cornerstone” and, reading the later words of the Apostle Peter:

1 Peter 2:5 (KJV)
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Jesus is referring to something cataclysmic and the words of Genesis 3:15 begin to scream once again into the forefront of Biblical eschatology.

Genesis 3:15 (KJV)
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Two seeds that reflect two kingdoms (wicked and righteous) and a battle of eternal consequence is being spoken of in this first glimpse into redemptive promise. The wicked seed, led by the adversarial character termed Satan would bruise His (Christ’s) heel. However, notice that Genesis 3:15 doesn’t declare that “he shall bruise thy head”, but rather, “it shall bruise thy head.” I don’t think it incorrect that our translation preferred “it” for the singular, third-person, masculine Hebrew pronoun.

Matthew 16:18 (KJV)
18 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.

Little did Satan and the enemy know, nor do they yet act as if they know, that to attack the “lively stones” is to engage in battle with a spiritual organism that cannot be overcome. Little did Satan know that by inflicting the wound (bruising the heel) would invite the crushing of the head.

Matthew 21:44 (KJV)
44  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

 

(End of Part 1)

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