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What a wonderful portion in the Word of God!  Let’s read Matthew 16:13-18, “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? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 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. 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.”  Matthew, Mark, and Luke have all recorded this important account in the life of the Lord and His disciples.

The Lord begins by asking His disciples about what other people were saying about him.  Did others truly know who He, the Son of man, was?  The disciples tell the Lord that some thought that he was John the Baptist.  Of course, by this time, King Herod had already had John beheaded, so some thought he was John the Baptist resurrected.  Some, with knowledge of the Old Testament teachings thought that Jesus was the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5 which says, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.”  Let’s read Mark 6:14-16 which says, “And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.”  So, there seemed to be much discussion about who the Lord was, but there was differing opinions about him.

The Lord then asks His disciples a very important question; a question we must all answer.  Matthew 16:15 says, “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?”  Let me ask you, dear one, who do you think the Lord Jesus is?  Do you think He was a just a good man?  Do you think He was just a prophet?  Perhaps you think he was a fraud.  Your entire eternity will be determined by how you answer this question.  Let’s look again at Peter’s answer in Matthew 16:16, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  What an answer!  It showed the work of God in Peter’s heart.  The Lord replied to Peter, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  We will never determine who Jesus truly is by human reasoning.  It is when we bow ourselves before the Father and allow Him to reveal His Son to us that we can understand that Christ is indeed the Son of God who loved us and gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins.

The Lord goes on to say to Peter in verse 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.”  It is only after we learn who Jesus really is that the Lord reveals to us, who we really are.  At this point, the Lord gives Simon a new name, which is Peter.   John 1:42 foretold of Simon’s name change.  It says, “And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.”  The Greek word for Peter is “petros” which means ‘a little rock.’  The Greek word for rock is “petra” which means ‘a great rock.’  So, is Peter the rock on which Christ built His church?  Not at all.  The church was founded upon Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.  All believers join with Peter as small stones in the building of the temple of the Lord.  1 Peter 2:5 says, “Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house…”  It is Christ, Himself, who is the chief corner stone as we read in Ephesians 2:19-20, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”  Jesus did not say, “On thee, Peter, will I build my Church, but upon this rock will I build my church.”  We are so thankful for men such as Peter, John, Paul and others that gave their lives to the service of the Lord, but it is Christ, Himself, that is the chief corner stone on which the church is built.  As we read in 1 Corinthians 10:4, “…that Rock was Christ.”  (72.4)