Who do you say that Jesus is?…

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ-Messiah (Mat 16:13-20)…

We have arrived at a major turn in the road. This passage serves as the climax and the culmination of Jesus’ ministry to this point.

At 16:12 Jesus took His disciples further north, away from the crowds into a retreat setting.

His purpose was to review His ministry and to clarify His own identity and His expectations of them.

The question of Jesus’ identity had been there all along:

“What kind of man is this?” (8:27).

“Are you the one who was to come?” (11:2).

“Could this be the Son of David?” (12:23).

Now all of those questions came to a climax in this focused, intense retreat with the disciples.

This passage serves as a transitional section in Matthew’s Gospel.

Peter’s confession summarized Jesus’ ministry up to this point. And Jesus’ announcement of the church began Jesus’ preparation of the disciples for their leadership roles in His absence.

Jesus’ intention to build His church marks a major transition in God’s pursuit of His great plan of the ages.

The old wineskin of Israel had been set on the shelf temporarily, while the new wineskin of the church was introduced.

The disciples’ breakthrough in understanding also opened the door for Jesus to initiate them into the next level.

Read Matthew 16:13-20

16:13, 14 Caesarea Philippi was about twenty-five miles north of the Sea of Galilee and five miles east of the Jordan.

When Jesus came to the surrounding villages (Mark 8:27), an incident generally recognized as the apex of His teaching ministry occurred.

Up to this time He had been leading His disciples to a true apprehension of His Person.

Having succeeded in this, He now turns His face resolutely to go to the cross.

He began by asking His disciples what men were saying as to His identity.

The replies ran the gamut from John the Baptist, to Elijah, to Jeremiah, to one of the other prophets.

To the average person He was one among many.

Good but not the Best. Great but not the Greatest.

A prophet but not the Prophet.

This view would never do.

It condemned Him with faint praise. If He were only another man He was a fraud because He claimed to be equal with God the Father.

16:15, 16 So He asked the disciples who they believed He was.

This brought from Simon Peter the historic confession,

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

In other words, He was Israel’s Messiah and God the Son.

16:17, 18 Our Lord pronounced a blessing on Simon, son of Jonah.

The fisherman had not arrived at this concept of the Lord Jesus through intellect or native wisdom; it had been supernaturally revealed to him by God the Father.

But the Son had something important to say to Peter also.

So Jesus added, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

We all know that more controversy has swirled around this verse than almost any other verse in the Gospel.

The question is, “Who or what is the rock?”

Part of the problem arises from the fact that the Greek words for Peter and for rock are similar, but the meanings are different.

The first, petros, means a stone or loose rock; the second, petra, means rock, such as a rocky ledge.

So what Jesus really said was “ … you are Peter (stone), and on this rock I will build My church.”

He did not say He would build His church on a stone but on a rock.

If Peter is not the rock, then what is?

If we stick to the context, the obvious answer is that the rock is Peter’s confession that Christ is the Son of the living God, the truth on which the church is founded.

Ephesians 2:20 teaches that the church is built on Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone.

Its statement that we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets refers not to them, but to the foundation laid in their teachings concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

All believers are joined into this church by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Jesus praised Peter for his confession of faith. It is faith like Peter’s that is the foundation of Christ’s Kingdom.

16:19 The meaning of this verse has been a subject of debate for centuries. Some say the “keys” represent the authority to carry out church discipline, legislation, and administration (18:15-18), while others say the keys give the authority to announce the forgiveness of sins (John 20:23).

Still others say the keys may be the opportunity to bring people to the Kingdom of Heaven by presenting them with the message of salvation found in God’s Word (Acts 15:7-9).

The religious leaders thought they held the keys of the Kingdom, and they tried to shut some people out.

We cannot decide to open or close the Kingdom of Heaven for others, but God uses us to help others find the way inside.

To all who believe in Jesus and obey his words, the Kingdom doors are swung wide open.

16:20 Jesus warned the disciples not to publicize Peter’s confession because they did not yet fully understand the kind of Messiah He had come to be—not a military commander, but a suffering Servant.

They needed to come to a full understanding of Jesus and their mission as disciples before they could proclaim it to others in a way that would not cause a rebellion.

They would have a difficult time understanding what Jesus came to do until His earthly mission was complete.

This incident, which took place six months before the Crucifixion, was pivotal in Jesus’ ministry, marking the climax of His teaching concerning His own Person.

In verse 21, Jesus begins to reveal a series of detailed predictions concerning His suffering, death, burial, and resurrection.
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Monday, August 1, 2022
Worthy Brief

THE GATES OF HADES SHALL NOT PREVAIL!

Matthew 16:17-19

“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.

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.”

Caesarea Phillipi, where Yeshua (Jesus) revealed Himself as Messiah to His disciples, was home to the Temple of Pan, a place so demonic that many of the rituals performed there are too horrible to mention in a daily devotion.

The city sits at the foot of Mount Hermon, which was known as the ‘Rock of the Gods’, referring to the many shrines built against it.

At the foot of Mount Hermon sat the temple of Pan, the ruins of which can still be seen there.

In the rear of the temple was a cave with a deep pool (which also remains there) from which spring water flowed.

Ancient Pagans believed that the water symbolized the abyss, and that the cave was a door to the underworld.

The cave at the rear of the temple was considered the ‘Gate of Hades’ because it was believed that Baal would enter and leave the underworld through it.

God only knows what kind of spiritual activity passed through this realm of darkness.

It was here, in the most demonic place in Israel, that Yeshua chose to reveal, through Peter’s spirit inspired proclamation, that He was Messiah, the Son of God.

And it was in this place of repugnant darkness and spiritual degeneracy that the Lord announced His intention to build His “Church” (or “congregation”).

And it was in this ” Hell hole” that He gave us the assurance, “The Gates of Hell will NOT prevail against it.”

We are planted where evil dwells, to proclaim and represent the Lord of Light. And we seem to be witnessing an advance of evil in this world that is unprecedented, and is becoming a “flood” reminiscent of the “Days of Noah”.

How precious and vital are the Lord’s words, “The Gates of Hell will NOT prevail…”

Believing those words, we will stand, every day, and we will overcome the power of Satan, by faith, especially as we continue to pray as He taught us, “Deliver us from evil.”

Not in our own strength or power – but in the power of God given to all His children through His Son!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Knoxville, Tennessee
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Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️

Author: SPARKS FROM THE ANVIL OF LIFE

This is an open forum where we look into and investigate the Rhema Mysteries of God's Word; and also other issues of importance for our day and time.

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