And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 NABRE
Jesus asked a question of the Apostles, “… who do you say I am.” (Matthew 16:15) Simon responds the Messiah and Jesus blesses him, declaring his response did not come from any human being and calls him the rock. In declaring him the rock Jesus renames him to Peter which means rock, sometimes he is called Cephas (kepha), the Aramaic translation for rock, the language Jesus would have originally spoken. It is not uncommon for someone anointed by God to be renamed, Abram (Abraham), Sarai (Sarah), and Jacob (Israel) are a few examples. Jesus says Peter will be the rock upon which His church will be built. The Greek word used is “ekklesia,” which takes it meaning from earlier scriptures where it is used to mean “assembly’ or “congregation” of the people of God (see Deuteronomy 9:10, Joshua 8:35; 1 Kings 8:65) It would seem Jesus envisions an assembly of believers, perhaps even thinking of a temple full of believers. Today we see the church as the people but of course always have meeting places we also call church. Jesus goes on to tell Peter that the gates of the netherworld shall never prevail against His church. The symbolism of the gates of the netherworld were the opening down to Hades, also called Sheol, or the Pit, which is a dark and gloomy underworld hidden in the bowels of the earth, according to Israel’s theology. It is a place of souls with a joyless existence.
Jesus is promising, that the rock of the His church will never be overcome by death, nor devil nor any evil or deceiving spirits. We are emboldened by this promise that the assembly of followers will always prevail.
Are you the church? Do you feel the church will always exist?Jesus is promising, that the rock of the His church will never be overcome by death, nor devil nor any evil or deceiving spirits. We are emboldened by this promise that the assembly of followers will always prevail. Click To Tweet
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