Gospel: Matthew 16:13-23
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he
asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?" 14
And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and
others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, "But
who do you say that I am?"16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the
Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus answered him,
"Blessed are you, Simon BarJona! For flesh and blood has not
revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I
tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,
and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will
give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind
on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on
earth shall be loosed in heaven." 20 Then he strictly
charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. 21
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go
to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief
priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be
raised. 22 And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying,
"God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you." 23 But he
turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a
hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men."
Through the gift of faith Peter recognized that Jesus was the "anointed one" (in Hebrew and Greek the word is translated as Messiah and Christ), and the only begotten Son of God sent by the Father in heaven to redeem a fallen human race. No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter; but only God. Jesus then conferred on Peter authority to govern the church that Jesus would build, a church that no powers could overcome. Jesus played on Peter's name which is the same word for "rock" in both Aramaic and Greek.
Spiritual rock and living stones
To call someone a "rock" is one of the greatest of compliments. The ancient rabbis had a saying that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed: "I have discovered a rock to found the world upon." Abraham put his trust in God and made God's word the foundation of his life and the bedrock of his faith. Through Abraham God established a nation for himself. Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus truly was. He was the first apostle to proclaim that Jesus was truly the Anointed One (Messiah and Christ) and the only begotten Son of God.
The New Testament describes the church, the people of God, as a spiritual house and temple of the Holy Spirit with each member joined together as living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5). Faith in Jesus Christ makes us into rocks - spiritual stones. The Lord Jesus tests each of us personally with the same question: Who do you say that I am?
"Lord Jesus, I profess and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. You are my Lord and my Savior who has set me free from sin and deception. Make my faith strong like the Apostles Peter and Paul and give me boldness to speak of you to others that they may come to know you as Lord and Savior."
2 Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares
3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Only by hope, by Basil the Great, 329-379 A.D.
"'Turn, O my soul, into your rest: for the Lord has been
bountiful to you' (Psalm 114:7). The brave contestant applies to
himself the consoling words, very much like to Paul, when he says:
'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have
kept the faith. For the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of
justice.' These things the prophet also says to himself: Since you
have fulfilled sufficiently the course of this life, turn then to
your rest, 'for the Lord has been bountiful to you.' For, eternal
rest lies before those who have struggled through the present life
observant of the laws, a rest not given in payment for a debt owed
for their works but provided as a grace of the munificent God for
those who have hoped in him." (excerpt from HOMILIES
Scripture quotations from Common Bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United
States of America. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. Citation references for quotes from
the writings of the early church fathers can be
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