40. “Upon this rock I will build my church”
JESUS, and his disciples, came into the towns of Cesarea Philippi. And by the way he asked them,
Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am? Whom say the people that I am?
They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or, that one of the old prophets is risen again. Jesus said,
But whom say ye that I am?
Simon Peter answering said, The Christ of God. Jesus saith unto Peter,
Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
And I say 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.
And he straitly charged them that they should tell no man of him: that he was Jesus the Christ.
¶From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he, the Son of man, must go unto Jerusalem, and be killed, saying,
The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
He spake that saying openly. Then Peter began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
When Jesus had turned and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying,
Get thee behind me, Satan: thou are an offence unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
¶When he had called the people unto him, with his disciples also, he said unto them,
If any man will come after me, whosoever will, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, lose his own soul? or be cast away? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory: and cometh in the glory of his Father with his holy angels.
And he said,
But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power, the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Scripture: Matthew 16:13-23
Meditation 1 of 2:
At an opportune time Jesus tests his disciples with a crucial question: Who do men say that I am and who do you say that I am? He was widely recognized in Israel as a mighty man of God, even being compared with the greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. Peter, always quick to respond, exclaimed that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God. No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter; but only God. Jesus then confers on Peter authority to govern the church that Jesus would build, a church that no powers would overcome. Jesus plays on Peter’s name which is the same word for “rock” in both Aramaic and Greek. 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”. Through Abraham God established a nation for himself. Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus truly was. He was the first apostle to recognize Jesus as the Anointed One(Messiah and Christ) and the only begotten Son of God. The New Testament describes the church as a spiritual house or temple with each member joined together as living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5). Faith in Jesus Christ makes us into rocks or 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. Make my faith strong like Peter’s and give me boldness to speak of you to others that they may come to know you personally as Lord and Savior and grow in the knowledge of your love”.
Scripture: Matthew 16:24-28
Meditation 2 of 2:
What is the most important investment you can make with your life? Jesus poses some probing questions to challenge our assumptions about what is most profitable and worthwhile. In every decision of life we are making ourselves a certain kind of person. The kind of person we are, our character, determines to a large extent the kind of future we will face and live. It is possible that some can gain all the things they set their heart on, only to wake up suddenly and discover that they missed the most important things of all. Of what value are material things if they don’t help you gain what truly lasts in eternity. Neither money nor possessions can buy heaven, mend a broken heart, or cheer a lonely person. Jesus asks the question: What will a person give in exchange for his or her life? Everything we have is an out-right gift from God. We owe him everything, including our very lives. It’s possible to give God our money, but not ourselves, or to give him lip-service, but not our hearts. A true disciple gladly gives up all that he has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. God gives without measure. The joy he offers no sadness or loss can diminish. The cross of Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin and death. What is the cross which Jesus Christ commands me to take up each day? When my will crosses with his will, then his will must be done. Are you ready to lose all for Jesus Christ in order to gain all with Jesus Christ?
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and all my will, all that I have and possess. You have given them to me; to you, O Lord, I restore them; all things are yours, dispose of them according to your will. Give me your love and your grace, for this is enough for me.” (Prayer of Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556)