What does Matthew 16 4

What is the rock in Matthew 16:18?



A debate has broken out over whether “the rock” on which Christ builds his Church is Peter or Peter's confession that Christ is “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). In all honesty, there is no absolutely certain way for us to know which angle is the correct one here. The grammatical sentence construction allows both views. The first angle is that Jesus declared that Peter would be the "rock" on which he builds his church. Apparently Jesus is using a play on words. "You are Peter (petros), and on this rock (petra) I want to build my church." Since the name Peter means rock and Jesus will build his church on a rock - Christ seems to connect the two. God used Peter many times in planting the church. It was Peter who first preached the gospel at Pentecost (Acts 2: 14-47). Peter was present when the Samaritans first received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8: 14-17) and he was also the first to bring the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10: 1-48). In that sense, Peter was the rock foundation of the church.

The other popular interpretation is that Jesus did not refer to Peter himself, but to the confession of Peter Faith in verse 16: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" Jesus had never explicitly informed Peter or the other disciples of the fullness of his identity and he realized that God had opened Peter's eyes and revealed to him who Jesus really was. His confession of Jesus as Messiah flowed out of him, a heartfelt declaration from Peter's personal conviction in Christ. It is this personal belief in Christ that is the hallmark of true Christianity. All who put their faith in Christ, like Peter, are the church. Peter expresses this truth in 1 Peter 2: 4 when he addressed the believers who were scattered in the ancient world: “Comes to him as the living stone, rejected by men, but chosen by God and precious. And you too, as living stones, build yourselves up into a spiritual house and holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are pleasing to God through Jesus Christ. "

At this point Jesus explains that God revealed this truth to Peter. The word for Peter (petros) means "a small stone / rock" (John 1:42). Jesus used a play on words with “petra”, which means “foundation stone”. This word is also used in Matthew 7: 24-25 when Jesus describes the rock on which the wise man builds his house. Peter himself also uses this image in his first epistle: the church is built on many small petros, "living stones" (1 Peter 2,5), which share Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. This creed is the foundation of the church community.

In addition, the New Testament makes it very clear that Christ is the foundation of the church (Acts 4:11; 12: 1; 1 Corinthians 3:11) and its head (Ephesians 5:23). It is a mistake to believe that Jesus gave this privilege to Peter. However, all apostles played a fundamental role in the founding of the church (Ephesians 2:20), but the primary position, of course, belongs to Christ alone and is not assigned to Peter. So the words of Jesus are best interpreted here as a simple play on words in which a rock-solid truth came from the mouth of what has been called the Little Rock. And Christ himself is referred to as the "corner stone" (1 Peter 2: 6-7). The cornerstone of every building was the one on which the building was anchored. If Christ declared himself the cornerstone, how could Peter be the rock on which the church is built? It is more likely that the believers belonging to Peter to serve are the stones that make up the church, anchored on the cornerstone "and whoever believes in him shall not be put to shame" (1 Peter 2: 6).

The Roman Catholic Church argues that Peter is the rock that Jesus referred to and uses this interpretation as evidence that it is the only true Church. As we have seen, the interpretation that Peter is the rock is not the only valid interpretation. Even if Peter is the rock in Matthew 16:18, the Roman Catholic Church would still have no authority. Nowhere does the Scriptures record that Peter was ever in Rome. Scripture also never states that Peter had authority over the other apostles. The New Testament does not describe Peter as the supreme leadership in the early Christian church. Peter wasn't the first Pope and Peter didn't start the Roman Catholic Church. The founding of the Catholic Church is not documented in the teachings of Peter himself or any of the other apostles in the Bible. If Peter were truly the founder of the Roman Catholic Church, that would be in full accordance with what Peter taught (Acts 2; 1 Peter; 2 Peter).

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What is the rock in Matthew 16:18?
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