“And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
Throughout the Bible narrative, both in the Old as well as the New Testament, rock or the rock is mentioned innumerable times. It is used at times as an indication of a certain place or locale, such as in Judges 7, where we read of Gideon slaying the Midianites at the rock of Oreb, or as in Ex. 17 where the Lord God tells Moses that He will stand upon the rock in Horeb. More often, however, it is used as an indication or description of God and His many attributes, as is found in many of the Psalms of David. David was well aware that the Lord was his Rock, his mainstay, his fortress, his salvation, his strength, etc.
Thus, David, when he was talking about the “Rock”, was always referring to his God, and he, David, was very aware that from God and in God, lay his salvation and his strength. David had a relationship with his God that few others ever possessed, and it was because of that relationship and his convictions that David was able to express his feelings and his thoughts in all of the many beautiful Psalms. But when Jesus mentions that “Rock” in His statement to Peter in Mat. 16:18, He, Jesus, is not talking about God or Himself, but instead is referring to Peter’s exclamation, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” That truth was and is the culmination of the Edenic promise of Gen. 3:15, the seed of the woman, and the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy as found in Isa. 9:6, For unto us (Israel, His people) a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” That was the promise of the long expected Messiah, the Deliverer of Israel, Jesus the Christ, our Redeemer.
That statement of Peter has for some two thousand years stood firm as the foundation of Christianity. There is somewhat of a play of words in Jesus statement when He said, “Thou art Peter, (a stone), and upon this Rock, (solid unmovable foundation), I will build My church. We, as believers, are all building stones or bricks if you will, in building the church that Jesus referred to, see 1Pet. 2 verse 5, where we read, “Ye also as living stones, are build up a spiritual house.” (1Pet. 2:5)
In Mat. 7 Jesus gives us the parable of a builder when He said, “Therefore, whosoever heareth these saying of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock,” (Mat. 7:24,25) If any of you, our readers, are in any way familiar with building a home, you will know that laying a solid and firm foundation is a very essential part in building that house. Now building said house on flat ground is in itself hard enough, but building on a rocky hillside makes it doubly as hard. It takes a concerted effort to lay a footing and build a foundation on uneven rocky terrain. It is hard back breaking work and very time consuming. It is the same with building a relationship, founded upon a rock, which is Christ.
It is easy enough to say, I believe in Jesus, and I know I am an Israelite, but that does not necessarily give us a solid relationship with our Lord. I have personally known people who go to church faithfully every Sunday, who say they are Christians, but during the rest of the week show no difference from the rest of the “ME” crowd. For a lot of them, it is not easy to walk the talk. The pressures of everyday life in this wicked and uncertain world is just too much for such folk, simply because they have never been able to build a rock solid foundation based on the absolute truths of God and His Holy Word. To some it has not yet been given, others just refuse to put forth the effort to achieve that goal. (Jesus said “Many are called, but few are chosen”). Mat. 20:16)
When, and if, we strive to obtain this relationship founded upon a “Rock”, we must first of all learn to deny self completely and rely in every and all things on the Lord. In whatever we do we must at all times first and foremost ask, what would the Lord have me do? It is then and only then that we will be able to say that our faith and our relationship with the Lord is truly founded upon that “Rock”. It will not always be easy, for our very nature will often not comply with our Spiritual mind, and like the building or laying the house foundations, it will be hard work and it will take time for each and every one of us to reach that stage in life where we will be comfortable in efforts to reach this Spiritual plateau. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto you souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mat. 11:28-30)
His burden was the Cross, on which He paid the price for the sins of His people by His blood and His death. Our burden is that all we are asked to do is to love and obey Him and worship Him as Lord and as King. “Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mat. 22:37) Not much of a price to pay in return of what He has paid for us.
And this you see, if we, His people attain to those things that Christ commanded, we will reach that stage in our walk with Him where we will truly be able to say without reservation, just as Peter exclaimed; “Thou art the Christ; the Son of the Living God. Our Rock and our Fortress and our Strength.”