Session #109 On This Rock
Scripture Matthew 16:13-20
Summary Matthew 16:13-20 is often referred to as the high point or climax of the gospel where Peter declares that famous line, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” To this end, the lessons here are also pivotal for those who regard themselves as people of the kingdom of God. Henson shares four alignment checkpoints for followers of the Christ.
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. Matthew 16:13–20
This passage begins with controversy over Jesus’ identity, but there is also a miracle involved because Jesus tells Peter that his confession of Jesus as the Christ was not revealed to him naturally by man but rather supernaturally from heaven.
Revelation: Great answer, Peter. But …(Matthew 16:17)
Jesus is not looking for the right answer, but the right revelation. Not by flesh and blood, but by the Father’s revelation of His Son.
At Jesus’ baptism and on the Mount of Transfiguration, God revealed who Jesus is, His Son (Hebrew 1:1-3). Paul also states that “it pleased God … to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him …” in Galatians 1:15 and again in Ephesians 1:17 “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
Ask the Father to reveal the Son to you by the Holy Spirit. We can always do with a greater revelation of Jesus, our King, as King. There are too many right answers in the church but not enough revelation. Sermons and teachings are good but without revelation, it is still not enough.
Identification (Matthew 16:18)
When we have a right revelation of who Jesus is, we then know who we are with who He is, that is alignment.
You are not identified by what you do, which church you worship at, the ministry you serve in, but when you rightly identify Christ, you will then be rightly identified by and with Christ (1 Peter 2:4–5). We are also living stones but these stones will be misplaced and misaligned if there is not first a cornerstone. We all take reference from Jesus the Cornerstone but it requires revelation, without which, this makes no sense.
In John 1:42, when Jesus first met Peter, He called him Cephas which is translated, a stone.
It is only when you begin to align with Christ that your own identity in Christ makes sense.
Foundation (Matthew 16:18) Revelation and Identification Lay the Foundation.
The church was first mentioned as ekklesia in the books of Acts. It is not organizational or institutional, as we are used to. In Septuagint, ekklesia referred to the congregation of Israel (Deuteronomy 18:16; 23:2) meaning the people of the kingdom.
Jesus was saying, “I will build My church” which means “My messianic, kingdom community”. As Jesus is Christ, His followers will be Christians.
Peter was the de facto leader in Acts 2 with about 120 disciples making the kingdom community. Taking 12 tribes x 10 men (community) would give 120 which represented the new Israel.
But there were only 11 leaders or apostles. This led them to replace Judas to restore the kingdom core of 12 that would represent the kingdom governance and the kingdom principle.
If Peter was representative of church leadership, imagine if every leader had both revelation and identification of Jesus as King. Imagine if every believer of Jesus the Christ had both revelation and identification? The church of Jesus Christ will have such a solid foundation, unshakeable. The gates of Hades would not prevail against it.
The gates of Hades represent the spiritual portal, spiritual darkness, powers, and principalities. Whatever life deals you, however, challenging assignments may be … you stand!
Isaiah 38:10, has idiomatic meaning power of death, physical death. The gates of Hades will not prevail against the church
Authorization (Matthew 16:19)
Keys are issued and given based on revelation. When do we give keys to our children? When they can understand and attain a certain maturity. Peter did not receive the keys in Matthew 16 but on the Day of Pentecost. He thought he had the keys already, that is why he “rebuked” Jesus and was promptly put in his place as “satan”.
Keys of the Kingdom is Entry into the Kingdom
The allusion here is to the ancient manner of binding together the twin doors of houses with a chain to which a padlock was sometimes suspended. Therefore, the key of the kingdom is the key of the house of David (Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7).
Holiness and Righteousness
The kingdom is always about God’s holiness and righteousness according to His will and ways.
It is by grace through faith that we are hidden in Christ, enabled by the Holy Spirit. Sin, on the other hand, runs counter to God’s nature of holiness and His ways of righteousness. Matthew 18:15-20 deals with sin in the church who are people supposedly saved.
We have the authority to release and lose someone from their sin when they repent (John 20:23). But if one persists in sin and is non-repentant, we have the authority to declare him bound in his sin, and therefore shut the door to the kingdom of God.
Paul made very bold statements about those who will not inherit the kingdom in 1 Corinthians 6:8–9 and Galatians 5:19–21.
Revelation 3:8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
Jesus holds the door open for the church in Philadelphia, a faithful church. Contrast this with Laodicea who “shuts” Jesus outside the door.
In Matthew 7:21-23 and 25:14-30, they speak of faithfulness as a key to enter the kingdom.
A Right Understanding of the Word of God
“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:18
We have a responsibility to know and teach God’s ways rightly to others. Religious leaders were chided by Jesus for having this key of knowledge but not using it correctly (Luke 11:52).
Today, in the name of love, grace, and freedom, we have swung to the other extreme. Both legalism and licentiousness can lock one out of the kingdom. The kingdom of God is based on a relationship with love with the King and the liberty that He has secured for us through His substitutionary death on the cross.
Unlocking the Powers of Heaven
We have authority over demons. Paul says Satan is still “the prince of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) and “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4). That said, Satan and his demons are already defeated and disarmed. They are no threat to the church and kingdom.
We can cast out, but not to bind them. Instead, we are told to be sober and vigilant because the devil walks about like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8a). We are to resist the devil (1 Peter 5:8b; James 4:7) and he will flee from us. We are to repent, stop sinning, and live holy lives. To put on the armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-20).
These are not Christian superstition, but kingdom living. Leave Jesus and His angels to do the binding at the end of the age. Our part is to be obedient and faithful. Live right by the ways of the kingdom; do not give the enemy a foothold.
What use is authority …
if you don’t know Who the authority is from?
if you don’t know what the authority is for?
if you are not moving on kingdom assignments?
Who are the ones who will move on kingdom assignments? Those who know the Christ, and understand who they are with who He is. revelation, identification, foundation, for without these, authorization means nothing.
Kingdom authority is given for kingdom agenda and assignments. They are not for our agendas, pursuits, and desires.
After Awakening: Alignment Check (Matthew 16:20)
Peter and his friends must have had such an awakening, all ready to rush out and tell everyone. Jesus knew better, they were not ready. They still had their ideas of what King and kingdom entails. To move with such misalignment would be detrimental to Jesus’ kingdom assignment. Many move with good intentions but with lots of misalignments.
Against our backdrops of Caesarea Philippi, who is Jesus to you? Just one of the many gods to give you what you want? Or is He the King of the kingdom you claim to be a part of? Who is Jesus to you?
Is He the Christ? Is He King? Without this revelation, your identification may be misaligned, your foundation is questionable. If you are not interested in kingdom assignments, there is no need for authorization.