UPON THIS ROCK
Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also 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. 19 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. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
There is only one other place in the entire scriptures where we find this phrase, Upon This Rock, is found. And it has absolutely nothing to do with this event. It is in Judges 6:20 where an angel of the Lord was dealing with Gideon. And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.
So? What’s the point? The point is that neither Mark, Luke, or John recorded this in their gospel writings. Nor is it mentioned by Paul, James, in their writings, or even Peter in his epistles! Nobody then, – not even Peter himself, – thought that the Lord Jesus was making Peter to be the pope! THAT is a concoction of the carnal, religious mind! According to Peter himself, the one Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, … by whose stripes ye were healed is the only Bishop of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24-25). And the only one who fits that description is Jesus of Nazareth!
We need to make sure we understand verse fifteen in our passage. For it clearly states that He – that is the Lord Jesus – saith unto THEM – all of the disciples. He was speaking unto the entire group! Not just to Peter! But Peter was always assuming the role of the spokesperson for the rest of the disciples. Therefore his is the voice of utterance for the faith of them all when he states, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Therefore the response that the Lord gave was not just concerning Peter’s statement, but concerned the effectual working of the Father in granting any man to see His Son!
This is that which he prayed about in his High Priestly prayer! John 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
In other words, the Lord was encouraged to actually see that the revelation of God was, indeed, working in the hearts and minds of human beings! John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. The revelation from the Father into the hearts of those whom he had given the Son in eternal election, was a matter of great joy to the Lord Jesus! Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Our bible publishers have turned our minds away from this in the title they have given to the last book. They entitle it, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine.” And it is not! Just read the very first two phrases to see the spiritually inspired title! Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, For it most assuredly is not set forth by the Holy Spirit to reveal “St. John the Divine!” But it is most certainly set forth to reveal the Holy Son of God, Jesus Christ! The bible publishers would be more accurate if they would print, “The Revelation TO St. John the Divine.”
Just simply consider the response of the Lord to Peter’s statement of faith for the group. In verse seventeen we read, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Carefully notice that the Lord first mentions Peter’s dad, and Peter’s flesh and blood before mentioning his own Father. He states first that Peter is Barjona. That is, “son of Jona.” Secondly he makes sure that he mentions the supply of thought that the human imagination gives from flesh and blood. – And this, we know, cannot inherit the kingdom of God; (1 Cor. 15:50).
And just why, in his statement of blessing, does he take time to mention these? Just read on down in this chapter and you will see Peter exercising a reasoning from his religiously trained flesh and blood. For in verse twenty three he is said to be more like unto Satan, than of Jona. And the reason given is that he gave himself over to think, however religiously, by contemplating heavenly matters in a carnal, human reasoning!
And just what did the Lord clearly reveal that Peter’s blessedness originated from? He was blessed by what he had received, not by who he was in himself. He was said to be blessed in exactly the same that present day believers are blessed. All humans of all ages are only blessed by receiving the revelation of Jesus Christ from the Father which is in heaven. There is no greater blessing than receiving this revelation! And there is no more wretched condition than refusing to believe this! John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. 1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
We can clearly see Peter’s “blessedness” in his first gospel message of the New Covenant, or Testament, upon the receiving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. And again as he first brings the gospel to the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house. And there commands the first baptism of Gentiles. But we can also see Peter’s “flesh and blood,” as the Apostle Paul has to restate what God had to say three times on that roof top in Joppa. For God let down that sheet of unclean creatures three times, commanding Peter not to call “common and unclean that which he has cleansed.”
Listen to the event recorded in the following passage. Galatians 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation (hypocrisy).
Peter was, as it were, enjoying his ham sandwich with Gentile believers, until James and the boys from Jerusalem walked it. Then he put in a breath mint to kill the pork smell and left the Gentile table to only eat kosher again with the Jewish believers. Again! Peter’s only blessedness was, as is that of all true blood bought Christians: they have received the revelation of God’s only begotten Son, by the Holy Spirit. And with us all, that which is born of the flesh, will always remain flesh, while that which is born of the Spirit will be spiritual! (John 3:6).
Peter’s Rock – Although there are many passages which could identify Peter’s rock for us, let it be established with just three verses; two from the Old and one from the New Testament. Deuteronomy 32:30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? 31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. 1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Notice in verse thirty one of Deuteronomy thirty two that the first word, rock, in not capitalized, while the second one is. It simply means that the heathen nations ‘gods,’ are nothing like Israel’s God! And also note that in the last phrase of that same verse it states that those nations even judge this to be so. For the Egyptians confess this in Exodus 14:26. And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
And so did the Philistines in 1 Sam. 5:7. And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.
And Rahab did so for the Canaanites in Josh. 2:9. And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.
The matter of the LORD God being the believer’s Rock was not just “invented” upon this account with Peter. Even the Gentile nations knew of it and confessed it from ancient times. And, without doubt, that Rock was Christ.
Peter’s Keys – But what of Peter’s keys? The Romanists declare that, by these they have the power to either grant eternal life, or deny it. And it is true that religion does keep a lot of souls out of the benefit of the truth! Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! (those who were to keep Moses’ law), for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
But again, no mortal has such power of himself! It is only maintained by Christ, through the Holy Spirit! Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
The only one who has the effectual use of these keys to open the way of salvation, or to close it is said to be he that is holy, he that is true. And just who do you suppose that is? We need not wonder. Revelation 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. It is the very Son of man, Jesus Christ!
And did you notice the three phrases that we highlighted in bold print in Revelation 3:7 & 8? The same phrase that appears there three times is, no man! And I don’t think anyone could possible disagree that Peter was a man! Right? There Peter could neither open, nor shut the doors of the kingdom, except the Lord, by the Holy Spirit, did so for him. Remember the three thousand souls that were added to the disciples of Christ on Pentecost? Consider this verse in the summation of that passage: Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. It certainly wasn’t Peter who added them to the church! And it most certainly was the Lord!
The ministers of the gospel do beseech souls in Christ’s stead, but are without any power to do so of themselves. It is purely the working of the Holy Spirit to birth a soul into the kingdom of Christ! 2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Pastor Gene Breed