February 22: The Rock of Faith (Matthew 16:13-20)
Adult Education: This Sunday at 9:00am, Nik Lingle will continue a series on Peacemaking in the youth room ("Glorify God: Bringing God Into Your Situation"), and Ray Rutledge will continue The Gospel Project in Adult 1 ("The Seventh Daily Sin: Wrath").
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered 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 tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. (ESV)
After being rejected by the religious leadership, Jesus asks his disciples for the common perception of his identity. While various options are given, only Peter gets it right: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. After rejoicing with Peter over his confession, Jesus reminds all the disciples that this is not something that can be discerned or discovered but only revealed by divine grace. Upon this confession all will enter the church and succeed even against the gates of hell. The church, a precursor to the kingdom, will carry on the work of Jesus, the Son of the living God. For the first time in such clear fashion Jesus is understood in his role of Messiah and Savior. Confessing Jesus rightly and following him joyfully is essential to entering the community of the Messiah. If you can affirm this truth of Jesus as Messiah, rejoice over God's grace.
Review and Apply
- What is incomplete in the people's view of Jesus as John the Baptist, Elijah, or Jeremiah?
- What does it mean to call Jesus Messiah? How has your knowledge of Jesus deepened in the last few years?
- Compare Matt 11:25-27 with Matt 16:17. How do they agree? How does this affect your worship?
- What/Who is the rock upon which Jesus will build his church?
- What value do you give to the church in real terms, not theory?
- What does it mean that "the gates of hell" will not prevail against the church? What comfort do you get form this?
- What does it mean to bind and loose on earth?