Who is the Rock that Christ Built His Church Upon?

Is Peter the Rock Christ Built His Church Upon?  Answering Roman Catholicism

View PDF Tract  / The Older The Bolder – Marshall Almarode 

The Catholic Church would have us believe that it is the true church and built upon Peter, the first Pope. To get the context of this discussion, let’s look at the following Scripture that talks about the Rock that the true church is built upon:

Matthew 16:13-20 – “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’

“They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’

“’But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’

“Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.”

Discussion:

Here are some questions that we should ask when reading this portion of Scripture. Who initiated this conversation? Was the question ever asked, “Who do you say Peter is?” Did Jesus ever tell Peter that he was to become the first Pope?

Let’s look carefully at each verse. Verse 13 says, “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’” Jesus initiates the conversation; it must be pretty important.

The next verse states, “They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’” It is obvious that the common people of His day didn’t know who He was. They missed who He was. They didn’t correctly identify Jesus. Then Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” This is still a specific question about the identity of Jesus. Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This is a correct identification of Jesus showing that those who know Him can identify Him correctly.

This contrasts the answer that those who didn’t know Him were answering (verse 14). The identification of Jesus as the Christ is a profound identification. In English, we have become so used to the words that they have lost some of the implications of the identity. It is saying that Jesus is the anointed one that was called the Messiah of the Old Testament. This is the very person who is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The Jewish nation was looking forward to this Messiah coming to save them from their sins. This verse is the focus of this section of Scripture.

The next verse is many times taken as the focus of this passage and therefore the wrong conclusion is the result. In verse 17, Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” Those commentators who take this verse as the main point, determine that the church is built upon a principle – revelation. All Jesus is saying is that the correct identity of Him is coming from a higher source than just a mere man – Peter.

The next verse, 18, is chosen by the Roman Catholic Church as the focal point of this section of Scripture. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

Jesus correctly identifies Peter but does not state, “Upon you I will build my church.” Letting the rest of the Bible interpret this statement shows that Christ’s church is built upon Himself! Peter says in 1 Peter 2:6-8, “For this is contained in Scripture: ‘Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’ This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,’ and, ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed” (NASB).

If Peter is the Rock that the church is built upon, shouldn’t he know it? Why does he say that Jesus is the cornerstone? Because God as Jesus Christ is the rock that the church is built upon. There is a theme in the Old Testament that God is our Rock and our Fortress. Here are some of the verses:

2 Samuel 22:47 – “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; And exalted be God, the rock of my salvation.”

Psalm 92:15 – “To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

2 Samuel 22:2 (NASB) – “And he said, ‘The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.’”

2 Samuel 22:3 – “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, Thou dost save me from violence.”

Psalm 18:2 – “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Psalm 18:46 – “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; And exalted be the God of my salvation.”

Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 28:1 – (A Psalm of David) “To Thee, O LORD, I call; My rock, do not be deaf to me, Lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.”

Psalm 31:3 – “For Thou art my rock and my fortress; For Thy name’s sake Thou wilt lead me and guide me.”

Psalm 42:9 – “I will say to God my rock, ‘Why hast Thou forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’”

Psalm 62:2 – “He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

Psalm 62:6 – “He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.”

Psalm 71:3 – “Be Thou to me a rock of habitation, to which I may continually come; Thou hast given commandment to save me, For Thou art my rock and my fortress.”

Psalm 144:1 (A Psalm of David) – “Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle.”

Why doesn’t Peter tell everyone that he is the Pope in Acts 10:25 and 26? “As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.” He doesn’t say, “Thank you for bowing down because I am the Pope. You can receive a blessing if you will kiss my ring.” What he does say is, “Stand up.  I am only a man myself.” Obviously, the Christian Church is built on Christ the Lord, not Peter.

In the next verse, Matthew 16:19, Jesus says that he will give them the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. The keys to the Kingdom of Heaven is the gospel, and if they preach it to people on earth then if they receive and believe then they get to go to Heaven if they don’t receive and believe it then they don’t get to go to Heaven.

He finishes by telling them not to tell anyone that he is the Christ. Jesus begins and ends this lesson with His identity. This lesson is very important. Is Jesus the rock that the church is built on or is it Peter or a principle? It is about Jesus’ identity, not Peter’s. Ask yourself Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that I am?”

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