13 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?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 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. 18 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. 19 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.”
20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.
There are several interesting things about this passage of scripture that is so important to the church today.
1 Place of announcement: Caesarea Philippi was once of the most evil places during this time. The false god Pan was worshipped here and sacrifices were offered in a cave/grotto that housed a deep pool of water fed from an underground spring. The Romans considered this are “the gates of Hades”. Incidentally, the word “panic” is derived from this false god. So you can see the importance of the place of revelation, the sure foundation, the chief cornerstone stands in stark contrast to panic. In Christ we find our peace and rest from the things that would induce panic. Never under estimate the place where God reveals Himself to you!
This is a photo of the grotto where Pan worship accorded.
2 Our Culture mirrors the first century culture
The church was not affected by culture. Standing in direct contradiction to culture was more accurate. We now stand in the same place that the first century church found itself in. Today the culture dictates ideas and the mind sets that are in direct opposition to the church. At least, the church SHOULD stand in direct opposition to these mindsets. This is why the church must return to her roots and become the church that Christ died for and the church that the Holy Spirit birthed. The church no longer is the center of culture, it no longer dictates to culture and to be honest, I’m not sure the last point is a bad thing. Christ desires a church to stand against the sinful things of this world. Unfortunately, churches are far to willing to turn their heads and “go along, just to get along”. It’s time for this sleeping giant to arise and move forward in boldness for God’s Kingdom!
We are promised victory in this passage and we are promised help in this passage! This is where the church struggles many times. There is no victory if there is no fight! Therefore, we must decide to fight right! We must decide to fight the right opponent. We must decide to avail ourselves to the help promised by Jesus. Our rock is Christ the Messiah, it is this rock that He speaks of, this bedrock truth destroys the gates of hell. We are meant to be a moving force, not an idle entity. We have a promise of help in the form of Heaven hearing our prayers and opening itself to us. The problem most Christians face is that we are not praying for the Kingdom of God to move and that God’s will would be done, we are focused on the earthly and temporal things. Let us look unto Jesus and allow Him to lead us into victory!
So why the church? When the church is the church that He desires, we see healing, hope, salvation, deliverance, grace, mercy, fulfillment, and the list goes on and on! Why the church? Because if the church IS THE CHURCH, than the world we see a Savior!