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Greyson White
Greyson White

The Rock, the Church, and the Gates of Hades: A Biblical Study of Matthew 16:18

Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church: A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant when He said to Peter, "upon this rock I will build My church" (Matthew 16:18)? This phrase has been a source of debate and controversy among Christians for centuries. Some claim that it establishes Peter as the first pope and the supreme leader of the church. Others argue that it refers to Peter's confession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. Still others suggest that it points to Peter as a representative of the apostles and prophets who are the foundation of the church.

upon this rock i will build my church pdf download

In this article, we will explore the meaning, context, interpretation, and implication of this phrase. We will also show you how you can download a PDF version of this guide for your convenience and further study. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of what Jesus meant when He said, "upon this rock I will build My church".


What does the phrase "upon this rock I will build my church" mean?

The phrase "upon this rock I will build my church" is part of a larger conversation that Jesus had with His disciples in Caesarea Philippi. He asked them, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" (Matthew 16:13). They replied with various opinions that they had heard from others, such as John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Then He asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15). Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Jesus commended Peter for his answer and said, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:17-18).

The phrase "upon this rock I will build my church" means that Jesus would establish His church on the basis of something or someone that He identified as "this rock". The question is, what or who is "this rock"? There are three main views that have been proposed by different Christian traditions and scholars:

  • The Catholic view: Peter is the rock and the first pope.

  • The Protestant view: Peter's confession is the rock and Christ is the cornerstone.

  • The alternative view: Peter represents the apostles and prophets who are the foundation of the church.

We will examine each of these views in more detail in the next section.

Why is this phrase important for Christians?

This phrase is important for Christians because it reveals several truths about the nature, origin, and mission of the church. The church is not a human invention or a social organization. It is a divine creation and a spiritual community. The church belongs to Jesus, who is its builder, owner, and head. The church is founded on the revelation of God's truth and the profession of faith in Jesus as the Lord and Savior. The church is empowered by the Holy Spirit and the authority of Jesus to proclaim the gospel and to make disciples of all nations. The church is invincible against the forces of evil and death, because it has the promise of Jesus' presence and protection.

Therefore, this phrase should inspire us to love, serve, and honor Jesus as the head of the church. It should also motivate us to be faithful, obedient, and united as members of His body. It should also challenge us to be bold, courageous, and diligent in fulfilling His commission.

How can you download a PDF version of this phrase and its explanation?

If you want to download a PDF version of this phrase and its explanation, you can do so by clicking on this link: Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church PDF Download. This PDF file contains a copy of this article as well as a commentary on Matthew 16:18 by Amir Fatir, a Muslim scholar who offers an alternative perspective on this phrase. You can use this PDF file for your personal study, reference, or sharing with others.

The Biblical Context of the Phrase

The setting: Caesarea Philippi

The setting of this conversation is Caesarea Philippi, a city located about 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. It was originally called Paneas, after the Greek god Pan, who was worshiped there. It was later renamed Caesarea Philippi by Herod Philip, a son of Herod the Great, who ruled over that region. He named it after Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor, and himself. The city was also known for its temple dedicated to Caesar, which symbolized the political and religious allegiance to Rome.

Caesarea Philippi was a place of idolatry, paganism, and oppression. It was an unlikely place for Jesus to reveal His true identity and His plan to build His church. Yet, it was also a fitting place for Him to contrast His kingdom with the kingdoms of this world. He chose this place to test His disciples' faith and to prepare them for His upcoming suffering, death, and resurrection.

The question: Who do you say that I am?

The question that Jesus asked His disciples was not a casual or trivial one. It was a crucial and decisive one. It was a question that demanded a personal and clear response. It was a question that revealed their understanding and commitment to Him.

Jesus did not ask this question because He did not know who He was or what others thought of Him. He asked this question because He wanted His disciples to know who He was and what He came to do. He wanted them to confess their faith in Him as the Messiah and the Son of God. He wanted them to acknowledge His authority and follow His will.

The answer: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God

The answer that Peter gave on behalf of the disciples was not a human opinion or a vague speculation. It was a divine revelation and a solid confession. It was an answer that expressed their belief and loyalty to Him. It was an answer that affirmed His identity and mission.

Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). The word "Christ" means "anointed one" or "Messiah". It refers to the promised deliverer who would come from the line of David and fulfill God's covenant with Israel. The title "Son of God" means more than a human descendant or a moral agent of God. It implies a unique relationship with God as His only begotten Son who shares His nature and glory. 71b2f0854b


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