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Upon the Rock

John Collins03/31/2012
Matthew 16 describes how Jesus came into Caesarea Philippi, and asked his disciples who the people thought the Son of Man is.

Caesarea Philippi was a Roman city at the southwestern base of Mount Hermon, in a district known as the "Panion," named after the Greek god pan.  It was founded by Philip the Tetrarch, who made it into a capital of his large Tetrarchy, or Roman system of government.  It is the city where the woman with the blood issue that Jesus healed was from.

Though this city was filled with Pagan worship from the temple Herod had erected, the people recognized Jesus as a powerful man of God.  Some said He was John the Baptist, who Herod had already killed.  Some thought Him to be Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets, who also were already dead.  The city could recognize the spirit that was in Christ, and that it was a good one.  

The disciples told this to Jesus, and Jesus asked them, "but who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!"

Jesus blessed Peter, and said that he did not learn this from men on the earth.  Jesus said that His Father who is in heaven revealed this to Peter.  Jesus said, "You are Peter (which means 'stone'), and upon 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, Jesus told his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

As a man, this must have pleased Peter.  It's been said that Peter was the 'rock', but the two words differ.  Nevertheless, out of all the disciples, Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom.

Jesus foretold his coming death and resurrection to the disciples.  Oddly enough, out of all the disciples, Peter is the one that Jesus rebuked!  Peter was bold enough to take Jesus aside and tell Him that these things would never happen to Jesus.  Jesus responded to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan!  You are a hindrance to me.  You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Would we go into a Pagan district to preach the Gospel?  Would we have recognized Christ?  Out of all the disciples, would it have been us that Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom?  If we were given the keys, would we quickly rise and think we were bold enough to argue with Jesus?  Do we think that great men of God cannot take actions for Satan?  Are our minds on the things of God, or the things of man?

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