Summary: This is a very controversial passage, and is the basis for a debate that has raged between Catholics and Protestants for many years. Let's see what Jesus was talking about when He referred to the person and the event as "the rock."
Passage: Matthew 16:13-21
Intro: We are looking at a passage today that has sparked huge controversy among believers.
1. and in fact, it is the interpretation of this passage that essentially separates Catholics from Protestants.
2. (by the way, protestant means “for the testament”, and not “protestors”)
3. so let’s apply that “pro- testamentism_) to this passage, and understand what Jesus said, not what we hope he said.
4. Jesus and disciples on a little debriefing trip up in Gentile territory.
5. but these two questions are huge, especially the 2nd. Because they are still being asked and answered today.
I. A Two Question Poll
Il) we might even stay on the line if the “pollster” said he only had two questions.
1. who do “men”, (very general) say that I am?
2. anonymous poll, “what are people saying?”
3. the answer was general, a list of options without percentages.
4. answers indicated a few things:
-OT promises were not the basis of their opinions.
-only “Elijah” had any proof
PP Malachi 4:5
5. but Jesus identified Elijah as John
6. what binds these various opinions together is:
-false hopes for a military Messiah
-ignorance or rejection of OT promises
-unwillingness to examine the evidence and commit to a conclusion
7. so essentially they were conclusions of unbelief.
8. a 2nd question that really held feet to the fire.
Il) like the difference between a phone poll and being in the voting booth with a ballot
9. “You” is emphatic and plural
10. what is the commitment you are ready to make based on two years of observation and participation?
11. this should make your heart leap for joy! The first full confession of faith in the revealed Christ.
12. In the Jewish context of unbelief, it is miraculous
13. Messiah=Son of God?
PP Psalm 2:6-8
PP Isaiah 9:6
14. Peter connected the dots!
15. Jesus was very enthusiastic at this clear sign of God’s work!
16. keep in mind two things: the confession itself, and the person who made it. It is not either or!
II. The Foundation of the Church
1. now this is where the interpretive trouble begins.
2. and in my view, the problem comes from a predictable source: context… we cannot forget it
3. A very specific question got a very specific answer, and Jesus was enthusiastric about the confession and the confessor.
4. Blessed are you, Simon son of …
5. no question whom addressing
6. “for this (confession) is clearly a work of God in your life”
7. continues in v18, gives him a new name because of his confession, and ties that name to Peter and his confession
-separation very serious mistake
8. Peter focal point of leadership because he was the first to confess faith in Christ as the Promised One, the Son of God.
Il) we can hardly realize what a miracle that was in the Jewish culture.
Il) Jesus was crucified for making this claim.
9. but it was this confession by this person that is the foundation of the church