Summary: Jesus was beginning to build His Church, but before He could start He had to make sure that His disciples knew exactly who He was. As His disciples today we must know exactly who He is also. Our answer will determine where we will spend eternity.
Jesus was beginning to build His Church, but before He could start He had to make sure that His disciples knew exactly who He was. As His disciples today we must know exactly who He is also. Our answer will determine where we will spend eternity. How we answer this question will either qualify us for Heaven or Hell. The only way a person can qualify for Heaven is by answering the same way Peter did, “ You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”
The people of that day and the people of this day have varying opinions of who Jesus is. Until we believe that He is who He says He is we will continue on the way to Hell. God prompted Peter’s response. This was a personal conviction from God that laid the foundation for Peter’s salvation. It is also the same foundation on which Jesus built His Church. There is no doubt that the Church is built on Jesus. He is unquestionably the builder and the foundation that holds it up. It is Jesus who takes every believer, all the “living stones,” and places us as He chooses. The Church is dependent on Jesus, not mankind.
The true church is universal. It is made up of all who genuinely confess Jesus to be “the Messiah and the Son of the Living God.” Jesus not only loved and died for us individually, He also loved and died for the universal church. This church has been called out by God, sanctified and set apart by Him to form a gathering or assembly for the purposes of worship and to pool its resources in order to carry out the Great Commission of Jesus Himself. This is the first mention of the Church in the New Testament. Did you know that God Himself is present whenever His Church meets?
Peter’s confession to Jesus resulted in the assignment of great responsibility to all believers of the Church (the House of the Lord). We have been assigned as stewards of His House. The steward of the house is given the keys or the responsibility of the house. The keys are the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ Himself. It is the business of the steward to proclaim and teach the Gospel. When we proclaim and teach the Gospel, God unlocks the doors of Heaven. When we proclaim and teach anything else, God locks the doors to Heaven. Peter was the first to preach the Gospel and open the doors for Israel at Pentecost and to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius. Peter himself claimed no power or authority outside of proclaiming and teaching the Gospel. He was gifted by God and ordained as an Apostle and an Elder. Some have elevated Peter to the head of the Church, but we find that not to be true when we see that he became subordinate to James, who presided over the Jerusalem Council.
“Jesus sternly warned them not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah.” Peter’s confession must be understood before being shared with others. There were at least three reasons the disciples were warned not to tell anyone that Jesus was the Messiah.
1. They still needed more discipleship. They did not know the full Gospel. Jesus had not died or been resurrected, which is the mainstay of the Gospel.
2. They had not received the power of the Holy Spirit. This would take place on Pentecost.
3. The people did not understand the prophecies of the Messiah. These had to be taught by Jesus Himself.
Jesus is asking each of us today, “Who do you say I am?”
May God richly bless you with His Word.