March 21, 2014
Zechariah 3:8, 9; Matthew 16:13-19
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Jesus is The Seven-Faceted Stone of Zechariah 3:8 and 9 (The Amplified Bible):
…behold, I will bring forth My servant the Branch….For behold, upon the
stone that I have set before Joshua, upon that one stone are seven eyes or
facets….Behold, I will carve upon it its inscription, says the LORD of hosts,
and I will remove the iniquity and guilt of this land in a single day….
We have been looking at how – in seven aspects or facets – Jesus is represented in the Bible as the Stone or Rock. In the last three blogs, featuring Luke 20:17 and 18, we saw Him in His first three facets: the chief cornerstone, the breaking stone and the crushing stone.
Now we will look at Matthew 16:13 through 19 in which we will find the next facet:
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?” So they said, “Some say
John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter answered
and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 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. 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. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom
of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what-
ever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
4. Jesus is The Foundation of the Church – The first facet of the Stone was that Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the temple He is building in which He will permanently dwell. Just as God indwelt Solomon’s Temple with His shekinah glory (see I Kings 8:10 and 11), so He, by the Holy Spirit is building with living stones – us! – a spiritual house, a holy temple to show forth His glory to the world (see Ephesians 2:19-22; I Peter 2:5).
But more than the most important Stone, the chief cornerstone, Jesus is the whole foundation upon which the Church is being built! It’s a play on words that the Lord is using in our Matthew 16 passage. And if we understand this, it will clear up a lot of confusion that has plagued millions of Christians over the centuries. The Lord said, “…you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church…” (verse 18). He called Peter ‘petros’ in the Greek, meaning “(a piece of) rock.” It can be a large rock, but it is still movable. And Peter proved he could be moved about from one place to another – rather unstable – as when he denied Christ three times. But Jesus said He would build His Church on ‘petra’, meaning “(a mass of) rock” – immovable bedrock! (Strong’s A Concise Dictionary of the Words in The Greek New Testament). Jesus Christ is the foundational Rock upon which the Church is built, not Peter!
Even Hades – or the realm of the dead (death, hell, sin and Satan) – will not overcome His Church! (verse 18). And He has given us the keys to unlock the Kingdom of Heaven for people by telling them of the Savior who has died and lives for them, who will set them free if they put their trust in Him. We can declare someone bound or loosed depending on what they do with Jesus – accepting or rejecting Him as their Savior! (verse 19).
But remember, it starts with the same realization to which Peter gave affirmation in his confession in verse 16: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This implies that Jesus Christ is the only Savior and Lord of all! He will judge the world, and there is safety only by putting your faith – your life – in Him! It does not matter concerning your soul’s destiny what others think about Him (verse 14). He asks everyone the personal question, “But who do you say that I am? ”
What is your answer?