Paneas and the Church

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:15–18 (MEV)

Peter’s declaration is the truth. It is a truth that is revealed to people by the Father. It is the truth that changes the world. It is the truth that changes people.

Blessed are you Simon… I tell you that you are Peter. Putting these two phrases together helps to see the significance. It is here that Jesus gives a new name to Simon. By this very thing, Jesus is once again demonstrating that He is God. We have to refer back to Genesis for the first occurrence.

No longer will your name be called Abram, but your name will be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.

Genesis 17:5 (MEV)

God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. It signifies a few things. In Abram’s situation, the Hebrew letter heh, was added. Because the Hebrew letters connote significant meaning, heh conveys the idea of spirit of breath. Abram had that inserted into his name. It becomes a sort of prophecy to God putting His Spirit in believers. In the same way, Sarai’s name was changed.

We also know that there are other places where people’s names have been changed. Daniel has his name changed, as well as his friends’ names when they were assimilated into Babylon.

When Jesus changes Peter’s name, we must think back to these things. That God changes names, Jesus is showing that He is God. The name change show Peter to be assimilated into a new culture. Peter is connected to the promises of God, and like Abraham, he serves God by making Him known to the world. Abraham was an integral part of the promise of God, as was Sarah. And now we see Peter, too in the same way. In that moment, Peter overcame.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows except he who receives it.

Revelation 2:17 (MEV)

The believer is granted a new name. One that shows such has been assimilated into a new culture. One that says this one is an integral part of the promises of God.

Of course, Revelation is speaking of a future time. In the present, the moment we believe, each of us is given a new name. We are called Christian. The new name also includes a new identity as a child of God, and joint-heir with Jesus Himself. We are part of a new culture.

You Are Petros

When Jesus gives that name to Peter, and then declares He will build His church, there is a play on words. In the underlying Greek, Peter (Petros) is a name that means stone or pebble.

When Jesus says “on this rock” (ho petra) He is NOT speaking about Peter. Though the words are almost the same, there are differences. One is masculine and the other feminine. In English, this distinction is insignificant at best. But in other languages, the genders of the nouns and the verbs associated with them must match. Peter (stone; Petros; masculine) is not the same as rock (petra; feminine.)

“On this rock” is a reference to bedrock or massive rock formations like the mountain that towered by them. This isn’t a declaration that Peter is the first pope. Nor is it a declaration that Peter is the stand-in for Jesus on Earth.

No. It is on the bedrock truth, that Jesus is the living Son of God is the foundation of the church He will build. This Son of God is living as opposed to the disembodied spirits and others remanded to the netherworld.

The Gates of Hell

The Gates of Hell will not withstand the onslaught of the truth.

In all practical purposes, Jesus is delaying the church is not defensive… Waiting for the enemy’s attack. We have the upper hand. Jesus has prevailed. We are the conquerors who take enemy territory. That means we reclaim real ground and help rescue people from fires of perdition.

Jude 20–23 (MEV): But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith. Pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God while you are waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, which leads to eternal life.

On some have compassion, using discernment. And others save with fear while pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Jesus is calling each of us into battle. The idea is to grow to maturity in the faith. The moment you became a believer is when you entered real spiritual warfare. Your testimony in Jesus reminds the fallen of their shame.

Fallen angels and demons have no blood, no life in a body, and no Kinsman Redeemer. Therefore, angels and demons have part in resurrection.

Binding and Loosing

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.”

Matthew 16:19 (MEV)

The previous citation in Jude introduced us to the authority and responsibility we have. You’ve probably been taught that these things are only given to leaders. That would be a mistake to continue to think that. I am going to cite another portion of Jesus’ last words before His assumption.

John 20:22–23 (MEV): When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.”

When Jesus breathed the Spirit on the apostles, it came with a great responsibility. A pattern develops, that a believer does exercise the power of binding and loosing. (My stomach just bunches at that thought, I have explored a very similar idea.)

We believers have the authority and ability to save souls!

That means how we treat others for what they do or don’t do to us is heavy with meaning. We can hold anger over a person and bind them. That unforgiving anger can fester. When it does, it means that was given rights. The end result binds the heart that holds resentment. It lives rent-free in the mind.

This idea is sobering. We easily become aware of the striking reality. Each believer can bind or loose. That means whatever we permit will have rights. What we loose, won’t gain foothold. (Tuck that into your mind.)

Then He commanded His disciples to tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

Matthew 16:20 (MEV)

It may seem odd to us for Jesus to want some secrecy. This is yet another subtle hint that He is indeed God. He is controlling the timing of what must happen. He was not keeping truth or salvation away from anyone, but that the time was not yet right.

Surprisingly, this is not done. Your bibles may have a topical division that seems to end this encounter with that statement. Jesus has more to say on this subject, and we will continue to examine it.

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