JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…I will build my church…” (Matthew 16: 13-20)
June 28, 2010, 4:55 pm
Filed under: A Gospel According to Matthew, N Letter to the Colossians

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, Some say John the Baptist; others say Ellijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

The question “who do people say the Son of Man is?” that Jesus asked the disciples points to something important for each of us. Many people can have many ideas about who Jesus is. Many people can say a lot about Jesus. Many are confused about Jesus even today. But those who make these confusing statements about Jesus are statements based on their ignorance of a personal revelation of Jesus.

So Jesus cuts to the chase. “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” That is the question each person on earth must answer, you and I and the body of Christ, and we must get it right. Everything hangs in the balance on our getting that question right. I’m not talking about a rote quoting of Peter’s statement, but a personal revelation of who Jesus is. Only the Father can reveal the Son and that by the Holy Spirit. We can say “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” all day long but what does that reveal to you and us about Jesus? Do we really know Jesus?

Jesus described Himself as “the Son of Man.” It is an Old Testament reference which I think Peter recognizes but I think there is something more here. The disciples also heard Jesus refer to Himself also as the “Son of God.” As I check through my concordance I find that the word “Son” itself is used constantly through the gospels. Jesus Christ occupies something more than just a human being, more than just a man. As T. Austin Sparks would say, Jesus Christ was completely “other” than any other person on earth. The reason? Because He is the “Son of Man” and “Son of God.” We’re not talking about two distinct things, but the One and Only, Jesus Christ. It indicates Jesus identifying Himself with man in His humanity, but also His unique divine relationship. The rest of the New Testament interprets these words and the gospels as Jesus being fully God (Son of God) and fully man (Son of Man). But is knowing about Jesus as both 100% God and 100% man as a doctrine, whatever our human mind can understand or conceive of that fact, really bring us to an understanding of who Jesus really is? “Flesh and blood,” doctrines of man, while they can help us know more about Him, cannot bring revelation of Jesus, only the Father. Even this blog while making some attempt to describe this statement is little more than describing something about Jesus. You/we must each have a personal revelation of who Jesus is by His Holy Spirit!

Peter says: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus desires that we know Him personally, not know about Him. “Christ” is another word for “messiah” or “anointed” in the Hebrew. This one word means a lot within the prophetic stream of God’s progressive revelation and purpose in the Old Testament. In Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, all of the shadows and types described in the Old Testament find their fulfillment. He is the One everything in Scripture points to! How we need to know Jesus!

Anointing in the Old Testament was done for the tabernacle, sacrifices, priests and kings. And it signified approval by God, acceptable to God, or headship. Each shows a picture or shadow of Jesus Christ in type or function. The Scriptures also refer to a specific “Anointed One” to prophetically describe a coming Anointed Person completely different and “other” from anyone mentioned in Scripture. Additionally, where the word “son” is used in the Old Testament it seems to designate a special relationship to the LORD God. Isaiah probably gives one of the best descriptions of Jesus, the Son of God:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

Son in this passage is connected to a kingly function. He has a government, a government that is described as increasing, with “peace,” and “no end.” Government refers to lordship or headship over a people. But this kingdom is different from what we see today because it is of God. It is a kingdom that He has brought peace to. The Son refers to a unique relationship to the LORD Almighty: He is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty, God, Everlasting, Father, Prince, Peace. Truly Jesus is not just a man! Jesus has a kingly realm and is a king! But Jesus is more than a king! He is King of kings!

If we read the words of Isaiah correctly we can only conclude one thing – Jesus is one with the Father and one with the Holy Spirit (the Counselor). But God is One, here then we have a mystery, hidden from the beginning of time. Jesus is the Son of the living God! He is God the Son! God in Three Persons: Father, Son, and Spirit each a part of the Godhead, the Trinity as it has been described. One of Paul’s statements that interprets this is: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Col. 1:19-20).

If we understand the words of Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” we must conclude then it is about recognizing the Headship (anointed) and Relationship (Son) and His Deity or divine life (of the living God). But these words must be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit to guide us into seeing Jesus Christ as real to make Him known to us in a personal and spiritual way. It is about knowing Jesus Christ as Lord, knowing Him personally, knowing Him in relationship with the body of Christ by His life.

But then Jesus makes an interesting statement. He tells Peter that the statement he made was “this rock” that He would “build” His “church.” How then does Jesus build His church? It is by His headship over us, His relationship with us, and His divine life in us. The New Testament describes those who personally know Jesus as those who have “received Christ Jesus as Lord” and not just receive Him as Lord, but they are then called to live or walk in him in an ever growing relationship, under His headship (anointing) and not just each person, but the body of Christ, each person living together with Him (relationship) by His divine life (the living God) by faith. Jesus Christ desires to be revealed to us and through us to others! That is the rock bottom statement of how Jesus builds His church. Everything else in the New Testament describes this statement.

As I went and did my stretching exercises, push ups, sit ups, and two mile run this morning the thought occurred to me: We need all of the physical parts of our body to function properly in order to have an overall healthy body so to the church, as the body of Christ, in her gatherings, allow each of the different parts to freely function, by the Spirit, under the Headship of Jesus Christ for the health of the whole body of Christ. In so doing we show forth to the world His headship, His relationship, and His divine life.

Isn’t this what Jesus meant when He said: “I will build my church”?

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness…For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Col. 2:6-7).


2 Comments so far
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Very beautifully expressed. Continue in Him.
I am always thrilled to find a brother in Christ, who takes the time, and effort to study and express the work of God in their hearts. This is a revealing of the life of Christ in you. Note, in Genesis, it was the Holy Spirit in action, in creation, and thus the Spirit of the Lord is always moving us, toward and in Him.

Comment by Joseph Black

thanks brother for the comment! Blessings!

Comment by John Wilson

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