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On This Rock

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God … upon this rock I will build My church” (Matthew 16:16,18).

Over the centuries, many artists, sculptors, authors, and others have created magnificent portraits of Jesus Christ. Yet no one has ever drawn a more compelling or accurate picture of Jesus than the portrait the Apostle Peter drew with just ten simple words.

The words Peter uttered revealed that the disciples had been wrestling with the question Jesus had asked them: “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matthew 16:13). This was an all-important question, especially in light of the authority that Jesus would confer on the disciples and the knowledge He would reveal about His approaching death. If the disciples were going to minister in Jesus’ name and follow Him to the cross, they must be convinced of His identity.

Other people had various ideas about who Jesus was. But He wanted to know where the disciples stood on the issue. Peter rose to the occasion with his great confession. Jesus responded with a blessing for Peter and a promise that the church would be built on the rock of Peter’s confession.

Then came the tremendous promise of kingdom authority to the Twelve, symbolized by the keys Jesus would give them. The book of Acts tells how Peter himself used the keys to open the kingdom of heaven to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and to Gentiles in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10).

Clearly, the Apostles had authority we do not possess—an authority that ended when the last of the Twelve died. But in one important sense, we as Jesus’ disciples can open the kingdom of heaven to people when we tell them about the Son of God. When we know in whom we believe, we have a message to tell!

—From Today in the Word.