Well I Declare!
Verse 18 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.
Today we start a new series! We are going to be taking a deeper look at the Church. Notice the capitalized “C”. It is so easy to shrink our thinking of church to just a building or a congregation but God sees it as much bigger than that. We capitalize it when we are referring to the Church universal, that is, the members of God’s chosen people worldwide. This will be important to keep in mind as we go forward.
Before we can look at the various topics we are going to look into, we need to look at what God sees as His Church. Jesus said that upon Peter’s confession of Jesus being the Christ, He would build His Church. Obviously He didn’t mean literally, so what was Jesus trying to tell Peter? Membership in God’s Church isn’t about signing papers and paying tithes, it is about being His people. It is about declaring with Peter that He the Messiah and the Son of the living God. These declarations have very specific meanings that we can’t miss as they are important to our understanding of the Church.
Peter’s first declaration was that Jesus was the Messiah. The Messiah was the long awaited Savior of the nation of Israel. He was looked for as one that would take over and restore the kingdom. What the people didn’t understand was that it wasn’t about the physical nation of God that was being released from bondage but rather was the spiritual nation that God had been setting up for centuries. Matthew came to understand this and that is why he begins his gospel account with a list of Jesus’ ancestry that includes people that aren’t from the natural line of Israel but that are grafted into the kingdom. This grafting was a foretelling of how God was going to be including people outside the bloodline into His family kingdom, including us.
The second declaration is that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. This declaration is such an important key in our personal declarations. If we don’t see Jesus as the Son of God then we don’t see Him for all He is. If He wasn’t the Son of God then He could never have died for our sins because He would have just been another fully human man. But He is so much more. He is the very Son of God. It is His being the Son of God that allows us to be part of the family of God. His blood shed for our sins would only be enough if He was sinless and He could only be sinless of He was part of God.
So this is where we must start, on this foundational rock. If we are to be part of the Church of God we must be able to declare with Peter these two truths – Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus is the Son of the Living God!
Making It Personal
Have you ever made the first declaration? How about the second? What do making these declarations change in your life?
Making It Personal Kids
Do you think that Jesus is the One God sent to save His people? Do you know that He is the Son of God? What does believing those two things mean about who Jesus is?
Father, please teach us the truth of who Jesus is and who You have called us, as Your Church, to be. Make us Your Church. In Jesus’ name, amen.