Friday, 22 March 2013

The Rock

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my Rock." Psalm 18:2
It would be so easy to attach a picture now, one of a man climbing up a sheer rock face, so very inspiring. Yet I'm not going there. This morning I read Matthew 16:15-18 from a different angle.

Jesus asked his disciples who people thought he was, they answered.  Then Jesus asked them who they thought he was, Simon Peter answered "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.".  Good answer!  And Jesus acknowledged that for Peter to understand this, it was divine.  Jesus then renamed Simon, Peter. Peter means rock.  "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."

I always thought Jesus was talking about Peter as 'this rock', but I actually wonder if Jesus was pointing to himself when he said "on this (points to himself) rock I will build My church"  Can a church be built on a man?  Peter was a great servant of God, but he was not the rock upon which the church was built.

Peter was a significant man of God, and I am in no way diminishing how the Lord used him in the early church and through his writings since then.  I just wonder if I have misread this passage of scripture in the past.

Peter was a rock for his generation and they were the generation that started the church. Yet, Jesus is the cornerstone, he was prophesied  in the Old Testament and Peter himself reiterated this (1 Peter 2:6), quoting Isaiah 28:16:
"See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed."
I don't think you can pose the question; if Peter hadn't followed...? He had divine power to rise up and be the man God lead him to be.  He was filled with the Spirit and lead by the Spirit and subject to the work of the Spirit. But - hypothetically speaking, if he wasn't the man for the job in serving the early church, then another would have been - how can I be confident of this, because it is Jesus, that is the power, when Jesus ascended  he told the disciples to wait for HIS Spirit, the Holy Spirit. When that power came, all were changed from frightened, doors locks to peaching to the masses - in a moment.  That's power, that building the church, that wasn't the beginning and it certainly isn't the end.

I want to be part of the church that grows, sure in the foundations (faith). I want to constantly be building my faith, and His church.

2 Chronicles 7:14-16  If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.

If we thought for a moment that our Rock is hard and cold, we have only to look at the last verse above, "My eyes and my heart will be there for all time".  This was spoken of the temple King Solomon built under instruction of the Lord. Since Jesus tore the temple curtain in two upon his death, making the holy of holies approachable to us, Jesus has become our high priest, residing in us upon our belief in Him. So ... If God was talking of the Temple, and we are now called the Temple, as the Spirit of God resides in us, then our Rock, our Fortress, our Deliverer says His eyes and heart will be there (on us) for all time.

He is dependable, as a rock.
He is tested, as a stone.
He is sure, as a foundation.
He is precious, as a cornerstone.
He is heroic, as a deliverer.
He is secure, as a fortress.
He is with you, for all time, eyes and heart on you.

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