18”And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros–a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra–a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].” Matthew 16:18 Amplified Bible
This is a familiar verse that sometimes is misunderstood. Often people believe that Jesus was saying that He was building His church upon Peter, but when you read in the Amplified Bible we can clearly see that Jesus distinguishes that there are two rocks involved in building His church. There is the Petros which He identified as Peter, a large rock, and there is Petra which is a huge rock. Peter is not the large rock the church is built upon, but then what is that large rock?
Isaiah 28:16 identifies that Jesus Himself is that rock; He is the cornerstone upon which all the kingdom is based. But then Ephesians 2:20 gives us more insight as to the cornerstone that the church is built upon:
“…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,”
This verse indicates that the body of Christ, the Church that He is building, is built upon the prophets of old and also the apostles, but the chief cornerstone is Jesus Himself. He is the big rock upon which all else is established. Without Him, there is no victory and there is no kingdom. Around the cornerstone is the foundation and that is built by the prophets of old and all the words of faith that they spoke which ushered in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles, like Peter. Peter, by the speaking the words of faith that led to the statement of approbation by Jesus, was also a part of that foundation.
So what did Peter say that led to Jesus calling Him a large rock that the Kingdom of God could continue to build upon and advance? Well in verse 16 after Jesus had asked “who do men say that I am”, Peter identified Him as the Christ, Son of the living God. That was a revelation Jesus said came not from the world and the natural mind, but from the Father in heaven. Peter, by foregoing the wisdom of the world and even his own mind, listened to the Word that Jesus had taught and spoke a great faith statement in identifying Jesus as Messiah, the Son of God. This ability to forego the natural thoughts and wisdom of the world and believe the Word itself was a rock that Jesus could continue to build His kingdom upon and advance it. You and I can become similar Petros (large rocks) in the kingdom as we speak the Word of faith in our lives, dismissing the natural senses. Don’t believe the trial you may be facing is the final word. Believe the promises from the Word and speak them. As you do, you become a “Petros” that a Jesus can build upon in your life and the lives of others.
J Todd Hostetler