The Rock … and Selfism
Now comes the expectation of the Rock upon those who have accepted him as true, real and firm.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The market for counterfeit products is so strong worldwide that an entire industry has grown up around it. The most dangerous counterfeits are found in the pharmaceutical industry. Sadly, the fake-drug industry takes advantage of global need and misrepresents the origin, authenticity, and effectiveness of the drug. All counterfeit drugs are “inherently unsafe.” Medication that was defective from the start is sold after false labeling. Active ingredient(s) are adulterated or diluted, substituted or misrepresented. These treatments are dangerous, even deadly.
In this final article on the powerful exchange between the Lord Jesus and disciple Peter, I encourage you to overcome selfism—selfishness that wants to keep hope and health. Join me in transcending an egotism that inhibits the sharing of the Savior's identity to those depending on imitation medicine. God has prescribed only One as the remedy for sin, death and hell. We have to expose counterfeit salvations, yes, but go to expressing the One, Only, and Original Savior as deep and wide as possible.
The Rock stands against relativism as real. We can’t ignore him. Pluralism is a fake drug, for the Rock is truth. One can’t deny him. Last time, you read that the Rock stands hard against inclusivism. Everyone must affirm him to be saved.
Now comes the Rock's expectation upon those who have accepted him as true, real and firm. You! He is the divinely safe prescription for the problems of the human race. We must share it.
The Rock is Safe
After Jesus declared the divine source of Peter’s powerful confession about his identity, the Rock is introduced. This revelation of Jesus as true, real, and firm, must be offered by those who accept him to those who don’t yet know of him.
Peter had said, “You are the Christ.” Now Jesus returns a similarly constructed phrase: “…you are Peter.” Earlier (John 1:42, Simon was surnamed Cephas — rock in Aramaic, the language which Jesus spoke the most; Petros (Peter) is rock in Greek, the language in which the conversation was written. In Jewish culture, a name is not arbitrary. It is filled with character. For the first time someone had confessed Jesus as the Christ publicly and correctly!
If Peter is the Rock upon which Jesus builds His Church, he is directly called Satan five verses later! Soon Peter will also deny Jesus. The word Peter is in masculine form, and Jesus uses the feminine form of the word for Rock. So it can’t refer to Jesus either.
Jesus makes a “pun”, but not a simple pun. “Upon this rock” refers to what has preceded, the revelation from heaven, the confession of truth which becomes the Rock on which He will build His church.
Here’s Jesus' personal, new and future program. He will build his Church, not anyone else’s Church. The truth confessed about Jesus is the Rock on which He builds His Church. And the gates of Hades will not overpower his program. Two thousand years later, His claim of authority and power continues his deep, long and wide strategic program called the Church.
We must share it! Commission
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter actually began sharing God’s recognition of Jesus as the Messiah as the means to forgiveness of sins. Beyond personal conviction and confession, he obeyed his final commission, which ends the book where this conversation is found.
We, too, now have a role in promoting the confession of this unique, exclusive, necessary and sufficient Christ, as Savior. This selfless sharing of the firm truth and reality about Jesus could mean sacrifice. It may require going beyond familiarities of race, color, language, politics, and nation. There is no other means of protecting people from trusting in fatal counterfeit "salvations." We must point them to genuine original salvation from the God of Heaven.
The Rock theme in the Bible carries a wide range of ideas in the Bible: the strong and stumbling foundation on and around which buildings are built and as rock of refuge for safety. If the immovable rock provides the only safety and strength for anyone to build on him, it becomes a moral issue if we keep the news to ourselves. Biblically speaking, selfism is the worst of all convictions about Jesus.
We must share him. The rock of all ages is also the rock of all peoples. Jesus is the Rock. Let's get the word out!
Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, you have made genuine salvation available to the human race. Please help me overcome selfishness to make you, the rock of safety available to as many as possible. Use me to turn the availability of salvation to accessibility by people Amen.
Since Jesus is the rock of safety for all who put their trust in him and a rock of stumbling to others, how should we live?