Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Rock

When Peter confessed Jesus to be Christ, the Son of the living God, our Lord made a confession to and about Peter (Mt. 16:16-18). Jesus declared Peter blessed in that he had received the truth from God himself. He also gave Peter his name, which in Greek means rock (John tells us in his Gospel that Jesus gave him his name upon meeting him, but this is a confirmation and an explanation of what made him a rock). Jesus also said that, “upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Now whatever else this may mean, it has nothing to do with which bishop is head of the true church. The New Testament knows of no individual but Christ as the foundation of the church (1 Cor. 3:11). The Bible does name the prophets and the apostles as the church’s foundation with Christ as the chief cornerstone in several places (see Ephesians 2:19-22; Revelation 21:14). And it is true that the church must be apostolic, which means she must be founded on the teachings of the apostles. But she can only be built on the apostles as she is built on their witness, which is the holy Bible. Like Peter, the church must receive and submit to the Father’s revelation (see verse 17). Like Peter, the church must trust Jesus as the Christ, God’s anointed servant to bring salvation from sin and death; the church must trust Jesus as God’s Son, the very bosom of the Father. To be built on the rock of Christ, the church’s faith must be the same as Peter’s faith.

Amen Brother

Here is a post that needs to be read and thought over: Growing Hatred for True Christianity at Two-Edged Sword.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Behind the Question

In Matthew 16:13-20, we have one of the foundational texts regarding the church under the new covenant. In this post I want to point out how this passage begins. Jesus continues instructing his disciples after he has warned them of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees (16:5-12), by questioning about his reputation among the people: “Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” Why? Obviously the answers the disciples gave do not reflect their own ideas. They certainly knew he was not John the baptist and it is unlikely that they ever identified him with the other prophets that they name. Peter spoke for all of them when he answered Jesus, “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.”
So what value did Jesus’ question have? Questions are a very old way to teach. We usually associate the method with Socrates, the great Greek philosopher. But even the Greeks knew that the socratic method was older than Socrates. In fact, God himself may have been the first to use it when he inquired of Adam, “Where art thou?” Jesus asked his question of the disciples, as he did of Adam, with more in mind than finding an answer. He was teaching them who he is.
The disciples could see immediately that the popular theories regarding Jesus’ identity were woefully insufficient. Jesus is more than a mere prophet of God; all their experiences with him told them that. God the Father made himself evident in the mighty works and authoritative teachings of Jesus. Compared to the fancies of the world, the Father’s testimony was brought home and made firm. Before Jesus asked, the disciples thought that Jesus was the Christ, afterwards they knew. Flesh and blood did not reveal it unto them, but their Father in heaven.