Jesus said, ”And I tell you that you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18) So, was Jesus referring to Peter or to something much greater? Perhaps the right question is not what is the rock but “who is the rock?” He is Peter, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. For over two years Jesus has been teaching these men the heart and mind of God the Father. Now it was time for their final exam. It consisted of only one question, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter, the spokesperson of the 12 said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Jesus replied, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.”
Peter’s name meant rock which Jesus actually used as a play-on-words. The rock was not Peter alone but Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, and the Savior. This is the rock on which Christ is still building his church today. The Christian church began with Peter and was carried on to the then known world primarily by the apostle Paul on his missionary journeys. So we can say that Peter and the other disciples were the first members of the church.
All who like Peter confess Jesus as God’s Son and Savior and put their trust in that affirmation are the living rocks of which the church is being built. The church is not a building or denomination or an organization but a gathering of believers who like Peter can confess by faith that Jesus is the Son of God and Lord and Savior. There is a wonderful hymn that proclaims the message, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” Jesus Christ is the sure foundation of the church and he is the cornerstone of that foundation and the forces of evil will never prevail against it! (Matthew 16:18)