12/10 Matthew 16:18

18 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.

Jesus had taken the disciples to a Roman city at the base of Mount Hermon. The Jordan River came from a cave at the foot of this mountain. The Romans had built a temple in front of the cave to worship their god Pan. In the niches carved in the face of the cliff were statues of Roman gods. It was an appropriate place for Jesus to ask the disciples if they understood who He is.

Peter answered that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus told Peter that he didn't come up with the thought on his own. The heavenly Father had revealed it to him. There are no punctuations in the language in which the Bible was written. Jesus went on to say that Peter, whose name is the masculine form for "rock" (Petros), was indeed a rock. The controversy in doctrine comes in whether there should be a comma or a period at this point. Is Peter the rock (petra - feminine) upon which the church would be built. Or was Jesus referring to the truth that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, as the truth upon which the church would be built?

The Gospels tell us several times that Jesus is the chief cornerstone over which men stumble (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17-18). The apostle Paul makes it even clearer when he tells us in Ephesians 2:20 that all the Apostles make up the foundation of the church, but Jesus is the cornerstone. The church is built upon one man, the God-man, Christ Jesus. Peter was indeed a rock in the foundation of the church, but it all takes shape based upon the cornerstone, Christ Jesus.

Consider: The church soon broke into factions following individual men. The only way it is ever in unity is when Jesus is the rock upon which all else is built. Take care that your focus does not shift to anyone or anything other than Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.