we can now see preparations and things going on that the disciples were unaware of, but through revelation, Simon speaks and declares Jesus’ Christ-hood. this is the part of the story that is usually preached to show that Simon, now renamed Peter (meaning a rock), has been blessed to receive insight to the identity of his Rabbi and Jesus continues to tell of how “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” we preach of the keys given to Peter to bind and to loose and how he used those keys on the day of Pentecost by delivering the salvation message to us. it is the Acts 2:38 message that added unto the church that day over 3,000 souls; the foundation upon which the Christian church would be built.
the standard way this is preached is not correct due to the wording or the way the passage was interpreted. the renaming of Simon Peter is placed into a much bigger story; almost like a Markan Sandwich, related but a story within a story. if we were to skip over verses 17 and 18a for a moment, the text would read, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered, upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” when viewed in this light, the actual meaning of the passage comes into perspective. the Greek words used for Peter (a stone) and Rock (a foundation) are entirely different. Gregg R. Allison remarks, “As articulated by Peter, the confession of the identity of the Messiah, God the Son incarnate, is part and parcel of both the gospel message itself and also the proper appropriation of the gospel: to all who, through the Holy Spirit, confess “Jesus is Lord” (1 Cor. 12:3), the Son gives eternal salvation for the glory of God.”2 the foundation on which the church is to be built is in the knowledge of who Jesus Christ is! we could draw a parallel from Daniel 2 as he saw a stone that was cut without hands (Jesus’ subtle beginnings) destroy the image of governments (overcoming through His death, burial, and resurrection) and become a great mountain, filling the whole earth (the church/Kingdom of God). with this explained, we can then move forward with the message of the keys of the kingdom of heaven and the passage discussed earlier in the address of Pentecost, Acts 2:14-36.
in conclusion, we can determine that scripture is filled with small, incidental happenings that the casual observer may glance over. Paul Tripp writes, “Study of the Bible ought to alter more than the way you think; it ought to alter the deepest desires of your heart, the fundamental ways you think about who you are and what you need. The Bible should produce in you a fear of idolatry and a growing worship of the One who alone has offered you forgiveness, transformation, rescue, deliverance, life eternal. It’s not enough to learn the content. It’s not enough to become theologically literate. It’s not enough to memorize large portions of Scripture–those are all wonderful things, but those have direction, those have purpose!” we live in a desperate hour, and i agree that we must study the scriptures with urgency and a desire to unlock hidden treasures. the Words of eternal life await us within those precious pages. scripture has direction, it has a purpose, and it is pointing straight to your heart and, just as importantly, someone else’s heart.
2 Gregg R. Allison “What Does ‘This Rock’ Refer to in Matthew 16:18?” The Gospel Coalition, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-does-this-rock-refer-to-matthew-1618/ , 2020
3 Paul Tripp “.003 The Danger of Missing the Point” Paul Tripp Ministries, Inc. blog, The Gospel One Chapter at a Time, A Weekly Bible Study with Paul Tripp, https://www.paultripp.com/bible-study/posts/the-danger-of-missing-the-point , 2019