Jesus led His disciples 25 miles north to teach them a truth that would be essential to His purpose for their lives. He took them to Caesarea Philippi so that the setting would be perfect for the important question He needed to ask them. The setting? A place of pagan worship. Temples built into the side of Mt. Hermon honoring Caesar Augustus and the Greek God, Pan. The place was the site of a cave believed to have no bottom which the people of that day believed was the door to the underworld.
Who do you say I am? A question of immense importance. Everything Jesus was going to do in the lives of His disciples – their purpose and power all hinged on their answer to this question. For, the correct answer to this question provided the foundation for the building of the church of Jesus Christ and provided the power to destroy the gates of hell and to establish the authority of heaven on earth. Every move of God begins with a revelation of God from God.
Jesus needed to know that the message of His Father was “hitting home” with His disciples because if it was – look out! Nothing was impossible for them! Many in the Christian world have misunderstood Jesus’ question. They have supposed that Jesus considered Simon the cornerstone of the future church. That a papacy must be established through which the power and authority of Peter would perpetuate and build the church of Jesus Christ. Is that true? It appears that Jesus told Simon that he was the rock upon which Jesus would build His church. But, a closer look reveals the answer. Jesus called Simon “Peter:” Pétros (a masculine noun) – properly, a stone (pebble), such as a small rock found along a pathway. /Pétros ("small stone") then stands in contrast to /pétra ("cliff, boulder," Abbott-Smith).
So, Jesus said to Simon: You are a small stone. Seems too small to build Christ’s church upon. Upon this rock I will build my church (rock: Petra – a large stone like the rock of Gibraltar). Jesus was not telling Peter that he would build His church upon his person or position. He was telling Peter that Peter was blessed because he had received a revelation of who Jesus is. And because of that, Peter was a person of revelation. And, it was upon the revelation of who Jesus is that the church of Jesus Christ would be built. And, those who receive that revelation are part of the kingdom of God and house the power and authority of God. Peter understood what Jesus was saying (1 Peter 2). Peter knew that no one would be the foundation of the kingdom of God but Jesus. He also knew that those like him who put their trust in who the Father revealed Jesus to be would be a part of the revelation of the authority and power of God!
Now, think of this: Jesus took His disciples to the center of human and demonic worship – Caesarea Philippi. A temple built to worship man and a temple built to worship demons. In this place was what was believed to be the door to the underworld – the gates of hell. Jesus pointed to Peter and said do you see these temples? Do you see the gates of hell? I’m telling you that My authority, lordship, and power is greater than what is worshiped in these temples. I will build My church upon the revelation of the kingdom within someone who appears as insignificant as you and the gates of hell represented in this place will not prevail against it!
If you go to Israel with us, we will take you there. These temples are no longer in operation and are in ruins. The cave represented in this place is a shadow of what it once was and has been abandoned as a place of worship. The building of the worship of Jesus – of which we are a part, remains in operation while these temples lay in ruins and the gate of hell is abandoned! What are you facing today? Revelation is a key to your victory. If Jesus is released within you to be Who He is, you will outlast your enemies and will see the extravagant manifestation of the glory of God!
1 Peter 2:4-6 & 9
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