Matthew 16 (Part 13)
Peter, The Church Builder
Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, 'You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas' (which is translated, A Stone).
John 1:42 (NKJV)
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church...
Matthew 16:18 (NKJV)
For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Luke 3:8 (NKJV)
You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:5 (NKJV)
Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Revelation 21:14 (NKJV)
In regards to Matthew 16:18, scholars debate this rock's identity. Is Peter the founder of the new church, or is that title for Jesus alone? Surely, Jesus is the 'Chief Cornerstone' (Ephesians 2:20).
Yet in ancient-day building projects, the cornerstone was a reference stone: the first rock and pivotal starting point. Christ laid down His Life in this position. Even so, more stones were necessary to complete the rest of the foundation. If these stones could be His first disciples, then Peter was appointed to lead them.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: How has the church developed since then? Were expansions too quick and sloppy? Was the true foundation forgotten? Did sly builders prefer concrete slabs? Have weaker stones slipped in between the cracks? Were pulpits made from unseasoned wood? Are we fooled by thick paint and sweet words?
As the crew chief of the early church, Peter was a rock among his kin. Like their Teacher, they laid down their lives to complete the church's first model: a perfect work of simplicity and unbreakable humility.
So in this age of fake everything, make sure your own church community is built on the foundation of Christ. Study His Word as your Cornerstone. Because without fitting His design, bad builders can fool the best of us.
To Be Continued...
* Although several distinguished commentaries on Matthew 16:18 are listed here, I prefer Matthew Poole's. Understandably, these 18th and 19th century protestant Bible scholars strongly disagreed with the Catholic church's elevation of popes, as infallible human heads of God's church descended directly from Peter. Their non-questioned, celebrity status was not in keeping with the example or directions of Jesus. That being said, neither are many modern-day celebrity pastors.
* Scroll down to see Matthew Poole's Commentary on Matthew 16:18: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/16-18.htm
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Matthew 16 series.