Summarily, “on this rock” refers to the rock of KNOWLEDGE ~ “GNOSIS”.
ON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH!
I think we need be clear on one thing. When Christ told Simon Peter, “on this rock I will build my church…” , He wasn’t referring to Peter as that rock.
The original greek word used to describe Peter as a rock(petros) is different in meaning from the one used when He said “on this rock(Petra) I will build my church! (MT. 16:17,18).
So when Jesus mentioned “on this rock….” He did so at the instance of the revelation of who Christ was, given through the mouth of Peter when He asked his disciples who they thought He was.
This therefore means that the church which Christ is building is founded on the revelation of the person of Jesus and all He came to do as the long awaited Messiah.
This is aptly described as the doctrine of Christ (2John 1:9). For this doctrine the early apostles were persecuted to their graves. Believe sir, holding this doctrine will make teachers of the law and big players in church religious circles get mad at you.
Oh! I have seen this doctrine suffer in the hands of bible teachers. It has suffered in the hands of preachers of morality who believe they are preaching holiness. It has suffered much more in the hands of prosperity gospellers.
Friends, the church was not founded on the Bible. O yes! You heard me right. Neither was she founded on the diverse principles or various principal actors written in the Bible. Rather, It was founded on the revelation of the Person and messianic role of Christ as revealed in the bible.
Look around you sir. Every “denomination” that has contributed to the division in the church today by their extrenous doctrines have all drawn their various inspirations from one part of the Bible or the other.
Those cursing their enemies quote eloquently from the Bible. Those who don’t wear shoes to worship centres also draw their doctrine from the Bible.
The popular material prosperity gospel has derived from the Bible. Those teaching the law of Moses for holiness and righteousness by work also allude to the Bible. Those who merchandise the gift of God for money have spinned their doctrines from the Bible.
Matter-of-factly, even atheists quote from the Bible. How about many other religions that draw inspiration from some parts of the Bible?
Invariably, this cacophony of religious voices stemmed from the fact that the real message of the bible is lost on many, including ministries ostensibly established for Christ. This is a strong sign that We have largely missed the forest for the trees!
Jesus’ message to the bible scholars of His days in Israel was quite instructive here:
“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me ! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.
John 5:39-40 MSG.
Believe me sir, without the revelation of who Christ is therein, the Bible in your hands is as dead as it comes. Frankly speaking, many bible teachers don’t quite belong in the church that Christ is building.
We have too many bible teachers who don’t teach Christ. Many don’t even know what the doctrine of Christ is, yet they are the teachers in most churches with crowds. In the same vein, many bible-believing denominations don’t belong in the church of Christ. Oh mine! It is quite tough for me to say some of these things but I have to say them.
Gone are the days when we used to advise people to go to Bible-believing churches. No more sir! Some of them have done more harm than good to God’s people.
Believers are meant to fellowship in Christ-centred, Christ-believing assemblies; Those rooted in Christ and not those who start with Christ but go off tangent into other things.
And it cannot be said that they believe in Christ when they are still observing the “shadows” as contained in the ordinances written in the books of Moses. They aren’t Christ-centred if they don’t believe and accept the immediate and remote consequences of His one-time sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection.
If the phrase “it is finished” does not resonate with them as significant, but they go about establishing their own righteousness (right-standing with God), then they are not the church that Christ is building.
I could remember growing up as a church boy, it was not difficult for me to know that the Bible is the most adorable book in the church. Among many other beautiful lines for the Bible, I could remember one we chanted often before sermons: “This is my Bible, I believe it is the word of God. I am what it says I am and I have what it says I have”.
But dear friend, Jesus is the message of the scriptures (John 5:39). If you aren’t able to interpret all you read in the Bible in the light of what Jesus came to do, then the purpose of owning or reading a Bible is defeated. This is because You will not really know what the Bible says you are. The Bible is not another physics textbook but It is the testimony of Christ! Jesus said:”….. these are they which testify of me…” John 5:39.
In summary, the church of Christ is built on the revelation of who Christ is. Let no man bamboozle you with “the Bible says…”. It is not everyone teaching from the Bible that is teaching the message of Christ.
If it can not be interpreted in the light of Christ, it doesn’t belong in the church!
It is a new day.
– NINYO OMIDIJI.