by Paul Sumner
Roman Catholics teach that Jesus made the apostle Peter the first pope and head of the Catholic Church.
Protestants ridicule this idea, saying that the "rock" Jesus referred to was not the man Peter but his confession of faith, uttered in response to Jesus' question:
Ironically, the Protestants who vigorously defend Peter's confession largely ignore it. It isn't flown high as a banner of faith over their institutions ostensibly built in Jesus's name.
When examined closely, the various orthodox Christian creeds do not make Peter's confession central to their definition of the "Christian" faith.
In contrast, when Peter answered Yeshua's question, Yeshua said to him: "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Yona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Matt 16:17).
In other words, Peter had the endorsement of the Son of God himself and of God, the Father of Yeshua.
What actually did the Galilean fisherman say that won Yeshua's blessing?
This simple but enormous "rock" casts a long, bright shadow across the face of the earth and time. It is the foundation of belief upon which Yeshua said, "I will build my kehilah" [Hebrew: congregation; Greek: ekklesia].
Throughout the NT, Yeshua's followers and even his enemies (both earthly and supernatural) refer to this banner doctrine:
[Martha] said to him, "Yes, Lord, I have believed that you are the Messiah [Anointed One], the Son of God." (John 11:27)
To nix any false notion that these confessions and affirmations merely came from uninformed Jews (and unclean spirits) who weren't given the fullest revelation about Yeshua, notice these statements from his "senior" evangelists, Paul and John.
The Son of God, Messiah Yeshua...was preached among you by us — by me, Silvanus and Timothy. (2 Corinthians 1:19)
Regarding this last passage, I assume that God could have inspired John to write something else as a doctrinal statement. Instead, what the Almighty moved him to say was exactly what He had revealed to Simon Peter early on. [Consider: John 20:28—"My Lord and my God"]
"You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God."
This Rock regarding Yeshua's identity upholds and stabilizes his Kehilah. And like igneous rock, it did not metamorphize into impenetrable abstractions. It is the unalterable foundation of Biblical Messianic Faith.
Or is it?
The Kehilah of Yeshua needs to be built — even re-built — everywhere in compliance with the distinctive shape of the foundation rock so that the Congregation itself more perfectly images the Rock himself, whom God revealed to us as Son (Ben), Lord (Adon), and Messiah (Mashiach).
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