PIECE OF THE ROCK
"I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." (Matt. 16:18)
Son of Man - Son of God
Jesus had just been asking His disciples; "who do people say that the Son of Man is"? Notice with me how He phrases this question, "who do people say that the Son of Man is"? Why did He use the phrase "Son of Man" in this question? For that matter, why was Jesus always referring to Himself as the "Son of Man"? Apparently, it was very important to Him that we realize He came from man as well as from God.
Only a man could fulfill God's eternal purpose. It was man that God created to fulfill a special destiny in being the image of God. It was man that was to have dominion on the earth (Gen. 1:26). Therefore, the Christ had to come as a man in order to create a new race that would be the new Adam and would succeed where the first Adam failed. Jesus asked them, "who is the Son of Man," and Peter answered: "the Son of the living God!"
The Declaration of Peter
It's very important that we see how much depth is involved in the revelation that Peter received from the Father. We know that Peter's confession was a result of a revelation received from the Father in heaven. But let's take a closer look at the declaration itself. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Wrapped up inside this one short statement is the very foundation of the universe. The relationship of the Triune God is contained in this one little sentence.
You are the Christ: the word Christ means the Messiah, or Anointed One. But anointed by whom? Anointed by the Holy Spirit. From His baptism to His resurrection, the whole earthly mission of Jesus was in and by the Holy Spirit. He was sent out by the Holy Spirit; baptized in the Holy Spirit; and ministered through the Spirit.
the Son: He is the Son of the living God. Jesus has a relationship to God. He is His Son! If there is a Father, then there must be a Son. If there is a Son, then there must be a Father. Jesus, the Christ, is the only begotten Son of the Father.
of the living God: this refers to the Father. In this relationship called "God," there is a Father. All life flows from the Father. That's why He is called the "Father." The Son continually flows out from the Father. The Son is eternal and has always existed. Nevertheless, He eternally flows out of the Father. This is what the term "only begotten" means (John 1:18).
So, here in this one statement of Peter's, we can see the relationship of the Godhead; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now, let's take a look at the Lord's response to Peter's confession.
Peter Gets a New Name
First of all, Jesus tells Peter that this revelation came from the Father in the other realm and not from man. Then He gives him another name. His name was Simon Barjona, now his name will be "Piece of the Rock." That's the literal translation of the word Peter ('petros' in Greek). The Lord tells him that you are 'piece of the rock' (or stone) and upon this rock (petra) I will build My church. The word 'petra' here means a massive rock or mountain. Are you starting to get the picture here? There is this mountain, a massive rock formation, and then there are these stones, or pieces of the mountain. Remember, all stones come from the mountain.
"And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is precious and choice in the sight of God, you also, as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2: 4, 5).
Jesus said, "upon this rock (petra - massive rock) I will build My church. There have been several interpretations as to what this "rock" means. Some say that the rock is the revelation that Peter received. Some say that the rock is the confession Peter made. And some say that the rock is Christ Himself. I believe that all three of these are true, but I would like to add one.
The "rock" is also the relationship of the Godhead! Peter's confession was: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God (Father)." Peter saw that the Christ was not alone. The Christ was not living in a vacuum. The Christ is part of a community of Three. Those Three are One. It's Their oneness that makes up the massive rock or mountain that is the foundation of the church (see John 17).
What is the difference between rock and sand? Why is sand not a good foundation for a house? It's obviously because the sand shifts, but why does it shift? Because sand is many tiny rocks that are all separate from one another. There is no cohesiveness. There is no oneness. The massive mountain is one solid piece of rock. It holds together within itself, that's why it can support a structure. This is the oneness of the Triune God. This is the fellowship of the Godhead. This is the foundation of the church! The Christ, the Son of the living God.
But how do you fit into this?
Piece of the Rock
Jesus told Peter that he was a piece of the rock. But what rock? The massive mountain that He would build His church upon! All stones must come from the mountain.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us (marked us off) in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him" (Eph. 1:3, 4).
Dear believer, you were chosen (marked off) in Christ before creation! The Father took a portion of the Son and wrote your name upon it! This is before there was anything. There was only God Himself. And the Father chose YOU in Christ! He chipped off a piece of the Rock and called it by your name!
This is who you are. This is where you came from. You came from the Mountain. You came out from the Massive Rock. Just as Eve came out from Adam, so the church comes out of Christ. Eve was not created. She was built from material taken out of Adam. Just as the church is built from the material that is taken out of Christ. Pieces of the Rock!
Now, God is in the process of building His house upon solid rock. He wants to take the living stones and build them together upon the massive mountain of His relationship with His Son. This foundation is sure and true because of the oneness within God Himself. God wants a place that He can call home. He wants a home where He can rest and relax and just be Himself. You are a piece of the Rock, a living stone. Won't you allow Him to build you together with other stones so He can have His house?