Peter's Confession about Jesus; Matthew 16:13-19
WHEN Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi He asked His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I Am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
"I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Palestine is a land of mountains and precipitous crags rocks are a common sight. When the image of rock (Hebrew sur) is used, it suggests a stronghold from which one can resist attack by the enemies. The Old Testament uses the title to describe God and His attributes. Yahweh is the rock of Israel (Is 30:29), the righteous and faithful rock (Dt 32:4).
In the New Testament, Paul applies the title to Christ (1 Cor 10:4). Paul refers to a rock from which water issued, quenching the thirst of the Israelites in the desert (Ex 17:6-7). Rabbinic legend amplified this into a spring that followed the Israelites, and applied it to the Torah. …