Peter, the Rock

Have you ever heard of Peter referred to as a rock and wondered why?

When you look up the meaning of the name Peter it says stone or rock.  Remember when Jesus gave him the name and we discussed the name Cephas {which is what Jesus named Peter} means stone or rock.

Jesus is just re-iterating Peter’s name in Matthew 16:13-19.

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Jesus asks them to state the popular opinion concerning himself as contrasted with the opinion of the rulers, Pharisees, etc.  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

Jesus asked Peter and the disciples who they thought he was

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Jesus here first asks the disciples this question, having given them abundant time and opportunity in which to form a correct judgment. The proper answer of the heart to this question forms the starting-point of the true Christian life.  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Peter became a leader among the disciples

In declaring Jesus to be the Son of God, Peter rose above the popular theories as to the personality of Messiah, for the Jews generally did not expect him to be divine. The term “living God” was used by prophets to express the contrast between dead idols and the supreme Being who is possessed of vitality, reason, and feeling.  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

God had revealed the truth to him in the words and works of Jesus, and this revealed truth was to him a source of happiness both temporal and eternal. {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Jesus gives the full name to make his saying more personally emphatic.  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

Jesus changed Peter’s life

This holy and blessed confession no one can make from the heart unless he is moved by the Spirit.
{Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament.}

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The tense here is future. Christ had followers, but they were not yet organized, and hence had no such structural form as to suggest a similitude to a building
{The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

Jesus said, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church

Christ added that he had named him Peter, in allusion to his stability or firmness in professing the truth. The word translated “rock,” is not the same word as Peter, but is of a similar meaning.
{Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.}

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

That is, of the church. The office of the keys is to open the doors, or close them. On Pentecost, Peter first opened the doors and declared the conditions of which men could have their sins forgiven, be bound or loosed, and thus enter into the church. Seven years later at Cæsarea, he declared the same conditions to the Gentiles. While Peter took the lead the keys were given to all the apostles, and to no other mortal.   {Johnson’s Notes on the New

Peter at Pentecost


They had no certain knowledge of the characters of men, and were liable to mistakes and sins in their own conduct; but they were kept from error in stating the way of acceptance and salvation, the rule of obedience, the believer’s character and experience, and the final doom of unbelievers and hypocrites. In such matters their decision was right, and it was confirmed in heaven. But all pretensions of any man, either to absolve or retain men’s sins, are blasphemous and absurd. None can forgive sins but God only. And this binding and loosing, in the common language of the Jews, signified to forbid and to allow, or to teach what is lawful or unlawful.    {Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.}


Peter is considered the founder of the Roman Catholic Church and the first pope.  From the Catholic Church, other denominations such as Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist evolved.  {When searching for a church, it is not the denomination that matters, but what they teach.  Search for a church that believes, practices and teaches that Jesus is the son of God and the only way to salvation is through him and his sacrifice on the cross and that Jesus died and rose from the grave 3 days later.}

Just as Peter had to be touched by the spirit to recognize Jesus as the son of God, so do we today.  That has not changed in the last 2000 years.   The only way to the father is through the son.  “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”  {John 14:6}

Do you believe that Jesus is the son of God?


Jesus told Peter he would become the rock on which his church would be built Share on X

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