Today’s question is: “What does it mean when Jesus says, ‘I will build my church on this rock’?”
This simply means:
“I will build My Church on the confession of Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
We read in, Matthew 16:18
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
Word Study on key words:
Πέτρος (Pétros) is an isolated rock a (piece of) rock (larger than λίθος lithos); and (pétra) is a cliff" (TDNT, 3, 100). "4074 (Pétros) always means a stone . . . such as a man may throw, . . . versus 4073 (pétra), a projecting rock, cliff" (S. Zodhiates, Dict).
The English word ‘Petroleum’ (L. petroleum, from Latin: 'petra' (rock) + Latin: oleum (oil) has its origin from Latin, then Latin from Greek.
We also read in, John 1:42
“Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John--but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”)”.
Κεφας, κεφα ὁ (Chaldean כֵּיפָא, a rock), Cephas (equivalent to Πέτρος , the surname of Simon the apostle: John 1:42
Whatever meaning we take for Peter, either a stone or a rock, the Word of the Lord does not mean, “I will build My Church on you (person of Peter)” rather it means, “I will build My Church on the confession of Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
The Church stands on the Pock of Ages, Christ Himself. He is the Foundation Stone of His Blood-bought Church. If the Church had been built upon the person of Peter, it would have been crumbled down when Peter denied Christ three times.
No one can be the foundation of Christ’s Church, whosoever he might be such as Peter, Paul, James, John, Calvin, Luther, Knox, Wesley even Popes in Rome.
Christ, the Son of the Living God serves either as a stone of repentance or stone of stumbling, offense and judgment depending on how it falls.
We read in, Matthew 21:44;
He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."
O Christ, Rock of Ages You are the same yesterday, today and forever. We trust and love You Lord Jesus!