Jesus was telling the apostles and disciples that He would build His church on Himself—not on Peter, as traditionally thought and claimed by many. The key to this understanding is in the Greek words that Jesus used. Jesus said to Peter, “You are Peter” (Π∈τρος petros). The meaning of this word was given definition by Jesus Himself. In John 1:43, the interpretation of the name “Peter” which comes from the Aramaic (κηφας cephas) is “a stone.” This is what Jesus was emphasizing here. Peter was a stone. Next, Jesus said of Himself, “But upon this Rock I will build My church.” The Greek word translated “Rock” is π∈τρα petra, which means “massive cliff.” Christ Himself is that Rock, the Massive Cliff. Peter was a pebble or a
stone in comparison. The Greek clearly conveys the meaning. Jesus built His church upon Himself. He did not build it upon a man. Other scriptures verify this truth. Jesus Christ is called the “Rock,” π∈τρα petra (I Cor. 10:4; Eph. 2:20). Even Peter later wrote about Jesus as the Cornerstone, the foundational undergirding of the church that He said He would build (I Pet. 2:4-6). Jesus Christ is called the Head of the church; no man can be the Head (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18). Peter himself, shortly after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, said that the Stone which the builders had set at naught had become the Head of the corner (Acts 4:11). This scripture shows that Peter knew he was not the cornerstone or the head of the church of God. I Corinthians 3:11 clearly states that all who are Christians must be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, Who alone is the Head of His church. Through the direct words of Jesus Christ Himself, and through the words of His chosen apostles, we know that He has built His Church on Himself, not on Peter or any other man.
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