Photo courtesy of LoveSingapore
Who is this Rock?
Some Protestants bend over backwards trying to prove that it’s not Peter. Why? Because admitting that Peter is the Rock feels like a concession to Catholic claims about the Pope.
Such theological insecurity is unnecessary. It cannot be denied that Peter is, in some sense, a rock on which Jesus builds. And not Peter alone.
All Twelve Apostles are part of the Church’s one foundation. All are in perfect alignment with Jesus the Chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20; Revelation 21:14). And among the Twelve, Peter is primary.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19).
Jesus gave Peter the keys of the Kingdom. Keys represent authority. In Isaiah 22, Eliakim was summoned to high office in the kingdom of Judah: I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open (Isaiah 22:22).
Just as Eliakim became a steward of the house of David, Peter will become a steward of God’s Kingdom: I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. Just as Eliakim replaced Shebna, who had abused power, the apostles will replace the leaders of Judaism who also abused their office (Matthew 21:43; Luke 11:52).
Therefore, what happens in Matthew 16 is a transfer of authority – Kingdom authority. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19; 18:18).
This is not about binding devils and loosing angels. Senior rabbis had near absolute authority to make decrees on earth that were binding on all Judaism.
Likewise, the Apostles of Jesus and their successors have Kingdom authority to make decisions, resolve disputes, restore peace, and establish divine order in the Church. Their decisions, when made by revelation and not just reason, are ratified in heaven.
How does Peter use the keys? Exquisitely. He opens the Kingdom of heaven to Jews in Acts 2 and to Gentiles in Acts 10. In both cases, it was through prayer and proclamation.
In both cases, it was by revelation from heaven. This is what defines leadership in the Church Jesus builds.
- Are we trapped in materialism and ruled by the five senses? If so, Kingdom authority will remain a riddle to us. Instead of serving and leading by wisdom from above, we will constantly be driven by human ideas and trends, programmes and activities. Pause. Ponder. Pray.
- Revival always brings a fresh revelation of Jesus. Not another Jesus. But the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Pray: Our Father in heaven, come visit Singapore. Reveal Jesus afresh to this generation. The Word made flesh. The Good Shepherd. The Light of the world. The Alpha and the Omega. The Righteous Judge. The Coming King.
Enlighten our minds. Transcend our human thinking. Let our work be an act of worship flowing out of our constant communion with You in Word and in prayer (Acts 6:4).
Manifest this life-changing revelation of Jesus among the unsaved in our city – especially those who are disillusioned with false securities and empty belief systems. Come, Lord Jesus, build your Church!
- Peter’s body lies buried in Rome. But not his keys. The keys of the Kingdom have been given to the entire Church. But not to every Tom, Dick and Harry or Johnny-come-yesterday. The keys are given to God-ordained leaders who are under apostolic authority and who walk in Peter’s faith and virtues (Origen).
Pray: Dear Lord Jesus, let Kingdom authority flow from Your throne into the Singapore Church. Manifest Your power through Your appointed leaders who bear Your mantle, share Your suffering, unite Your Body, and serve Your mission. Anoint each one so that they may:
• lead by revelation and establish divine order in the Church
• resolve controversies, settle disputes, reconcile enemies
• expose pretenders, silence deceivers, correct heresies
• pioneer new Kingdom initiatives that rattle the gates of hell
• stand together against evil and promote truth, justice and righteousness
• turn Singapore Godward through Gospel proclamation and united prayer
• make new disciples among unreached peoples in Asia and beyond
Come Lord Jesus, build your Church!
- Binding and loosing is a metaphor for exercising Kingdom authority, especially in situations of conflict in the Church. In Matthew 18:15-20, Jesus extends this awesome authority, not only to apostles, but to ordinary disciples who are rightly related to the Body and submitted to its leadership.
Pray: Lord Jesus, let Your Kingdom authority flow through me to build and to bless: Where there is conflict, let me bring peace. Where there is confusion, let me bring clarity. Where there is division, let me bring unity. Come Lord Jesus, build your Church!
Read the devotional from Day 8, July 8: Peter’s confession here.
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