In part 1 of Upon this Rock, we looked at the story of Jesus and His disciples at Caesarea, Philippi, in Luke 9. Peter has been asked by Jesus, “Who do you say I am?” And Peter has just had a light bulb moment and said “You are Messiah-God!” This is the first time any of the disciples had became aware of who Jesus really was. Jesus responded to Peter by saying: “And you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.”When Jesus said this to Peter it was said in the everyday language Aramaic. So Luke, recounting the story, translates into Greek and uses a interesting word play in the Greek to expresses what Jesus said to Peter. You’re Peter, petros, and on this rock, petra, I will build my church.” What’s interesting is that nowhere in Greek literature of this period is the name Petros used. So using the word petros was a lone word. We have a lot of lone words in English. We say, for example, enchilada; it doesn’t mean we’re from Mexico. We say cliché, a French word. Luke uses the play on words to cleverly convey Jesus’ meaning. Petros is an unattached stone.
While Petra is a solid rock, so Jesus is saying, “You’re a little rock and on the solid rock I’m going to build my church.” Jesus is the Messiah-God. It’s on the witness of people like Peter (the little rock) who declare that Jesus is the solid rock, Messiah-God, that the church will be built. I would suggest to you that also the rock is a reference to the teachings or instruction of Jesus.
In Matthew chapter seven, Jesus tells a parable and he says, ‘Those who hear my words and obey them are wise and they’re wise builders.’ This is the same language: building, builders. ‘They build upon the rock and though the storms come, even though Hades itself attacks, it’s a solid foundation. Jesus in the parable of the vineyard identifies himself as that stone that the builders are going to reject, but God is going to make it the cornerstone. Jesus alludes to Psalm 118, which says “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone [the stone of the head, literally.]” He goes on to say, “If that stone falls upon the wicked, woe to the wicked. If the wicked are crushed by that stone, woe to the wicked.” Paul even uses that language in I Corinthians 10, “Our forefathers [by the way, he’s saying ‘our’ in the context of the Gentiles at Corinth] were baptised into Moses in the sea,” and he goes on to say, “they ate the spiritual food in the wilderness and drank the living waters from the rock, and that rock was messiah,” says Paul. So Jesus is the rock and we are the little rocks that God brings together to be a testimony to the world.
Jesus is talking about building something. We’re going to look at what Jesus is building and what our role as little rocks is in the June Messenger.
So how can you apply what you have learnt about Petros and Petra in your life this week?
(This article was adapted from http://jcstudies.com/articleDetail.cfm?articleId=79)