Thou art Peter, and upon this rock...

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blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Mat 16:13-18 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? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 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. 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.

I was just wondering what's the significance of the phrase "That thou art Peter". Why do you think Jesus didn't just say "...flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is heaven. Upon this rock I will build my church..."?
 

JML

Puritan Board Junior
John Gill:

thou art Peter: intimating, that he was rightly called Peter, or Cephas, by him, when he first became a follower of him, Mt 4:18, which words signify the same thing, a rock, or stone; because of his firmness and solidity, and because he was laid upon the sure foundation, and built on the rock Christ, and was a very fit stone to be laid in the spiritual building. The aptness of this name to him is easy to be seen in his full assurance of faith, as to the person of Christ, and his free, open, and undaunted confession of him.

By the rock on which Christ builds his church, is meant, not the person of Peter; for Christ does not say, upon thee Peter, but upon this rock, referring to something distinct from him: for though his name signifies a rock, or stone, and there may be some allusion to it; and he is so called because of his trust and confidence in the Lord, on whom he was built; but not because he was the foundation on which any others, and especially the whole church, were built: it is true, he may be called the foundation, as the rest of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are, Eph 2:20 without any distinction from them, and preference to them; they and he agreeing in laying doctrinally and ministerially Christ Jesus as the foundation of faith and hope, but not in such sense as he is; neither he, nor they, are the foundation on which the church is built, which is Christ, and him only.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
People are frequently named in Scripture in reference to some aspect of the work of Redemption. The name is not necessarily to draw attention to the person as it is to God.

As a very important example, I would point to Jacob-renamed-Israel. I think, that like Simon-renamed-Peter, the cause for debate surrounding the significance or meaning of the name gets wrapped up in the circumstances of the naming, instead of understanding the name as spiritual SIGN.

On the simplest, straightforward word-association, Israel means "God Strives/Wrestles/Fights" (verb form, "he strives," coupled with "EL", subject). It is hard to think of a more basic idea to the plan of Salvation. Who strives, sometimes against us and the sin within, to beat us, to take us, to win an entire people for himself? God does. Jacob "prevails" in his contest not by winning the fight, but by submitting to God. We are frequently to "stand still, and see the salvation of our God." The very name of Israel, then teaches the lesson, that salvation is of the Lord. Not of works and man's striving.

This doesn't take away from whatever associated significance the person himself has, in the history of redemption. But, I think we get wrapped up in what the name "means" for the person named, when that is not itself the main interest.
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
It does not say Peter is the pope.
It's a pity someone couldn't explain that to the RC church...
Upon that (very unrock-like) foundation they have built their whole empire. The text is written in absolutely enormous letters on the dome of St Peter's, as if saying it emphatically enough could make it so
 

P.F.

Puritan Board Freshman
I was just wondering what's the significance of the phrase "That thou art Peter". Why do you think Jesus didn't just say "...flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is heaven. Upon this rock I will build my church..."?
He was employing a slightly complex, but very beautiful, play on words.

Matthew 16:17-18 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. 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.

Observe that Simon Barjona is his name according to his flesh-and-blood relationship, but "Peter" is his name according to his relationship to God the Father, with the rock being the thing revealed by the Father.
 

Berean

Puritanboard Commissioner
Leave it to Rome to get it wrong. Intentionally? ;)

So much for Pope Peter I. They claim to have him buried under St. Peter's.
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
I was just wondering what's the significance of the phrase "That thou art Peter". Why do you think Jesus didn't just say "...flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is heaven. Upon this rock I will build my church..."?
He was employing a slightly complex, but very beautiful, play on words.

Matthew 16:17-18 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. 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.

Observe that Simon Barjona is his name according to his flesh-and-blood relationship, but "Peter" is his name according to his relationship to God the Father, with the rock being the thing revealed by the Father.
I believe it's important that in the phrase "you are Peter", "Petros" is grammatically masculine, but when it comes to "upon this rock" -"tauten ten petren", (or since the Roman church must have everything in Latin, "super hanc petram") the rock is grammatically feminine.
The feminine form denotes rock in a more foundational form, and in any case it's clearly not a straight correspondence between the two.

The whole towering superstructure of papacy, succession, infallibility, pope-as-ruler-of-the-world and all the rest which Rome has managed to build on that one not unambiguous snippet is quite staggering if you think about it
 

Vytautas

Puritan Board Freshman
Jesus confesses Peter's name because he confessed his name.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. - Matt 10:32
 
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