What is the Greek meaning of “this” in Matthew 16:18?
At Matthew 16:17-18 (NASB) we read a conversation between Peter and Jesus.
17 "And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon [a]Barjona, because
flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in
18 "I also say to you that you are [b]Peter, and upon this [c]rock I
will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it."
Some say that Jesus was going to build His church on Peter, is this so? Before doing so we have to ask ourselves, how Peter , Paul and the other apostles understood it?. And what do the scriptures say?
HOW DID THE APOSTLES UNDERSTOOD IT.
In the Gospels we read on several occasions that the Apostles were arguing, who was going to be the greatest among them, we read.
Mark 9:33-35 (NASB)
33 "They came to Capernaum; and when He [a]was in the house, He began
to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?”
34 "But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one
another which of them was the greatest."
35 "Sitting down, He called the twelve and *said to them, “If anyone
wants to be first, [b]he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
The other occasions the Apostles argued is when the mother of the son's of Zebedee asked Jesus to give preference to her sons over the others Apostles Matthew 20:20-27 . Also read Luke 22:24-26
Is is obvious that if Jesus said that Peter was to be the "Greatest" among them , there would not have been any arguments between them.
HOW DID PETER UNDERSTOOD IT.
Peter as a Jew knew the prophesy about Jesus in Isaiah 28:16 (NASB) which says:
16" Therefore thus says the Lord [a]God,“Behold, I am laying in Zion a
stone, a tested stone,A costly cornerstone for the foundation,
[b]firmly placed.He who believes in it will not be [c]disturbed."
IN VIEW OF THIS PETER QUOTED IN HIS WRITINGS THAT JESUS WAS THE CORNERSTONE.
1 Peter 2:4-8 (NASB)
4 "And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by
men, but is [a]choice and precious in the sight of God,"
5" You also, as living stones, [b]are being built up as a spiritual
house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. "
6 "For this is contained in [c]Scripture:“Behold, I lay in Zion a
choice stone, a precious corner stone,And he who believes in [d]Him
will not be [e]disappointed.”
7 "This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those
who disbelieve,“The stone which the builders rejected,This became the
very corner stone,”
8 and,“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;for they stumble
because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were
HAS THE APOSTLE PAUL PROCLAIMED THAT JESUS WAS THE ROCK?.
No where in his writings did he mention that Peter was the Head of the Church,instead he wrote something very interesting.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 (NASB)
1 "For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers
were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; "
2 "And all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 "And all ate the same spiritual food;"
4 "And all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from
a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.wrote."
Paul in Galatians 2:9 wrote about the" pillars" of the church,and it is interesting to note, that he did not make any distinction between, James, Cephas (Peter) and John.
Galatians 2:9 (NASB)
9 "And recognizing the grace that had been given to me, [a]James and
Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and
Barnabas the right [b]hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the
Gentiles and they to the circumcised."
None of the apostles mentioned Peter as head of the church, instead Peter himself as well as Paul pointed to Jesus as the ROCK on which the church was to be build. The prophesies in the OT also point to Jesus as the ROCK .(Read Isiaih 8:13-14)
In view of the above how are we to understand the conversation between Peter and Jesus?
15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Without hesitation Peter answered.
16 "Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah. You are the Son of the
Jesus commented Peter.
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! No mere human showed this to you. My Father in heaven showed it to you."
Jesus replied "You are Peter" AND POINTING TO HIMSELF REPLIED. "On this ROCK I will build my church. Is important to note here that Jesus said "my church" not Peter's or Paul's.
18 "Here is what I tell you. You are Peter. On this rock I will build
my church. The gates of hell will not be strong enough to destroy it."