Rock and Pebbles

D L Henderson
4 min readJan 11, 2023

Regarding Matthew 16:13–20, there has been confusion, starting centuries ago, about who the church would be built upon: Faith in Jesus or faith in His student, Peter.

Here is an analysis from the website below: https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/why-did-jesus-say-peter-was-the-rock-on-which-the-church-would-be-built/#ixzz7q1LVcoo2 -

“So, what did Jesus mean when He referred to building His church upon this rock? First, Jesus stated that Peter did not come up with his answer on his own, but that it was revealed to him by God the Father in heaven. Second, when Jesus said, “…thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…”, He was making two linguistic points. The first point was a comparison of the name Peter to the word rock. The New Testament was written in Greek. The name Peter in Greek is petros, meaning a pebble or small stone. The word for rock in the Greek is petra, meaning a massive rock or bedrock. Jesus was making the linguistic point that this simple truth that God had revealed to Peter, the pebble, about Jesus being the Christ, the rock.”

I have come to understand it this way, it was like Jesus was telling Peter, “Peter, you’re a chip off the old block.” Jesus being the Old Block. After all, Jesus did say, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.” Matthew 10:24.

Admittedly, I can see where the befuddlement arose. Also, I can see the stumbling block impeding our reassurance to quell our minds’ disorientation. So, I would add these two passages, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8, which is parallel to the above author’s first point, and also, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1. So this passage from Mattew 16 is about Peter growing in faith, where Peter is at the point of receiving God’s gift of Faith. Up to this point Peter has been more of a doubter than a believer. When you read the whole book of Matthew, it is easy to see this truth in the context of Peter’s development.

From Pauls letter, Ephesians 2:19–22, which corresponds to the above author’s second point, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the believers and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

Peter himself, or any other disciple, makes no claim to being the foundational cornerstone of the church. In fact, in Peter’s letters, he refers to Jesus as the only cornerstone.

As I have written before in reading the Bible, as well as any other book, there is a complete and purposeful context in which one is supposed to understand the true message, the plot, climax, and the denouement of the story, whether Bible, novel, fiction, or nonfiction.

When we admire a work of art, are we just looking at one square inch in the top left corner? It’s the same with God’s artwork of the Bible. By the way, His genre is Realism, and we should study it as such. (To expand your mind on the genres of art, see, https://www.pictoclub.com/types-of-painting-art-styles-mediums-subjects/

I know it is nearly impossible to shake off the status quo in the sense of the structural indoctrination which we have had in our minds it seems forever…

What’s that old Reaganism? “Trust, but verify.”

We are quick to put people on a pedestal and often are quickly disappointed.

We cannot allow cynicism- no matter whether justifiable or not- we cannot allow cynicism’s melancholy pessimism to blind our eyes to truths that can change our lives for the better.

Jesus is my Rock and my salvation. He is reaching out to become yours, too.

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between