“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)
When Jesus and His disciples arrived in Caesarea Phillipi, He probed them about what people were saying about Him. “Who do people say that I am?” He asked them. They spouted back answers: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Then Jesus asked His ragtag group of followers who rarely understood, were notorious for generally missing the point and seemed to be consistently confused –“Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” This time he nailed it.
What Jesus says next frames the whole of His mission and what He gave His life for – “and on this rock I will build my church.” In His entire life Jesus promised to build one thing: His Church. That’s it. He said nothing, not even the gates of Hell, would be able to stop it. The local church is His Plan A and He doesn’t have a Plan B.
Sure church can be messy, challenging, and at times hurtful – it’s full of imperfect people. But Jesus hasn’t given up on His church and what He created it to accomplish. He loves and uses broken people who make mistakes but put their trust in Him. Bill Hybels, said it best when he stated, “the local church is the hope for the world.” When we join together as a community of believers practicing forgiveness, grace, peace, encouragement and love, we show people who He is and the hope of all He wants them to become.
Prayer: Jesus, I praise You and believe in the mission of Your Church here on earth. Help me to see others who need You and continue to reach people and build lives through the local church. Amen.