Upon doing some reading in Matthew last night, I got to chapter 25, in which Jesus tells the parable of the ten virgins who were waiting from the bridegroom. Five of the virgins were unprepared, as they had not brought any oil for their lamps, and while they left to go get some, the five prepared virgins were invited into the marriage. When the five unprepared virgins returned, they said, “Lord, Lord, open to us”, but the response was “I know you not”. (Matt 25:1-12) These passages, of course, also brought to mind Matthew 7:21-23, which says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”. Jesus also explained it in Luke 13:25-28. Many people will say they know Christ, and even claim to do great works in His name, but He will tell them that He never knew them and that they must depart from Him.
Now, last night, upon reading the parable of the virgins in Matthew 25, the passage in Matthew 16 came into my head, and I have no explanation why, other than I believe that God wanted me to see something. The specific part of that chapter that came to mind was the portion in verses 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.”
Right then, it was like a light went off in my head. Peter knew who Jesus was; He knew that He was Christ, the Son of God. Jesus then told Peter that he knew it, not after the flesh, because God had revealed it to him. Then Jesus acknowledges Peter by name, showing that He knows who Peter is. Peter knew Jesus, and Jesus knew Peter, then Jesus said that upon this rock will He build His church. Upon which rock? Peter? I beg to differ.
I believe Jesus was establishing the rock, foundation, on which His church (or body of called out believers) would be built: the believer knowing Christ, as revealed by the Father, and Christ knowing the believer. In Matthew 7:21, Jesus says that regardless of who claims to know Him, or says, “Lord, Lord”, only those who do the will of the Father will enter into the Kingdom. Doing the will of the Father is what keeps Christ from telling you He doesn’t know you. Doing the will of the Father is how Christ knows us! This is how Christ’s church is built! I don’t believe the focus was to be on Peter himself, but on the fact that Peter knew and acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, Son of God, and Christ also knew and acknowledged Peter. This relationship of us knowing Christ and Christ knowing us is the rock upon which Christ’s church is built. We must do the will of the Father to enter into His Kingdom.