Jesus Appoints a Pope: Part I


When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi He asked His disciples, ”Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then He strictly ordered His disciples to tell no one that He was the Messiah.   Matt. 16:13-20  

  The conception of the Church. Jesus building and constructing the foundation of the apostles by His teaching. They, in turn, pass that teaching on to us through their teaching, preaching and writings.

 With Peter’s response to Jesus’ question, the foundation starts to take shape, as Jesus is the “capstone (cornerstone) of this foundation of the apostles and the prophets” (Eph. 2:20). “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” is a statement of faith by Peter, to which Jesus acknowledges, For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Heavenly Father”. But it is also a statement of faith for the Church, and for us as individuals. For one can not profess what one does not believe (by this I mean professing both in word and deed, Ja. 2:22). 

Then, Jesus does something radical; He changes Simon’s name. Within scripture, when God gives a new name to a person (or a people) it marks a turning point. Something big was happening, a new responsibility, role or identity. Simon’s name meant, ”he is heard,” and he certainly was on this day, wasn’t he? For God heard his heart in his profession, before it was spoken aloud. And Jesus blesses him and changes his name to Peter.

 Petros in Greek and Kepha in Aramaic. I mention both names, because they are both used in scripture, in fact, it is the only name Paul uses for Peter. It also [helps] clarify the misunderstanding Protestants have with this passage. Petros is the masculine form of the Greek word for “rock”; Petra is the feminine form.

That is why there are different words used in the sentence in the Greek text, “And so I say to you, you are Petros and upon this petra I will build my church. Surely Matthew wouldn’t refer to Peter as feminine, would he? Whereas in the Aramaic there is no masculine/feminine form of the word Kepha. It would read, “And so I say to you, you are Kepha and upon this kepha I will build my church.” This also happens to be the language that Jesus and the disciples spoke at the time. So in essence, Jesus is saying, “You are Rock and on you, I will build My church.” This means that Peter would be the leader of the twelve, after Jesus returned to the Father (John 21:15-19) and through Peter, Jesus Himself would build His church. And we see examples of this all through the New Testament; Peter being the spokesman for the twelve, often the central figure relating to Christ. He is always named first. He was also first to proclaim the Gospel, the first to heal others and the first to receive the revelation to take the Gospel to the Gentiles (Mk. 8:29, Matt. 14:28-32, Lk. 6:12-16, Acts 2:14-40, Acts 3:6-7, Acts 10:9-48).

Jesus then promises that the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it [church],  a promise that stands to this day. Jesus’ “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church” stood through the Roman persecutions, converted that pagan nation and was the sole Christian religion (that wasn’t heresy) for 1550+ years.

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2 Responses

  1. Excellent article – thanks! And I hope you and your family are having a wonderful Eastertide!

  2. Yes, it is wonderful. And I pray the same for your family!
    I’m glad you found this post interesting…I’ll post part 2 next week.

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