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In Matthew 16:13-19, we find an interesting and powerful story. As Jesus and His disciples approached the region of Caesarea Philippi, with Mt. Hermon looming in the distance, Jesus turned and asked them, “Who do people say that I am?” They gave various answers they had heard in their travels with Jesus; some said He was John the Baptist come back to life, and others said, Elijah or Jeremiah. But then Jesus quickly turned the conversation personal, “Who do you say I am?”
Seemingly without hesitation, Peter blurted out, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Out of that one statement, Jesus made a profound declaration that has since shaped the course of history, “…On this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
The “rock” on which Jesus declared he would build His Church was Peter’s realization of exactly who Jesus is. Once they knew and understood who he was, Jesus could begin using them to build his kingdom. Since then, Jesus has been building his Church, and nothing has been able to stop it.
Interestingly, the unstoppable force required to build the Church was not a unique church growth strategy or highly trained and influential people. The unstoppable power of the Church lies in ordinary people realizing who Jesus is and joining Him in His mission.
This is such a profound realization because when we understand who Jesus is and what he has done for us, the only logical conclusion is to serve him wholeheartedly. And the true power of that understanding is not our dedication to a cause but the empowerment Jesus promised would accompany anyone who chose to confess Him as Lord. He said he would give us the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, that we might bind the powers of darkness and set people free from the chains that bound them!
We have been given the keys to the kingdom; our prayers are powerful and effective. As we fast and pray, we are locking up the enemy and setting people free. Jesus is building his Church, and he is using us to do it! Nothing in all of Heaven or earth will be able to stop it!
Matthew 16:13-19 (NLT)
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in Heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in Heaven, and whatever you permit[i] on earth will be permitted in Heaven.”