Matthew 16:13-20, New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
Peter Says That Jesus Is the Messiah
13Jesus went to the area of Caesarea Philippi. There he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. Still others say Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
15“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah. You are the Son of the living God.”
17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! No mere human showed this to you. My Father in heaven showed it to you. 18Here is what I tell you. You are Peter. On this rock I will build my church. The gates of hell will not be strong enough to destroy it. 19I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. What you lock on earth will be locked in heaven. What you unlock on earth will be unlocked in heaven.” 20Then Jesus ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
- Picture of your church’s cornerstone or a picture of a cornerstone of another church
Have you ever seen a cornerstone? The cornerstone is the first stone laid in building a structure. All other stones are placed around this first stone. It provides support and determines the position of the entire structure.
Many times, the cornerstone will have a date inscribed in it to mark the year that the building was built. Some cornerstones have a time capsule inside to represent things that happened that year. Does this church have a cornerstone? Have you ever seen a church cornerstone?
In this passage from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is asking the disciples who they think he is? When Simon Peter answers that Jesus is the son of the living God, Jesus replied (read from Bible) “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! No mere human showed this to you. My Father in heaven showed it to you. 18Here is what I tell you. You are Peter. On this rock I will build my church.”
Did you know that Jesus changed Simon’s name to Petros, which means rock? He was the cornerstone on which Jesus built his church.
The cornerstone of each church is the beginning of a building that changes many lives for years to come in the name of Jesus. While God is not located here in this building, have you ever experienced God in this place? Ask your parents or other adult who have been a part of this church for a while when they have encountered God in this place? Jesus even changed Simon’s name to suggest that he was a rock for Jesus. What about you? Are you solid like a rock in your faith in Jesus? Can you begin to build a following of Jesus followers by the way you act and serve Jesus?
Prayer: Everlasting God, we put our faith and trust in you. Our faith is strong because of the love we have for you. We, like Peter, are blessed. Amen.