Now if we have any doubts about Peter at this point and think, nevertheless, that perhaps he is the rock, they should be disabused by Peter’s conduct. If Peter’s the rock we’re in trouble, since immediately after this Peter objected to something of central importance Jesus said. Jesus went on to say that he had to suffer and die and be killed and that on the third day he would rise again.

And then there’s the third interpretation, and this is the one I hold to. I recognize some of the weaknesses of it, but this is the view that the foundation upon which the church is built, the rock, is not Peter but actually the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to Peter, “That was a marvelous thing, and you are blessed because of it on the basis of that confession. But all of you need to know that the only reason Peter was able to make that confession is because it has been revealed to him by God.” That’s the same today. Nobody can confess that Jesus Christ is Lord except the Father draws them to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit makes that clear to them.

Now he begins, as I said, in an interesting way, and the way he begins is by asking them what the various people that they had come in contact with were saying concerning himself. The actual question is what we find in verse 13: “He asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’” Now that was a very lively question in that day. Whenever anybody of any unusual stature came along, any leader-type emerging from the people, it was more or less a checklist that the people of the day would run off in order to determine who he was.

We come now in our series to the sixteenth chapter with this great story that involves the confession of Jesus Christ by the Apostle Peter. I think what we need to see as we begin to look at this section is that it stresses from beginning to end that this faith to which we are called is a personal thing, not something that we can push off on someone else, or an experience of someone else by which we are able to live the Christian life. It involves ourselves and personal discipleship.