BF’s COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 16:15-19
“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you…For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…. ” (Matt 16:15-18 ESV).
This passage comprises CHRIST announcing His FATHER’s church building program. The FATHER, through the HOLY SPIRIT gave Peter his revelation.
The close identity to the words, “Peter” and “rock” in the original language means nothing. The only connection “this rock” has to do with Peter is that he demonstrated how “the Father in heaven” conveys His will to His chosen. The HOLY SPIRIT is the One through whom GOD will “build His church.” The HOLY SPIRIT is the “rock.”
And he who is led by the SPIRIT—who is learning first hand by the “Father who is in heaven,” will possess the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” and will “bind and loose” as the SPIRIT leads him because he is not doing as he wishes but as the FATHER wishes.
CHRIST was the first to demonstrate the indwelling operation of the HOLY SPIRIT. While on earth he exhibited how the FATHER directed and implemented His will. The prophet Isaiah speaks of it. He “…shall not judge by what his eyes see…” (Isa 11:3 ESV). He will not follow his human understanding, for “…the Spirit ofthe LORD shall rest upon him…” (Isa 11:2 ESV).
The HOLY SPIRIT led CHRIST through His tenure on earth and now CHRIST is announcing in this passage that the FATHER will lead His children to build His church through the HOLY SPIRIT. This “rock,” is the foundation—delivering all that is the predetermined will of GOD. “…For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor 2:10 ESV). The FATHER’s reveals His will through the HOLY SPIRIT.
The FATHER, GOD was called a “rock” in the Old Testament (Ps 62:7), and JESUS was also called the ”rock” in the New (1 Cor 10:4). And here the third Person of the Trinity is called “rock.” The SPIRIT gave Peter the words, “You are Christ, the Son of the living God.” The SPIRIT will also give GOD’s chosen the way to build His church.
“…let us humbly suffer ourselves to be inwardly taught by the…Spirit alone…” John Calvin (Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible, “Commentary on Matthew 16:17”).