What was Jesus’ threefold response in Mat 16:17-19 to Peter’s great confession he just made in Mat 16:13-16? Did Jesus say Peter was blessed because he possessed a superior intellect that was able to reason to a correct understanding of who He was? Did He say he was blessed because he had the right parents and upbringing, or had happened upon the right people who were able to shine the right light in just the right way at the right time so that he was able to come to his understanding of who Jesus was? Again, what circumstances made it clear that Peter’s understanding of who Jesus was was not based upon human revelation? See Mat 16:14, Joh 7:41,52, and recall that Jesus did not at all fit people’s expectations of who they thought the Messiah would be. If his confession was not based on human understanding from where did it come? Did the revelation to Peter from the Father of who Jesus was come to him in an instant flash of insight, or did it unfold over a period of time as he walked with the Lord and had faith in Jesus in spite of the fact that He was not fulfilling his expectations? See Joh 6:66-69. What can we learn from this about the way God reveals Himself to people? Cf. Heb 11:6.
Is the human understanding of who Jesus is any different today than it was then? In like manner to that time, what is the only way still today that a person is ultimately able to come to understand who Jesus really is? What does this help us to understand must be the first and foremost endeavor of the Church in helping people to understand who Jesus is so that they may come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved? Is it to be well trained in apologetics so as to be able to answer all the questions of their human understanding? See 1Ti 2:1-4,8.
What is the significance of the word “also” in Mat 16:18? Note: In the Greek, “I” is emphatic, making it clear that as the Father had revealed to Peter who Jesus was, so now Jesus Himself would also reveal something to Peter.
By what name does Matthew refer to Peter in Mat 16:16? By what name does Jesus call Peter in Mat 16:17? What play on Peter’s name does Jesus make in Mat 16:18? See NASB text notes. What English word means to make like stone that comes from Peter’s name? (Petrify). To what does Jesus refer as the rock upon which He will build His church? Is it Peter himself, or the understanding of who Jesus was that was articulated by Peter in his confession? Or both? Observe that while “this rock” cannot refer exclusively to the person of Peter (otherwise He would have said “upon YOU I will build my church”) the substance of Peter’s confession is inseparably linked to him by Jesus’ play on his name. Although Peter and his confessed understanding of Jesus were the rock upon which He would build His church, is there any evidence here, or anywhere in Scripture, that this is to be understood in the ecclesiastical sense of a papal succession and primacy over others as taught by the Roman Catholic church? See Mat 20:25-28, Gal 2:2,6-9, Act 15:6-7,12-22, 1Pe 5:1. Throughout Scripture what does a rock signify, and to whom in particular does it refer: Peter or Jesus? See Mat 7:24-25, Luk 6:47-48, Exo 17:6, 33:21-22, Num 20:8-11, Deut 8:15, 32:13, 1Co 10:4, Rom 9:33, 1Pe 2:4-8.
What is significant about the mention of the church here? Think: when did the church as we know it come into existence? See Act 2:1-4,41 and note that this is the first mention of it in the New Testament, and is only mentioned in the gospels here and in Mat 18:17. What would the disciples have understood Jesus to mean about the church he would build from the way the word was used in the Old Testament? Note: the Greek word for church is ekklesia, which means literally to be called out. It is a common word in the LXX where it is usually translated as an “assembly” or “congregation”, most often of the assembly or congregation of Israel; see Deut 4:10, 9:10, 18:16, 23:1-4,8, Psa 22:22,25, 26:12, 35:18, 40:9, 89:5, 149:1, Act 7:38.