If you recall, in the last blog we were observers listening to both Jesus and the Apostles as they discussed not only who the people thought Jesus was, but also what the Apostles thought about who Jesus was. There was no question in Peter’s mind: He blurted out with certitude, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus tells them that Peter is given this insight from the Father in heaven, not because of any knowledge he has gleaned over the years.
Now let us look again at Matthew, but this time, Chapter 16: 18-19. Here Jesus says, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth with be loosed in Heaven.”
This is pretty powerful stuff. Let these verses really sink in, read them again if you have to. It is the bedrock of the Christian faith. Jesus knew that he was going to leave soon and he did not want the Church to die. He turned over complete authority to Peter. There is a lot of deep theology here. Peter has, in a sense, the limited power of God. He can forgive sins or not. And with the complete authority he also had the power to pass it on to the Apostles and his successors up to the present day Pope Francis.
Lastly, remember what Jesus said, “The gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it.” Think about that. Christianity was started by the son of a carpenter and passed on to a fisherman and the eleven Apostles over two thousand years ago and today, the Church is thriving, in spite of all the doomsayers over the years.
Do you think God has a hand in its survival?? You betcha!!! ALLELUIA!!!!