You have followed Jesus for 2 days over hills and rocky terrain and you arrive at Caesarea Philippi. This was a location famous for its pagan rituals and sacrifices. Jesus then leads you to a famous cliff called the ‘Rock of gods’. At the base of the 100 feet high cliff was a cave called ‘the gates of Hades’ and people believed gods such as Baal entered the cave. Into the crevices of the rock the people had placed hundreds of idols and statues.
Here, Jesus taught the people about His and their mission.
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will bebound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.” (Matthew 16 v 13-20)
Standing near one of the shrines, Peter declares “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
“You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
On this rock of gods and every religion imaginable, I will build my church.
There is no cliff face for us but we live in a culture of idols and false religion.
The disciples were familiar with the Scriptures that tell us we are from a different rock.
The gates of Hades will not stand up against the power of the Church. Our mission is to take on evil and defeat it within culture.
Today this is why God has planted you where you are. In the factory, neighbourhood, school etc. It is not easy to live and work in such an environment. But it is here where Jesus is building His church.