READ | Matthew 16:16-19
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 be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The Universal Church was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). In the passage above, Jesus ties the founding of his Universal Church with the inauguration of the Kingdom of Heaven. While modern-day churches seem to be divided, we long for the day that we are united in Jesus’ eternal kingdom with all believers that seek Jesus as their Messiah, the Son of the Living God.
It is estimated that there are 2.6 billion Christian believers on the earth. Imagine what it would be like if we would put down our differences and realize how much we have in common.
How do you view Christians who worship Jesus in different traditions than yours? Do you recognize that there is comfort in sharing our faith with like-minded people who also desire to see the fulfillment of the Kingdom of Heaven?
After today’s verses, your child may be confused at the wording Jesus Christ used. Maybe you can ask if they know what a metaphor is. Here is how you can explain it: A metaphor is a way to imagine how one thing is the same as another thing because they have the same characteristics.
Let’s take the metaphor, “You are my sunshine.” Just like the sun brings warmth and happiness to someone’s day, you do the same by bringing happiness to someone’s day. You are sunshine because you share the characteristics of making someone happy.
The Bible uses various metaphors to describe how the whole church is one (such as one body, family, flock, vineyard and bride) and all those who are saved are part of the Universal Church. That’s how we get so many brothers and sisters in Christ. When Jesus addressed Peter as “the rock” he was telling Peter he would be foundational in the building of the church as we know it. Peter was a strong leader, just like a foundation built on a rock is a strong foundation and Peter’s leadership was needed to be a part of the first church so that the foundation of the universal church would be strong as well.
Contributed by Craig Johnson, Spiritual Director
Parent Note by Danielle Short