|Mount Rainier 7431 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.Matthew 16:18(KJV)
Jesus asked the disciples what the gossip was about him, "Who do people say I am." The answers were confused: some said he was John the Baptist, or Isaiah, or another of the prophets. No one said he was the Messiah. Then he asked the disciples who they said he was. Simon Peter immediately answered for the group. In other places he identifies himself as the Son of God. In John 8 he argues for an extended period to prove to the Pharisees that he is the Christ, but they did not believe.
Here in Matthew Jesus does not go into extended argument, he just asked them who they said he was to the new followers, or to the crowds, or their families. Then Peter gives him the opportunity to proclaim himself to be the Christ. Peter said,"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Some people view this as placing emphasis on Peter and I take exception to that. He was not putting any responsibility on Peter. The rock he was building the church on was Peter's statement that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus is the one who is the Rock. Many scriptures in the Old Testament refer to God as the Rock of our salvation. They are testimonies to the protection and security God provides, and his infallible nature, and his everlasting character. These attributes are true of Jesus as well as the Father. He built the Church on himself, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.