By Stephen Meehan
Webster’s dictionary defines the word rock as: a large mass of stone forming a cliff, promontory, or peak; a concreted mass of stony material; consolidated or unconsolidated solid mineral matter; and, something like a rock in firmness. The word conveys images of strength, something solid or immovable, an object that stands firm throughout the passage of time. Chevrolet, in promotion of one their trucks, uses the expression “like a rock” to show how dependable and reliable their vehicles are and even a wrestler turned actor used the title, The Rock, to show how tough and firm he is.
But who does the Bible claim to be the Rock? As a former Catholic, we were lead to believe that Peter the Apostle was the one who Christ inferred this title upon. He was the one who the Church was founded on and thus they claim was their first pope. Even presently, in discussing scriptural verses with Catholics, they cannot be persuaded otherwise that Jesus Christ is indeed the Rock, as foretold in the Old Testament and verified in the New Testament.
The scriptural text that they claim solidifies their position as Peter being the Rock is found in Matthew 16:
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, – Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?’
And they said, -some say that thou art John the Baptist:, some Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets’
Then He said unto them, -But who do you say that I am?’
And Simon Peter answered and said, -Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’
And Jesus answered and said unto him, -Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven’
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 16:13-18
At a cursory glance, it would appear that Jesus is calling Peter the rock. But keeping the verses in context, the whole subject matter in which they are discussing is Christ and who men claim that He is. Peter nails it by confirming that Jesus is the Christ and the Rock upon whom the Church is founded. The “rock” of his confirmation of who Christ is, together with the Rock that is standing before him, is the basis of the further statement that the “gates of Hell” will not prevail against Christ’s Church. If the rock was based upon a man; we would be in trouble. But Jesus Christ – the Rock of the Ages – is immovable, unshakeable and timeless.
Still not convinced? Consider these verses from both the Old and New Testament. They give ample testimony of just who our Rock is:
“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: For all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.” – Deuteronomy 32:4
“…then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.” – Deuteronomy 32:15
“Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.” – Deuteronomy 32:18
“And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted” – Deuteronomy 32:37
“There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any Rock like our God” – Isaiah 2:2
“And he said, The LORD is my Rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer” – 2 Samuel 22:2
“The God of my Rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; thou save me from violence” – 2 Samuel 22:3
“For who is God, save the LORD? And who is a Rock, save our God?” – 2 Samuel 22:32
“The LORD lives; and blessed be my Rock; and exalted be the God of the Rock of my salvation” – 2 Samuel 22:47
“The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me, He that rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” – 2 Samuel 23:3
“The LORD is my Rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” – Psalm 18:2
“For who is God save the LORD? or who is a Rock save our God?” – Psalm 18:31
“The LORD lives; and blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted” – Psalm 18:46
“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock”. – Psalm 27:5
“Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit” – Psalm 28:1
“Bow down your ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, O Lord, for an house of defense to save me” – Psalm 31:2
“For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me” – Psalm 31:3
“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings” – Psalm 40:2
“I will say unto God my rock, -Why hast thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” – Psalm 42:9
“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” – Psalm 61:2
“He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved” – Psalm 62:2
“He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved” – Psalm 62:6
“In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God” – Psalm 62:7
“Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.” – Psalm 71:3
“And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.” – Psalm 78:35
“He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation” – Psalm 89:26
“To show that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him” – Psalm 92:15
“But the LORD is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge” – Psalm 94:22
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation” – Psalm 95:1
“Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty” – Isaiah 2:10
“And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” – Isaiah 8:14
“Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shall thou plant pleasant plants, and shall set it with strange slips” – Isaiah 17:10
“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged” – Isaiah 51:1
Even Jesus, in the New Testament, likens Himself to a Rock:
“Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” – Matthew 7:24
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” – Matthew 7:25
Jesus Christ is that Rock!
“As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed”. – Romans 9:33
Would you still deny that Jesus the Christ is that One True Rock?
Even the Apostle Paul, a fellow servant along with Peter, confirms that JESUS CHRIST IS THE ROCK and not Peter:
“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” – 1 Corinthinians 10:4
And finally, even Peter, confesses (again) that Jesus is the Rock:
“If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious
To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious, and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” – 1 Peter 2:3-8
The Holy Spirit inspired Word of God makes it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ is the One True Rock, upon whom we can trust, upon whom is the strength and foundation of our salvation and upon whom His Church and His Bride, the gates of Hell will never prevail over.
Don’t be mislead, or confounded, or stumble over false doctrine. Place your complete faith in the One True Rock – and not in fallible men and their false doctrine.
BUT WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?