Upon This Rock
Scriptures: Matthew 16:13-18 Acts 19:21-41 Acts 2
“Upon this Rock I will build my congregation” (Tyndale translation) These are the words spoken by Jesus to His disciples after Peter had declared “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.
So, there can be no doubt that the solid foundation of what we today call “Church” is this precious Revelation - Jesus Christ, the Immanuel, is the Anointed One, the Son of the Living God. Can you place yourself there, sitting at the feet of this man who spoke with such authority, fearlessness and tremendous conviction? For hundreds of years the Jewish nation had been waiting, yearning, for the Messiah to come and set them free from bondage. Now, here was a rough and ready, seemingly ordinary man acknowledging that Peter had it absolutely right. He, Jesus, was the Incarnation of God on earth.
Yet, to all intents and purposes, He failed. The very despots who kept the Jewish nation under harsh and tyrannical rule, crucified Him. Where was the all-powerful Victor? Where was the King of the Jews? He was exactly where He was always meant to be, seated with God, enthroned in His Kingdom.
So, what of this “ecclesia” He spoke of in Matthew 16? The Greek word “ecclesia” is formed from 2 words “ek” and “kaleo”, meaning assembly of called out ones. The same word is used in Acts 19 to describe the rioting mob. After Jesus’ resurrection He appeared to many hundreds of people. This was a precious time, a necessary time. He had spent three and a half years teaching, declaring God’s Kingdom power, performing miracles, as a man, living as any other man with one powerful exception. Not only was He fully man, He was also fully God. During that time, He had called out certain disciples to follow Him. They had left their families, their livelihoods, their homes and followed Him. Why? Because they recognised Him for who He was and is, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Now, Jesus was completing the preparation, now, they would ostensibly be alone, on earth, without His physical presence.
These followers obediently waited after Christ’s ascension as He told them to do, until Holy Spirit came to them, filled them to overflowing and endued them with power. The Day of Pentecost saw the inarticulate, fearful Peter stand up and preach to thousands of people, telling them of the Messiah who had come and been rejected, but Who had won the victory over the only enemy who truly mattered – the devil who brought death and torment in his wake for all he could deceive. This victorious Christ was offering all of humanity that very same victory over death and hell for themselves. All they had to do was surrender, lay down their own life, answer the call to come out from the bondage of sin and acknowledge, confess, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
To receive that priceless Revelation is to begin to be built into the Life Christ bought for us at Calvary. It is to join the Assembly of all the saints who have gone before and who are living now as followers of Christ.
We are the Church, the Ecclesia. Where we meet together to edify each other, to worship our God together and to share teaching and words from Scripture, matters not one iota to God. We can meet in a field, at a river bank, in a building, in each other’s homes. What matters is that we remain faithful to what we are – those who have obeyed the Voice of God calling them out of their selfish ways, out of hedonistic lives, out of destructive habits and addictions.
We are One Body with Christ as our Head. We are His Bride, yearning for the return of the Bridegroom. We are the Assembly of Called Out Ones. We are THE CHURCH.
Prayer: Abba Father, reveal afresh to us what every soul who has ever followed you knows, that You are the Christ, forever and always.