This post is part of the l’Chaim! series on topics related to the Jewishness of the Messiah Jesus and how this can further our understanding and the living under the power of Holy Spirit in this generation.
As a Jew, Jesus was capable of acting in the role of rabbi. He knew every law and tradition, and could have certainly risen to the rank of chief priest, had this been His mission. However, the mission of Jesus went far beyond that of being a Jew, for Jesus bar-David was also Yeshua bar-Yahweh, or more appropriately, Yeshua bar-Elohim, the Son of God as well as the Son of Man. I believe this is why the Savior’s own Judaism in His earthly life has easily been overlooked, because He Himself explodes out of it. No culture can contain Him!
And yet, the Creator chose a people on earth to represent Him. Their mission was to be a light to the nations. So when He came to die for us, He came as a Jew, fulfilling all that His Father had intended in setting a people apart. As many Jews today will readily agree, Jews have never existed to hoard the goodness or the revelation of God, but to share it. In Jesus, our loving God has provided a new covenant, one which when received and lived frees anyone and everyone from the curses originating in the Fall in Genesis 3.
There are many examples of how Jesus points to this mission to the entire world in His earthly ministry: His encounters with the non-Jews as written in the gospels are probably only a few of many more times when He offered them the same blessings He gave to His fellow Israelites. A centurion (one of the Roman oppressors, no less), a Samaritan, and a woman with enough faith to plead with Him on His own terms, “even the dogs get to eat the crumbs beneath the table,” she said. There are probably many others, those who in those days were known as God-fearers, people who believed in the God of the Jews, who read and revered their scriptures.
Returning to the prophetic decree declared over Simon Peter, if we look at this with a different lens, understanding that Jesus is not only bar-David but also bar-Elohim, the son of the Creator, we understand the astounding truth Jesus is proclaiming.
“‘And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against 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.’” MT 16:16-17
Here is a truth whoever believes on the Name of Jesus can stand on! It is not only for Jews but for everyone who accepts the grace offered in Jesus as the One Who represented us all on the cross! He makes us the Church, Jew and Gentile, male and female, barbarian, uneducated, ignorant, educated and civilized, all, all, all, all, all of us who believe, we have the promise that the gates of hell will give way, and are even flimsy, compared to the might that is within us.
My friend, I understand if churches have let you down. But churches are not the Kingdom of God, they are human organizations and they have flaws. You are the Church when you believe on Jesus in a way that produces evidence and substance. You have that power to tread on serpents and see the gates of hell cave as you advance upon them. Still, if one can put a thousand to flight, two can vanquish 10,000! Our Lord’s purpose was to build you up as part of a body. Get to a fellowship where you can experience this Church blessing if at all possible. That is to say, find a Spirit-Filled, Bible-believing church.
Those who know me know that I’m usually a person of few words, but when I write, this is less true. Yet, I find myself groping for a way to get across the full import of this promise which Jesus verbally proclaimed (and I SAY to you) to Simon Peter. Fortunately, someone else has done so. This 40-second clip from a powerful sermon by Evangelist Rev. Daniel Kolenda conveys the immensity of the truth of what Peter received and we inherit. It should make you hungry to learn how to put this into practice.