When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
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.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
I realize we’re “plowing old ground” here by going over the same verses in a less than a week, but with your new insights from other parts of the New Testament about the Church, this passage is worth taking a second look at. Some clarification on Jewish idiom used in the passage—the term “gates of Hades” most likely refers to “the leadership of Hades.” In ancient times, the “gates” were the men or elders who stayed at the gate and made judgments about civil matters and, at times, even who could enter or leave the city. With this in mind, what do you think Jesus meant when He said, “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”?
Now for the next idiom… “keys.” What do they represent?
The last phrase of Jesus’ description of the Universal Church is, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The words “bind & loose” are religious terms that can be translated “permit & forbid,” and the tense of the verse is interesting in that it quite literally could be translated, “whatever you forbid on earth has already been forbidden in heaven and whatever you permit on earth has already been permitted in heaven.” What is significant about this and the previous three truths, that makes the Church Universal the most unique group of people on the face of this earth?
What does this passage say about our authority over the kingdom of Satan and the kingdoms of this world?
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.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.