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The “rock” of Jesus: What is it, really?

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(BY: ATTY. BATAS MAURICIO) LIFE’S INSPIRATION:“…When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, `Who do people say the Son of Man is?’… Simon Peter answered, `You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’…” (Matthew 16:13, 16, the Holy Bible).

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IS THE CHURCH NECESSARY FOR SALVATION? The debate about the necessity of a church for the salvation of Christian believers has been raging worldwide for quite some time now, with one group insisting that a church is not necessary because what is really needed by sinners is a “personal” relationship with God so that they could be saved.

But this debate seems to be useless, as there are various parts of the Bible which clearly appear to answer with finality the issue of whether a church is important for the salvation of man, with these chapters and verses strongly indicating that a church is indeed urgently necessary, over and above the suggestion of a “personal” relationship with God.

For one, Jesus, our God and Savior, Himself established the necessity of a church for the salvation of a believer. In Matthew 16:18 of the Bible, Jesus said He will put up His own church. This church is highly important because, as Matthew 16:18 says, it will provide salvation to its members inasmuch as the “gates of Hades (or hell) will not overcome it”.

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THE “ROCK” OF JESUS: WHAT IS IT, REALLY?Interestingly, Matthew 16:18 is often the source of one other fierce debate, centering on the issue of what Jesus meant when he referred to a “rock” on which He will build His church. To understand this a little better, let us read the New International Version of Matthew 16:18.

It says: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades (or hell) will not overcome it…” The debate about this verse is this: to whom did Jesus refer to as the “rock” upon which He will build His Church: to Him, or to Peter?

One group is saying that when Jesus mentioned “the rock”, He was referring to Himself, as the very foundation of His Church. Others however are saying that the “rock” mentioned by Jesus referred to Peter, the Apostle who said, in answer to a question by Jesus about who He was, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:17).

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FAITH IN JESUS AS GOD AND SAVIOR: To me, this debate is also irrelevant, for Jesus was not referring either to Himself or to Peter in Matthew 16:18. In reality, taking into consideration verses 1 to 18 of Matthew 16, what Jesus was referring to as the “rock” upon which He will build His Church is the faith, as manifested by Simon whom He called Peter in verse 17, that Jesus is God and Savior.

In other words, when Jesus said He will build His Church upon the rock, what He was actually saying was that, the “rock” upon which His Church would be anchored was the faith of believers that He is God and Savor. This is in fact the “truth” that He wanted His followers to believe in and which would set them free (see John 8:31-32), and would give them power here on earth, and salvation in Paradise in eternal life.

This is the “Good News” that He wanted to be preached to all the nations before the end shall come (Matthew 24:14). This is the basis for His directives in Matthew 28:19-20, for His disciples to go and make all nations His disciples, baptizing them in His Name, which is the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them that He is God and Savior. So, may I ask: is your church the Church of Jesus?

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PLEASE LISTEN: “Tambalang Batas at Somintac”, jointly aired at DZEC, 1062 kHz in Manila, 1080 kHz in Dagupan City, 711 kHz in Naga City, 1260 kHz in Lucena City, 1224 kHz in Davao City, and at www.eaglenews.ph, Mondays to Fridays, at 6 a.m.; “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas”, at 103.7 mHz in Don Carlos, Bukidnon, Mondays to Fridays, at 7 a.m.; “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas” at 801 kHz on the AM band (Panay Island), Mondays to Fridays, at 10 a.m.; and “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas” at 107.5 Win FM, Roxas, Isabela (Saturday, 5:30 a.m., and Sunday, 7 a.m.).   -30-




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