This week’s Lectionary Gospel text is Matthew 16:13-21. In it we find Peter’s Messianic declaration, “You are the Christ (Messiah), Son of the living God” in the Greek, “σὺ εἶ ὁ χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος” to which Jesus responds, “I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” in the Greek, “σὺ εἶ Πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν”.

I am puzzled; upon which rock will Jesus build his church? Is it upon Peter, the rock who is anointed as the one to lead the early Christian community or, is it the confession of Jesus as Messiah and Son of the Living God?

R.T. France in his commentary on Matthew argues for the later and subsequently sees the reference to binding and loosening as references to the administration of the early church. However, I was reading Tom Wright’s devotional commentary and I noticed he states (without explaination) that it is upon the confession of Jesus as Messiah that the church is built.

Davies and Allison argue that Matthew 16:18 is, “among the most controversial in all of Scripture” (2:623) therefore, I am under no illusion that we will solve this today. However, I wondered what others thought…