And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 ESV
That afternoon, I sat with my shotgun in hand, waiting and watching to catch the perpetrator of the recent crimes, but the sly fellow never appeared. Nevertheless, by morning the evidence of his skullduggery was again on display, and my zucchini squash plants lay in ruins. Mr. Groundhog never showed his head, but the evidence of his deeds was a clear reminder that a mere garden fence would not keep him at bay. Yet, I did not give up on our vegetable patch. I replanted and strengthened the fence and was delighted to discover that though the zucchini crop was a bust, we reaped tomatoes, peppers and green beans in abundance that year. In the same way, when we grow spiritually fatigued, discouraged and disillusioned by scandal among church leaders, fellow church members, or ourselves, we must not give in to despair. Instead, remember that attacks are not a sign of defeat. Rather, the impact of our spiritual garden attacker does not, will not and has never destroyed the success of all the crops.
After all, it would be no miracle if God’s church grew unimpeded throughout the centuries because all Christians were perfect. The miracle is that, in spite of our glaring shortcomings, scandals and weaknesses, God has continued to build His church, and after two thousand years she remains alive and well. Each time the enemy has broken through the garden fence, God in mercy knelt down and went to work in His garden. He didn’t tell Peter He needed a perfect church to build His Kingdom. Instead, God’s promise was that by the miracle of His grace, He would rebuild the garden fence, replant the damaged rows and in the end reap an abundant harvest that no power of hell could ever destroy!
4 thoughts on “The Miracle of the Church”
Most often, even in Evangelical circles, this verse is misinterpreted to suggest Jesus was telling Peter that He would build His Church on Peter. This borders on blasphemy but does not quite cross that line.
What Jesus was doing, as He did on several occasions, was playing on words. The Rock upon which Jesus builds His Church is the truth Peter had just stated, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matthew 16:16-19, Mark 8:29)
Thanks for the reminder, Pete. We seasoned Christians tend to chastise ourselves for not being perfect. The good news is, we don’t have to be. The Lord works through us in spite of us, and though not perfect in this life, He will help us be better than we were yesterday.
That was the encouraging thought that inspired this post. Thank you for commenting.