Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.
Over 2,000 years ago Jesus announced the beginning of His church. Ever wonder what exactly that meant? The word “church” is understood in many different ways today (building, organization, group of Christians) and it also had various definitions during the time of Jesus too (a gathering of people for political reasons, a group of like minded people). It is interesting to note that it didn’t take on a predominantly Christian definition until after Jesus. So, when Jesus said He would build His church, it could have created some questions – what does He mean by that?
Jesus was primarily talking about the inauguration of a new community of people that would be scattered over the face of the earth to continue the movement He started. It is true that Jesus came to die on the cross and rise from the dead to pay the price for our sin and to extend to us the opportunity of forgiveness and salvation. But, that is not all He did. In Luke 4 Jesus declared, publicly, His mission to be “bringing Good News to the poor, proclaiming the release of the captives, healing the blind, freeing the oppressed, and declaring God’s favor had come.” (Luke 4:18-19). This community He was launching with Peter was to continue that movement and change the world.
Soon after the ascension of Jesus in Acts Peter does just that. He stands and proclaims the truth of Jesus to thousands of people and many come to believe in the Good News! The movement was continuing. All the great things Jesus taught and did would continue on through this church which no one could stop. The movement that is still moving and still changing lives today.
When Jesus announced the establishment of His church it wasn’t the beginning of a new organization or a new religion, it was the beginning of a new and better way to live life. As people all over the world have witnessed His mighty work and heard His amazing Truth the movement has continued to grow and reach people in all walks of life and in every situation.
What He started 2,000 years ago is still the best there is today. We have seen countless movements for many different things come and go in our society. Things that are trendy today might not be trendy tomorrow as everything just seems to be changing at an incredible rate. But, the one thing that has stood the test of time and remains just as true today as it was the day it started is the church of Jesus Christ. Being a part of His movement, of His family, is still the best way to live life. Is still the best and only way to experience true freedom, healing, and life transformation. It is a movement not even the powers of hell can stop. The best news of all – everyone is welcome to join the movement – have you? Will you?
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.