Matthew 20:1-16 God's Generous Grace

Revealing the Rock: Matthew 16:13-20 Peter’s Confession and the Unshakable Church

Delivery Time: 15 minutes


Welcome, friends, to our time of study in God’s Word. I’m so glad you’ve joined us today as we dig into the Scriptures together. Our focus is on Christian discipleship and spiritual growth, seeking to understand the teachings of Jesus and how they can shape our lives. Let’s open our hearts and minds to the truth that God wants to reveal to us through His Word.


In this Bible study, we’ll explore the profound conversation between Jesus and His disciples as recorded in Matthew 16:13-20. This passage reveals the pivotal moment when Peter acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God. As we journey through these verses, we’ll gain insights into the essence of Christian discipleship and the foundation of the church that Jesus is building. Let’s approach these words with humility and a willingness to learn from our Lord.

Scripture: Matthew 16:13-20

Matthew 16:13-20 (NIV)

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 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. 18 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. 19 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.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.


Who Do You Say I Am?

  • People’s Speculations (v. 13-14)
  • Peter’s Confession (v. 15-16)

The Rock and the Church

  • Jesus’ Revelation (v. 17)
  • The Church’s Foundation (v. 18)
  • Triumph over the Powers of Darkness (v. 18b)

Keys of the Kingdom

  • Authority Granted (v. 19)
  • Binding and Loosing (v. 19)
  • The Messiah’s Identity Concealed (v. 20)

May our time in this study bring us closer to Christ and equip us to be His devoted disciples, living out His truth in our lives. Let’s engage with open hearts and a desire to grow in our spiritual journey.

Who Do You Say I Am?

In this section, Jesus engages his disciples in a pivotal conversation. He questions them about the popular opinions regarding His identity. The disciples share the various speculations circulating among the people, reflecting the diverse perceptions surrounding Jesus. Then comes the turning point – Jesus directs the question towards His closest followers, asking, “Who do you say I am?” Peter, with clarity and conviction, declares Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God. This moment underscores the significance of personal revelation and confession.

Explanation: This interaction highlights the varying viewpoints people have about Jesus. It’s a reminder that we, too, live in a world with differing opinions about Christ. However, the heart of this section is Peter’s bold confession, serving as a reminder that Christian discipleship involves recognizing Jesus’ true identity.

Reflection: Just as Peter declared, our understanding of Jesus shapes our faith journey. Have we personally grasped the reality of Jesus as the Messiah? This section encourages us to reflect on our own confession of faith and whether it guides our daily lives.

Commentary on Christian Discipleship and Spiritual Growth: Christian discipleship begins with knowing and acknowledging Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It’s not enough to rely on the opinions of others; we must have a personal revelation of His identity. This revelation transforms us from within, setting the foundation for spiritual growth and a genuine relationship with Him.

The Rock and the Church

In these verses, Jesus responds to Peter’s confession by revealing that this confession is the foundation upon which He will build His church. He acknowledges that this revelation came from the Father, signifying the divine origin of this truth. Jesus uses the metaphor of a rock to convey the unshakeable nature of the church He is establishing, one that the powers of darkness cannot overcome.

Explanation: Jesus refers to Peter as a “rock,” playing on the Greek word “petros,” which means a small stone, and “petra,” which means a large rock or bedrock. The confession Peter made is the “petra” upon which the church is built – the truth of Jesus’ identity.

Reflection: The imagery of a rock as the foundation of the church conveys stability and strength. Just as Jesus’ church is built on this confession, our lives, too, need a solid foundation. Are we building our lives on the unchanging truth of Christ?

Commentary on Christian Discipleship and Spiritual Growth: As disciples, we are part of this unshakable church, grounded in the truth of Jesus. Spiritual growth involves deepening our understanding of this truth, allowing it to shape our decisions and actions. It’s a reminder that discipleship is about a lifelong commitment to following Christ, rooted in His unwavering foundation.

Keys of the Kingdom

In this section, Jesus grants Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, symbolizing authority. He emphasizes the power of binding and loosing – the ability to declare what is allowed or forbidden. Jesus also instructs the disciples to keep His Messianic identity concealed for a time.

Explanation: The keys of the kingdom signify the authority given to Peter and, by extension, the church. Binding and loosing refer to making decisions based on God’s will and Word, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Reflection: This passage underscores the importance of spiritual authority and discernment within the context of Christian discipleship. Are we seeking God’s guidance in our decisions, recognizing that our choices have implications in the spiritual realm?

Commentary on Christian Discipleship and Spiritual Growth: Christian discipleship involves not just following Jesus’ teachings, but also understanding and applying the authority He grants us as believers. This authority requires humility and alignment with God’s will. As we grow spiritually, our ability to bind and loose aligns more closely with God’s heart.

In Closing

In this powerful encounter, we witness the heart of Christian discipleship – acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, standing on the unshakable foundation of His truth, and wielding the authority of the kingdom. This passage speaks to the core of our faith and challenges us to reflect on our own confession, the strength of our foundation, and our exercise of spiritual authority. As we journey deeper into discipleship, may we be transformed by the revelation of Christ’s identity, stand firm on His unwavering truth, and humbly exercise the authority He has granted us.

Multiple Choice Q&A

  1. What did Peter confess Jesus to be?
    • a) A prophet
    • b) The Messiah, the Son of the living God
    • c) A teacher
    • d) A miracle worker Personal Reflection: Have I personally confessed Jesus as the Messiah in my life?
  2. What does Jesus promise to build upon Peter’s confession?
    • a) A house
    • b) A school
    • c) His church
    • d) A city Personal Reflection: Is my life built on the unshakable truth of Jesus as the Messiah?
  3. What does “binding and loosing” refer to?
    • a) Physical activities
    • b) Making decisions based on God’s will
    • c) Tying and untying knots
    • d) Gardening techniques Personal Reflection: Do I seek God’s guidance in my decisions, understanding the authority I have in Christ?

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the revelation of Your Son, Jesus Christ, as the Messiah, the foundation of our faith. May we grow as disciples, embracing His truth and living in the authority You’ve granted us. Give us the courage to invite others into this transformative journey of discipleship, that they too may experience the joy of knowing Christ. In His name, we pray. Amen.

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