18And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he enjoined on his disciples that they should say to no man that he was the Christ.
In verses 18-20 Jesus pointed to the dynamics of the church He would build.
And I also say to you that you are Peter [masculine for small rock],
Peter’s declaration of who Jesus was led to a presentation of Jesus’ ministry. “Peter” and “rock” are the related terms in the Greek in a play on words. Peter means stone, a loose rock and “rock” means a large rocky ledge.
and on this rock [feminine for large massive rock] I will build [continue to build] My church,
“On this rock” (rocky ledge) refers to establishing a foundation on which to build something. This rock is Jesus Himself, not Peter. In the Greek, the inanimate object “rock” is in the feminine—a gender not suitable for the name Peter.
and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 1 Co 10:4
This s the first occurrence of the word “church” in the New Testament. Literally, the word means those called out. The New Testament uses this word 114 times, primarily of the local church, but this passage refers to the whole church rather than the local church. The word “church” here carries the idea of community or congregation. Jesus did not use the word in the more technical sense of Acts 2 onward. He may have been referring here to the present interim kingdom. That kingdom runs from the rejection of Israel through the church age. The church, which Jesus spoke of in the future, would break down distinction between Jew and Gentile.
and the gates of Hades [entrance into death] shall not prevail against it.
Hell is the final destiny of non-Christians (Re 20:11-15). Hades is the dominion of the non-believing dead; it never refers to hell. “Gates” represent the right to enter a domain. No matter how oppressive the opposition becomes, even the point of death, Jesus will build His assembly on earth; it will be invincible. Christians will die along the way but Jesus will build His church.
And I will give you [singular] the keys of the kingdom of heaven,
The keeper of the keys was someone with authority to admit into the house or domain (kingdom). Here “kingdom of heaven” does not refer to the eternal state but to the right to introduce people to faith in the King.
and whatever you bind [forbid] on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit] on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
“Binding” and “loosing” means forbidding and permitting; this is divine commission to do ministry. God already willed, therefore the apostles were to do His explicit will on earth. This has to do with authority to usher people into the kingdom. The apostles had authority to judge certain things; this was not by their determination but by the Word of God.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Jn 20:23
16:20 Then he enjoined on his disciples that they should say to no man that he was the Christ.
Official national Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah, so the apostles were to tell no one that He was “the Christ.” Fixed negative volition had already set in.
God committed to us authority to dispense the gospel.
Witnesses have the right to tell those who make a decision for Christ that their decision is binding. The Greek tense (perfect) indicates that eternal life (binding) is permanent. A brief decision has lasting results.
The Roman Catholic Church asserts that this passage teaches the church is built on Peter, the Pope, who later became the bishop of Rome. The papacy derives its authority from this passage, so that the pope speaks ex cathedra as head of the church. However, the remainder of the New Testament says nothing of this, and this passage does not support the thesis. This passage itself does not support the contention.
In Ephesians Paul says that God builds the church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone (Eph 2:20).
God is in the process of building the church with “living stones” (individual believers; 1 Pe 2:5). Peter, like individual believers, is a small stone who built the church with others.
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Co 3:11