13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. – Matthew 16:13-18
The Roman Catholic Church tries to use this passage to suggest that Jesus gave Peter the authority to be the head of His Church here on earth; hence the Pope (though the term ‘Pope’ is never used, not even once in the entire Bible). They suggest that Peter was the first Pope based on this passage.
This is a grave mistake and blasphemy. The Bible clearly states that Jesus is the head of the church, not Peter:
Colossians 1:18 – And he (Jesus) IS THE HEAD of the body, THE CHURCH: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Ephesians 5:23 – For the husband is the head of the wife, even as CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH: and he is the saviour of the body.
Ephesians 1:22 – And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him (Jesus) TO BE THE HEAD over all things to THE CHURCH, 23 Which is HIS BODY, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Jesus is always with us and does not need someone to represent Him as the Head of His Church:
Matthew 28:20 – Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
1John 4:17 – Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment: because AS HE IS, so are we IN THIS WORLD.
So what did Jesus mean in Matthew 16:18?
What Jesus meant in Matthew 16:18 is that His Church (will be) is built upon a Rock (i.e. Himself – Matthew 21:42; 1 Corinthians 10:4) which happened to be the meaning of Peter – Peter derives from the Greek, Πέτρος (Petros); meaning rock. Not that He made Peter (the Apostle) as the head of His Church.
Notice, Jesus didn’t say, “…upon YOU (Peter) I will build my church…” rather He said, “upon THIS ROCK I will build my church”. Which rock? Himself! Only God is called the Rock, “For who is God save the LORD? Or who is a rock save our God?” – Psalm 18:31 (Psalms 18:2, 46; 28:1; 31:3…).
Calling Peter, the Rock (the head of the Church of God) is blasphemous because it elevates him higher than he ought to be [divine].
Jesus is the Rock:
Luke 6:47 – WHOSOEVER COMETH TO ME (Jesus), and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on A ROCK: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for IT WAS FOUNDED UPON A ROCK.
1Corinthians 10:4 – And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that SPIRITUAL ROCK that followed them: and THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST.
Peter is not THE Rock, God is. Only the meaning of Peter is rock, nothing more. That’s where the confusion is! Peter never referred himself as the Pope either. It’s all a made up term by the Roman Catholic Church. Truth is Jesus didn’t say those words to Peter alone but to the Church; otherwise those words are irrelevant today since Peter is no longer here. And there’s nowhere in the Bible to suggest that we should elect a successor of Peter after his death to be head in his stead.
If the Roman Catholic truly follows the example of Peter, then why isn’t the Pope allowed to marry? Peter was married (Mark 1:30). Concerning this type of doctrine, Paul said:
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times SOME SHALL DEPART FROM THE FAITH, GIVING HEED TO seducing spirits, and DOCTRINES OF DEVILS; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 FORBIDDING TO MARRY, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. – 1Timothy 4:1-3
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall …5 HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF: from such turn away – 2Timothy 3:1, 5
Yes, in 1 Corinthians 7:34-35, Paul suggested that it is better not to marry in order to be fully focused on the things of God; but it’s just that, suggestion! Not a must like in the Roman Catholic Church. In the next verse (36), he continued saying, “BUT if ANY MAN think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, HE SINNETH NOT: LET THEM MARRY.”
Peter also said that every Christian is a priest and that he is not the Head (corner stone) of the Church, but Jesus is:
1 Peter 2:5 – YE (Christians) also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an HOLY PRIESTHOOD, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion A CHIEF CORNER STONE, ELECT, precious: and he that believeth on HIM (Jesus) shall not be confounded. 7 Unto YOU therefore WHICH BELIEVE he (Jesus) is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, THE STONE (Jesus) which the builders disallowed, the same is made THE HEAD OF THE CORNER, 8 And a STONE OF STUMBLING, and A ROCK OF OFFENCE (Matthew 21:42), even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But YE (Christians) are a chosen generation, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises OF HIM WHO HATH CALLED YOU out of darkness into his marvellous light
That’s the same rock Jesus was talking about in Matthew 16:19 (Himself). Peter himself admitted it.
According to Peter, as we see, all Christians are priests; then why only selected few are called “priests” in the Roman Catholic Church? Why are they suggesting that Peter is the head of the Church, when Peter himself denies it?
P.S: Proof that Matthew 16:19 (And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven) isn’t an authority given to Peter alone is that, Jesus said the very same thing to all who believe in Matthew 18:18, “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”. Furthermore, even in Matthew 16:19, He wasn’t talking to Peter alone; verse 20 says, “Then charged he HIS DISCIPLES…” meaning He was talking to the disciples. He only mentioned Peter’s name because he (Peter) answered his question correctly.
I pray the same prayer Paul prayed to the Church, to them, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:17-18). Amen.