Is Peter “the Rock?”

No. Jesus Christ is.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Peter is the rock upon which the church is built.  They get this from Matt 16:18 where Jesus said “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.”  But Matt 16:18 is in a context which begins in Matt 16:13.  And when you read the context, you find that Peter made a confession concerning Jesus Christ to which Jesus was referring when he said, “this rock.”  They also allege that when Jesus addressed Peter in Matt 16:18 he was referring to him as a rock, which they get from the definition of the word Petros.

In Matt. 16:16, Peter made a confession concerning Jesus Christ, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In 1 Cor 3:11, we find that the foundation can’t be Peter, but rather the Lord Jesus Christ, because Paul said, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” So, when Jesus answered Peter, the rock he was referring to is the rock that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.

A lot has been made out of Peter’s name meaning “rock.” However, from the Bible itself, we find that Jesus gave him the name “Cephas” meaning “a stone,” (Jn 1:42).  As a “stone” he has a place equal to all of the other Christians in the body of Christ.  Peter, himself, refers to all Christians as “living stones,” (1 Pet 2:5), showing no distinction between himself and us.  As such, he would not accept worship, like popes do (Acts 10:25-26).

Certainly, Peter had an important role in the early church, in preaching the first sermon under the power of the Holy Spirit at which 3,000 souls were saved.  He was also used by the Lord in Acts 10 to open the gospel to the Gentiles.  But he was just human.  He rebuked the Lord under the influence of Satan (Matt 16:22,23); he denied the Lord three times (Matt 26:69-75); he sunk in the water because of his lack of faith (Matt 14:30); and so forth. He’s not much of a rock upon which to build a church.

The Lord Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is clearly the “Rock.”  Look at 1 Cor 10:4 and you will see that as far back as the Exodus from Egypt, Christ was the Rock (Deut 32:4,15,18).  As a matter of fact, Moses warned you to be on the look out for a counterfeit rock (Deut 32:30-37).  Cleverly, the Roman Catholic Church has put forth Peter as the counterfeit rock and many of its members have not bothered to check out the scriptures to see if their church was telling the truth.  This failure to verify the truth is a common problem among Catholics because they are generally content to believe what they have been taught without confirming the truth.

They teach that Peter was the first pope.  This is taught despite the fact that Peter was married (1 Cor 9:5) and popes are not.  And this is taught despite the fact that popes are elected from among priests who are called “father,” contrary to Matt 23:9.  As a matter of fact, popes are called “holy Father.”  Popes have taken for themselves the name that Jesus called his own Father in Jn 17:11.  That’s blasphemous.

As an additional note, in Matt 16:18, you are told, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  When you realize that the rock is Jesus, you can make sense out of this last statement. The “it” in Matt 16:18 is the “rock” upon which the church is built.  “It” is not the church, as is commonly believed.  “It” is Jesus Christ, against whom the gates of hell did not prevail when his soul was three days and three nights in hell (Acts 2:31).  As you can see, there is just no way that Peter can be the “rock” upon which the church is built.