Matthew 16:18 – 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.
In our study so far, we have discovered WHAT it was on which Jesus was declaring war. It was “the gates of hell.” Now let’s look further at a more specific WHO. The immediate cast of characters was Pan (Greek god of wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain winds, often affiliated with sex); Zeus (Greek god of sky and thunder, king of the gods of Olympus); Nemesis (Greek goddess who enacts retribution, especially against those who show arrogance before the gods); Caesar Augustus (most powerful political figure of his day); and a stage where the ungodly and vile scenes of prostitution and bestiality could be played out. With that in mind, let’s consider some of the specifics on which Jesus was declaring war.
Against Pan (and that belief system), Jesus was declaring Himself to be the Good Shepherd of Psalm 23. His flocks would not be used and abused as were those of the world, but cared for, loved, fed, watered, and kept safe. Jesus was not the “gate of hell,” but was rather “the door” by which God’s sheep can come to Him. Jesus was not the pathway of darkness, but rather “the way, the truth, and the life.”
Against Zeus (and that belief system), Jesus was declaring Himself to be King of kings and Lord of lords, holding “all power in heaven and in earth,” and passing that full power on to His joint-heirs, calling them to do the works He has done, and even greater works.
Against Nemesis (and that belief system), Jesus was declaring Himself to be the only true and righteous judge, declaring that there should be NO OTHER gods before Him; that He, and He alone (being One with Father) would pass judgment for all eternity on all who will be judged.
Against Caesar Augustus (and his system), Jesus was declaring that upon His shoulders, and His alone does all the weight of the true kingdom, God’s Kingdom, rest, for He is the Head of the body, and no man, elected or self-appointed will rule and reign above Him.
Against the “dancing goats” (and all who held to their debauchery), Jesus was declaring that such was sin, and despite its foul and despicable attraction to human degradation, the glory of His Kingdom would outshine it all, for He will share His glory with no other god.
In short, Jesus was declaring open war on the “gates of hell” and all that issued from them. He stood there in Caesarea Philippi that day, openly, boldly, valiantly, unreservedly, and without hesitation declaring that it was the applied knowledge of His Lordship that would be the foundation for all He said. Tell me, my friend, where are His voices at this hour? I tell you, God’s interest in inserting Himself into government pales in comparison to His desire to RE-INSERT Himself into His Church.
Manna for Today – Matthew 16:13-21; John 6:63; John 15:7; Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:17; Psalm 119:89; Matthew 11:12; Galatians 3:13-29