Build Your Kingdom Here
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And 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. And 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."
Caesarea Philippi, which stood in a lush area near the foot of Mount Hermon, was a city dominated by immoral activities and pagan worship.
The city stood only twenty-five miles from the religious communities of Galilee. But the city's religious practices were vastly different from those of the nearby Jewish towns. It became the religious center for worship of the Greek god, Pan. The Greeks named the city Panias in his honor.
In Old Testament times, the northeastern area of Israel became a center for Baal worship. In the nearby city of Dan, Israelite king Jeroboam built the high place that angered God and eventually led the Israelites to worship false gods. Eventually, worship of the Baals was replaced with the worship of Greek fertility gods.
Years later, when Romans conquered the territory, Herod Philip rebuilt the city and named it after himself. But Caesarea Philippi continued to focus on the worship of Greek gods. In the cliff that stood above the city, local people built shrines and temples to Pan.
This place is the setting Jesus chooses to lay out His plan for what would be the "The Church" He chooses a place overrun with sin and debauchery. The pagans at Pan believed that a cave here at Caesarea Philippi was the actual gate to hell. He says in verses 18 and 19, "And 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. And 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."
In a very modern way, our world looks a lot like Caesarea Philippi. As Christians, we have this rock, this firm foundation, This Jesus! The Gates of Hell Won't stand against His Church, He says so Himself.
So let's be the church! Sin is the world's issue, and Jesus is the answer. He is the solution. As believers, We've been given a cheat sheet with the answers! Let us be as Christians part of the solution, set apart to Christ , not of this world! Sharing this life-changing Gospel in all grace, and truth, and love until Jesus returns. It's a good time to be the church!