Today’s passage is one of my favorites, from one of my favorite places in all the Holy Land. It’s Matthew 16: 15-18:
15 He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ 16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ 17 And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
The picture you see on your right is a picture I took this time last year at Caesarea Philippi and the Banias springs. This was a huge cave that went back really, really far. This cave also had to it a strong smell of sulfur. Because of this, many Jews, as well as the Romans, believe that this was the literal gates of hell. The Romans built a temple to their god Pan, who was the guardian fo the underworld.
So, for everyone in Jesus day, this site was associated with the gateway to hell. And it is at the spot where Peter confesses Jesus as Lord.
And Jesus says, you are right. And this confession, this act of faith, it is the foundation of His church. And the gates of hell will not triumph against His church.
He said this while standing in front of this place that was so closely associated with being the gates of hell. So, in other words, He is literally saying, “see this thing behind me? It will not triumph against the church that is being formed.”
So, don’t worry. The gates of hell will not triumph against Christ and His church. Don’t be afraid of the world. Don’t be afraid of opposition to the church. Don’t be afraid of any of these things. We have this promise from Jesus. The gates of hell will not triumph against His church.
Be faithful. Work. Pray. Serve. Love. God has this. He really does. We don’t need to be afraid or worried or scared or any of these things. God has already told us the outcome. We know who wins. The Body of Christ will be victorious.
Don’t worry about the culture. Don’t be upset. Don’t be afraid. Stand on faith. Cling to Jesus. God has this. All is well.
Our job is to be faithful and leave it in God’s hands. We know the outcome.
We can have peace.
Do not be afraid.