Speculation was swirling (Matthew 16:13-20). Who was He? John the Baptist? One of the old-time prophets? The disciples were not deaf. They had heard the rumor mill churning. Then came the pointed question: What about you? What do you believe about the Son of Man? It would come to be the most important fact in all eternity. It is the foundational issue for God’s new society, a kingdom unlike any other.
The dust bin of history teaches of the limited lifespan of the most impressive of nations. They had come and gone, risen and fallen, emerged and faded since the beginning of time. Egypt, Assyria and Babylon had all gone from front page news to the obituary column through the ages. This was something different. It would last, not just for a decade or two, but forever. He called it “Church,” and He promised to build it.
This would not be some manmade organization. No, those are unavoidably flimsy and temporary. Each has its vulnerabilities. His would be invincible and unstoppable. No one would be able to destroy it, no matter how they attacked it and halting its progress would prove to be mission impossible. The Lord made it clear long before His discussion with His disciples that He would accomplish what He desires within His kingdom (Isaiah 9:7). The Savior offers an eternal lifetime guarantee.
Human eyes look at the cross as a moment of defeat. Satan and his troops won that battle, or so it seemed. The powerful joined forces to eradicate the so-called king of the Jews. In reality, they served God’s purposes. They were His instruments to deal with sin. Forgiveness flowed from the wounds they inflicted by His design. Simultaneously, the Son of God was buying the church (Acts 20:28). It became His possession through that transaction.
Modern mindsets place minimal value on the church. They treat it as if it were unimportant. They fill up their schedules with work, school, entertainment, hobbies and if there is any time left, they gather with Christians. Sunday worship is seen as optional. We can be sure of this: If we only give God our leftovers, something will eventually eat those crumbs, too.
Christians come together on Sunday to express how much we value the Lord. It is a direct statement to Him of His worth to us. We should always have a conversation with Him when we are not going to worship about why. It will help us maintain our proper focus if we simply pause and say, “Lord, I know that you gave your life for me but I am not going to worship you today because….”
Jesus spoke of the church two thousand years ago. His death followed those words. His resurrection proved the unstoppable nature of the plan of God. The church is that plan. He bought it. He builds it. It cannot fail, ever.