When Jesus talks about building his church on a rock, we understand that he isn't talking about an actual rock or stone. The "rock" represents something else. So the question is, what does the rock represent?
Originally Posted by jesse
I agree that many times in Scripture, Jesus is represented as a rock. For instance, Paul refers to Christ as a rock in 1Cor. 10:4,
and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.When I read the Bible, however, I don't automatically assume that all mention of a rock refers to Jesus Christ himself. I want to allow the person speaking, Jesus in this case, to use his words to say what he wants to say. Jesus might be making another point with the symbol of a rock. If he is, I want to be ready to follow his line of thinking as he teaches me and not jump to any conclusions. Jesus is certainly my rock and yours. No doubt about that.
In fact, elsewhere, the New Testaments refers to Jesus as a rock on which he is building his church. Here is an example.
In Psalms 118 we read
22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
23 This is the Lord's doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
The New Testament author's pick up on the idea that our Lord Jesus is the corner stone the builders rejected.
Peter says in Acts 4
11 "He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders,
but which became the chief corner stone.
12 "And there is salvation in no one else;
for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men
by which we must be saved."
The corner stone was a foundation stone, placed on the ground first. Everything else was measured from that stone. The Psalmist points out that the builders will reject the corner stone. And Peter points out that his own people, specifically the leaders of Judea, rejected Jesus Christ who was the chief corner stone. Thus, we have a precedent in scripture for the idea that our Lord is our rock and not just any rock but the corner stone of our faith and his body the church.
Nonetheless, as we read other passages of scripture that use a rock or a stone symbolically, are we to assume it always refers to Jesus? I don't think so. I think Jesus likes to use everyday objects like stones and bread to teach us things about himself and his kingdom, and we should wait for him to make his point and evaluate his stories and examples on a case-by-case basis. I think we will learn more if we wait and let Jesus teach.
If you accept the way I approach the scriptures, then I would love to give you my explanation of the passage.