Hey I was going to ask a question regarding the primacy of Peter. Jesus said on this rock I build my church. And he gave Peter the authority to lose and bind. I was just curious didn’t Jesus just a few chapters later give the same authority to the other apostles. As an inquiring Protestant I would be very interested in this!
You are correct that Jesus gave similar authority to all the apostles in Matthew 18. The distinction is that in Matthew 16, Jesus gave Peter the keys to Peter alone. The keys are representative of the office of Royal Steward that Jesus re-established in His kingdom. Here are some thoughts on that:
Peter – The Royal Steward
In ancient times, a king might choose a second in command (known as the royal steward or prime minister) who literally wore a large key as a symbol of his office and who spoke with the authority of the king. The prophet Isaiah confirms this:
"In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”
In the passage above, God is speaking, and He confirms the existence of the office, the key, and the continuation of the office despite the change of office holder. In other words, the office of the royal steward continued even when the man who held the office died or was replaced by someone else. God Himself passes the key from one steward to the next.
In the New Testament, we learn that Jesus inherits the throne of his father, David.
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.
We also read the following:
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
The passage quoted above from Matthew tells us that Jesus named Peter as His royal steward and gave him the “keys to the kingdom of heaven" as the symbol of his authority to speak in His name. Since Jesus is an eternal king, the office of royal steward in His kingdom will never end. Peter died as a martyr as Jesus foretold, but the successors of Peter have taken his place in the eternal office that Jesus established in His royal court.
In addition to the reference to a key or keys, note the following parallels:
"What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” (Is. 22:22)
"Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:19)
Jesus specifically referenced the passage from Isaiah when He appointed Peter. Peter has received authority from Jesus to speak in His name. To do so faithfully, Peter must not teach error; therefore, Peter (and his successors who hold the office) are protected by God through the charism of infallibility.
I also have many quotes from Protestant scholars and Bible commentaries supporting this view, so you can be sure that this is not just a Catholic concept.
If you want a serious apologetic resource on the papacy, I would reccomend John Salza’s; “The Biblical Basis For The Papacy”.
It goes into great BIBLICAL detail about the origins of the office, Apostolic Succession, AND the primiacy of Peter and the Bishop of Rome.
You may also want to refer to the Gospel of John, chapter 21, verses 15-17…
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” (Jesus) said to him, "Feed my sheep.
You will see that Jesus singles out Peter (aka: The Rock) and charges HIM with feeding and tending the lambs and sheep (us).
Note also Luke 22:31-32
31* “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, * that he might sift you like wheat, 32* but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”
Jesus prays for Peter, and delegates to him the task of praying for the others.
Yes. The power of binding and loosing, given to the apostles as a collective, was also given to Peter as an individual. In extraordinary circumstances, Peter could exercise that power unilaterally, without consulting with the other apostles, as in Acts 10. However, ordinarily the apostles exercised that power collectively, as in Acts 15.
Today, the bishop of Rome, as Peter’s successor, can, in extraordinary circumstances, exercise the power of binding and loosing unilaterally, without consulting with the other bishops of the Catholic Church. However, ordinarily the bishops of the Catholic Church, as successors of the Apostles, exercise that power collectively, as in the various Ecumenical Church Councils.
Infallibility is conferred by Christ on St Peter and his successors as Christ’s Supreme Vicars, and is not transferable from the Apostles to any other bishops.
Jesus specifically entrusts Peter with His authority and confers infallibility:
The doctrine of Papal infallibility is found in Scripture (Mt 16:17-19; Jn 21: 15-17; Mt 28:19-20).
All four promises to Peter alone:
“You are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church.” (Mt 16:18)
“The gates of hell will not prevail against it.”(Mt 16:18)
“I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven." ( Mt 16:19)
“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” (Mt 16:19) [Only this later to the Twelve]
Sole authority to Peter:
“Strengthen your brethren.” (Lk 22:32)
“Feed My sheep.”(Jn 21:17).
Firmly and irrevocably given to us by the Sacred Scripture written by His followers in His Church.
Already, Peter had exercised his supreme authority in the upper room before Pentecost to have Judas’ place filled. At the first Apostolic Council of Jerusalem Peter settled the heated discussion over circumcising the gentiles and “the whole assembly fell silent” (Acts 15:7-12). Paul made sure that his ministry to the gentiles was recognised by, Peter (Gal 1:I8).
Tradition shows Pope St Clement exercising his primacy in about 96, on a matter of schism in the Church of Corinth. Of the same generation as Saints Peter and Paul and when St John the Apostle was probably still living in Ephesus, Pope Clement wrote as one commanding to the Church of Corinth in Greece: “If any disobey what He (Christ) says through us, let them know that they will be involved in no small offence and danger, but we shall be innocent of this sin.” (I Clem. ad Cor. 59,1).