Why did Jesus use the metaphor "Rock"? Is it a metaphor?

In Matthew 16, Jesus, without doubt, created the perpetual office of the chief steward of the household of God. In our modern terms, the papacy. …Simon, thou art ‘the pope’ and on the ‘papacy’ I will build my church. They are different words, pope and papacy, just like in the rock metaphor. A biblical Greek word may have been, Leitourgos(public servant) and leitourgia(office of the public servant).

The word ‘papacy’, like petra and leitourgia, meaning the office would have had a feminine grammatical gender. It’s not sexist, its descriptive of the noun. “Petra” is the perpetual office of the papacy and not the pope himself.

I think that everyone would agree that the office would be a large immovable object if it was intended to last beyond Simon, and Petros,(Pope) the smaller stone, would be of lessor significance than the office of the chief servant, which is larger than any one person.

But, why the use of the Metaphor of the Rock? I have ideas from the Old Testament, but I’d like to know if there has been scholarship on it.

Obviously, Jesus spoke on the subject a few months earlier in His ministry. In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus said that a “wise man” (and He was) would build his house on a rock. The winds and the storms would blast the house, but the house would survive. (My paraphrase)

Then, in Matthew 16, Jesus said Simon, you are are Rock, and on this “Rock” He would build His “house” …and the"winds" of hell would batter against it but not prevail.

So, the office of the Chief Servant in the household of God may get battered by the “winds” and the “storms” but would not prevail. Jesus is in the boat. He would never leave the Church, the Household of the Living God.

I think there are fascinating reasons for using the metaphor “Rock” in the Old Testament also.
Am I on the wrong path? Is there scholarship on the use of “Rock”?

Thanks, and Best to you, Patrick

Just think, did St. Paul say, " Mr. Rock, Sir" :wink:

:slight_smile: Patrick, At present I can’t find my copy of the book, but Fr. Stanley Jaki’s And on This Rock, would be a very helpful read for you. He particularly points out the geographical significance of the area where St. Peter made his confession.


Because they were standing next to a mountainous rock that had a temple on the top, and He used that in explaining to Simon that he would be the rock that Jesus would build His Temple on.

The rock is literal.

The keys to the Jerusalem temple were kept under a rock upon which the High Priest slept. From the Jewish Encyclopedia at jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14303-temple-administration-and-service-of

The elder priests kept the keys of the Temple, putting them at night under a marble slab in the floor; to this slab a ring was attached for lifting it. A priest watched over or slept on the slab until the keys were demanded by the officer in the morning.

The bedrock under the Jerusalem temple was exposed in the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant rested upon this rock in the first temple. In the second Temple there was no Ark but just the rock. The rock in the Holy of Holies was considered the highest point on earth, the center of all creation, and a capstone which sealed off the entrance to Sheol or the dark abode of the dead.

These are the images from which Jesus is drawing. These things would have been familiar to the Jews to whom Jesus spoke. They would have immediately understood the phrase “Upon this rock” as a reference to the foundation stone of the Temple where God dwelt with man.


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