Why Peter is the Rock in Matt 16:18

I began reading John 1. And I saw a parallel between John 1 and Matt 16.

Matthew 16:15-19 and John 1:40-42 have a strong connection I never saw. Matthew 16:15-19 reads:

“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”” Matthew 16:15-19

Here it is clear that Jesus is asking for someone to define who he is. After the apostles all say who others think he is, Jesus asks them to define who he is. Peter replies “You are the Christ the Son of the living God”. By Peter’s definition, Jesus is Christ the Son of the Living God. After Peter defines Jesus, Jesus in response defines Peter. This is why he says “And I tell you”. So Jesus says: “You are Peter, and on this rock”. Jesus is defining Peter as rock. Let’s compare both:

Peter: “You are Christ the Son of the Living God”
Jesus: “You are Peter, and upon this rock”

The King James version reads:

Peter: “Thou art the Christ”
Jesus: “thou art Peter”

Now let’s compare this with John 1:40-42. It reads as follows:

"Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter)".

These verses of the King James translation are interesting because John the apostle (who wrote this gospel) is telling us, what the words “Messiah” and “Cephas” mean in parenthesis. We read that Messiah, means or is interpreted as “The Christ”. In the same way, Cephas means or is interpreted as “Peter”. English standard bible version reads John 1:40-42 as follows:

“One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).”

Jesus called Peter “Petros” in John 1:40-42.

When Peter called Jesus “Christ” (Matt 16:15), we all know that means “Messiah” (I think its a translation from the Hebrew). Correspondingly we know that when Christ called Simon “Peter”, we know that means “Rock”. The relations of these verses are very clear.

In fact Matthew 16:16 for protestant translations, this verse is so well understood in the case of Christ, that half of the translations in English read “You are Christ the Son of the living God” while the other half read this verse as “You are the Messiah the Son of the living God”, because as John tells us, Messiah means Christ. In the same way for Peter, what Christ actually said is “You are rock, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”.

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says to Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah!” and in John 1:42 he says to him “You are Simon the son of John". After both of these instances, Jesus solemnly calls Peter, Rock. And we know that the definition so to speak of Bar-Jonah is son of Jonah, (Matt. 16:17; John 1:42, John21-17), because his father’s name was Jonah (some would say Jonas or John, depending on the transliteration).

Now I am no linguistic here. But It seems to be there is a very strong link between John 1 and Matt 16. As if to understand Matt 16 clearly, you would have to first read John 1. What do you think? Need your opinion please. Thank you.

You are correct. I point this out in every debate/conversation I have with a protestant on this issue. There are no good responses since the truth cannot be refuted, and the Catholic position is the truth.

JN 1:41- “He findeth first his brother Simon, and saith to him: We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. (42) And he brought him to Jesus. And Jesus looking upon him, said: Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter.”

In John 1 we can see that the John uses “Cephas”. “Cephas” is not a Greek word, it is a Greek rendering of the Aramaic word: “kepha” (Rock). The fact that John found it important to use the original word (Aramaic), and translated it, shows that it was the word spoken by Christ. This shows that even if Matthew wrote his Gospel first in Greek, and even if Jesus spoke to Peter here in Greek (and that is highly doubtful), it is still very clear that the name which Jesus gave to Simon was not the Greek “Petros”, but the Aramaic “Kepha”. Scripture is clear on this point. Peter means “Rock” and John 1 confirms that.

Protestants also say that “Petros” means small stone. I have heard this argument numerous times from Protestant apologists. However apart from references to Peter, the word “Petros” never appears anywhere in the Bible. The New Testament refers to “a stone” in dozens of passages and many different contexts. Yet these passages never use the Greek “Petros”. Instead, they use “lithos”, which is the common Greek word for a stone. If Jesus wanted to identify Simon as a stone, why didn’t He use a word commonly understood to mean a stone? In Greek, He could have used the unambiguous “lithos”. In the Gospels, this is the very word our Lord uses on numerous occasions to mean “a stone”. John 1 is just another nail in the coffin that is the false man made interpretation of Scripture.

Thank you for your post. I find the information helpful.

Good thread for apologetics or scripture forum


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