Today's Reading: Acts 15:12-22
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
In the Name + of Jesus. James, called “the Lord's brother” was the pastor of the church in Jerusalem after Peter departed from there. He was. He was the author fo the Epistle that bears his name, which exhorts believers to remain in the faith. That is the same faith that Peter confessed. Peter's confession of Jesus as the Christ is the rock upon which the Church is built. It is Jesus, the Son of God, who is the foundation of his Church, not any man, no matter how true his confession may be.
The Christian Church is therefore founded on this confession; that we believe it means we stand unmovable on the solid ground, the Rock of our salvation, which works through love.
The Church, then, is nothing more and nothing less, than the assembly of believers—living stones gathered by Christ for the building of His holy temple. Yes, all those baptized into Christ are living stones that will never be crushed by death because we rest on the living Son of God. Not even the gates of hell can stand against Him.
We are baptized. We have put on Christ by the Holy Spirit. We are forgiven. The gates of heaven are open to us. And that we may never doubt this, Christ Jesus offers Himself to us every time His Holy Supper is administered, the Gospel is preached, and the absolution is announced.
Peter's faithful, rock-solid confession is the confession of the Church in every generation. Therefore, the foundation on which the Church is built is the confession the Father gives to all His children: that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, who died and rose from the dead on the third day for our salvation. That was the confession for which James gave his life at the hands of King Herod, giving witness to Christ and His Word by his blood.
My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus' blood and righteousness; No merit of my own I claim But wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand. (LSB 575:1)
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