I will build my church. - Matthew 16:18
Here’s an interesting question: What are Jesus’s thoughts towards the Church? Perhaps in some ways this is an unanswerable question, but we can certainly infer a few things and stay within the bounds of reason. First, Jesus gave Himself up (ie. died) for the Church and second, He loves the Church. It is true that the “Bride of Christ” is not yet spotless and without wrinkle (Eph. 5:27), but there is still something glorious about her. There seems to be a great deal of bad-mouthing and belittling of the Church today in America. Fair criticism has its place, but as Christians we should be careful not to demean the very thing Jesus loves so much. I once had a professor of pastoral theology say to all of us present in the classroom, “To love Jesus is to love what Jesus loves. And He loves the church.” Jesus is committed to the Church and I think sometimes we take this for granted.
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus made a simple yet profound statement when He said, “I will build my church.” This statement, of course, came immediately after the revelation had been given to Peter concerning the Messiahship and Lordship of Jesus. Take a moment to consider three things:
I Will Build My Church. We should notice that no one owns the Church but the risen Lord Himself. Pastors don’t own it. Parishioners don’t own it. Jesus owns it. Instead of saying “My Church,” He could have said “The Church,” and in so doing he specified the nature of the Church as belonging exclusively to Him. Why does this matter? It matters for many reasons, not the least of which is that we can trust that Jesus knows what He’s doing and that He’s committed to His Bride.
I Will Build My Church. The word “build” here can mean “building” in terms of growth of numbers, but it primarily means to “build up” or “edify.” Let us not forget that Jesus not only paid the price for our salvation and redemption, but also for our sanctification and glorification. He is as committed to our spiritual maturation as He has ever been. We must come to see that every season of life is an opportunity to know God at a deeper level and is a means to be conformed more into the image of Jesus.
I Will Build My Church. In a mysterious way Jesus Himself, by the Holy Spirit, is presently at work in the body of Christ. He has not abandoned His Bride, but is persistently at work within her and through her in ways unrecognized. He Himself is providentially building us up. Amen!
Word for the Way:
As a member of the Church, you belong to Jesus and He will guild you up.