The following arguments helped James Akin, former Presbyterian minister now a Senior Apologist of Catholic Answers, to reassess his Christian faith and eventually enter into the Catholic Church.
Protestants vehemently denies the ancient tradition that Simon Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, is the ROCK mentioned by Christ on Matthew 16:18. They still insist that there is a clear play of words denoting change of subject on the pronouncements of Jesus.
Matthew 16:18The transition from masculine "Petros" to feminine "petra" is where their claim revolves around. I once read a protestant article putting it in this way:
And I tell you, you are Peter["Petros"; masculine], and on this rock["petra"; feminine] I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
...you are ACTOR, and on this ACTRESS I will build my Church.Although there has been no consensus as what this could really mean among them[some say it was Peter's Confession or Jesus himself], they simply either avoid or reject the idea that it was PETER HIMSELF whom Jesus was referring to as the ROCK, probably due to ANTI-PAPACY BIAS.
Aside from the fact that the underlying language behind this verse is ARAMAIC [Scholars agree that Jesus spoke ARAMAIC] and therefore any change of subject is impossible since PETROS[Gk] = KEPHA[Ar] and PETRA [Gk] = KEPHA [Ar], the preceding and succeeding verses surrounding Matthew 16:18 also give us the clue that Peter must be the ROCK.
ARGUMENT 1: As a response to Peter's correct Confession of Faith about Jesus, the Son of the Living God, our Lord pronounced BLESSINGS unto him.
Matthew 16:17, 19These are both BLESSINGS given to Simon Peter. This denotes that verse 18 must also be a blessing directed to Peter since it is illogical and inconsistent if we say that in the midst of building up Peter as a truly blessed apostle[vv. 17 & 19], Jesus would downgrade and belittle him on the middle statement [v.18].
...Blessed are you....
....And I will give you the keys....
ARGUMENT 2: SYNTHETIC PARALLELISM--the first statement is amplified or built on the succeeding statement.
This argument fits perfectly well even when there is an acknowledged discrepancies on the meanings of "Petros" and "Petra." On that case, it could only mean that on verse 18 although Peter seems to be the "petros" [small piece stone], Jesus now elevates him to become "petra" [large rock] in preparation for the building of the Church.
ARGUMENT 3: Another thing is that those 3 BLESSINGS show SIMILAR STRUCTURAL FEATURES.
For instance, on verse 17
Matthew 16:17**the blessedness of Peter lies on the twofold facts presented on the succeeding lines.
...Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Therefore it could be read in this form:
PRINCIPAL STATEMENTsimilarly on verse 19, we see
...Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona!
1.) for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,
2.) but my Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 16:19**The authority of Peter, denoted by the Keys, lies on the twofold facts presented on the succeeding lines.
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.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,
SUPPORTING STATEMENTSSurprisingly, this way of reading the WORDS OF JESUS also works perfectly on verse 18
1.) and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven
2.) and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Matthew 16:18In this case:
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
PRINCIPAL STATEMENTClearly, Jesus' threefold pronouncements directed to St. Peter are always accompanied by two explanatory lines.
...you are Peter,
1.) and on this rock I will build my church
2.) and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
Therefore on MT. 16:18, Jesus indicates that PETER must be the rock since the twofold facts regarding the building of the Church points to PETER and no one else.
|The exegetical structure of Matthew 16:17-19 available at <http://www.cin.org/users/james/files/Why_Be_Catholic.htm>|