My kids like to make things. Sara loves to find different crafts to make. She got a loom for Christmas and has made some really nice hats. Eli recently built a very nice toy bear out of wood.
Making something by bringing material together that does not look like much on its own to create beauty or something useful is pretty cool.
Matthew in his gospel writes in Chapter 16:
13 Now when Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Human One is?”14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”15 He said, “And what about you? Who do you say that I am?”16 Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 Then Jesus replied, “Happy are you, Simon son of Jonah, because no human has shown this to you. Rather my Father who is in heaven has shown you. 18 I tell you that you are Peter. And I’ll build my church on this rock. The gates of the underworld won’t be able to stand against it.
There is some discussion as to exactly what “this rock” means. Is it Peter? Is it a reference to Jesus? I like where Andy Stanley goes with this concept . He says that “this rock” refers more directly to the statement that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The church then is a coming together of all those who affirm the identity of Jesus.
But who is building it?
This is where it seems to get so complicated. This is where it seems we, as Christians, make it more about ourselves than we care to admit. It does not say the pastor or the people in the church have the responsibility of building the church.
Jesus says “…I’ll build my church…” Jesus is building His church.
So who gets the say? Who gives the direction? Jesus. It is His church.
I did not even mention here that when Jesus first used this term, there were no buildings with steeples such as we have now and that we often define as church. Yes, there were buildings where they met, but the church was the movement of people behind the proclamation that Jesus is Lord.
Later Jesus tells us what we are primarily to be about:
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
And guess how many Jesus wants to see come to follow Him, to be a disciple?
9 The Lord isn’t slow to keep his promise, as some think of slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives. (2 Peter 3:9)
I wrestle with this a lot. I declare Jesus is Lord, and I seek to follow Him. I believe Jesus is building His church. Jesus is at work. Jesus wants the church to grow and make disciples so that no one will perish. So when we do not see a growing church and disciples being made, it leaves me with one very hard question: How am I in the way?
You may consider it as well. How are you in the way?
Sounds like a question to come back to next week….
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)