Jesus made this statement before His disciples in the area of Caesarea Philippi (Matt 16:13-18). After our heavenly Father revealed to Peter that Jesus is indeed the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God, Jesus told him that he was blessed to receive that revelation. Jesus is the Rock and Foundation of His Church, but there is also the idea here that the Church is built upon the divine revelation that Jesus is God and Savior, and a person’s subsequent profession of that, in faith.
Please note that only Jesus can rightly say, “My Church.” He died for it. He is the Chief Shepherd over it. He is the Mediator and Advocate for it. He is the High Priest who hears “confessions”. Thus, the Church does not belong to any man or denomination; the Church belongs to Jesus.
Now, along with this truth, we immediately realize that when Jesus speaks of building this Church, He is not thinking in construction terms, but He’s referring to people. This Church is two-legged, not four-walled. Jesus is “in the business” of building lives.9 Our lives are built up as we listen to the word of His grace. Oh how we must be strong in the grace of God, not carried away chasing strange and fanciful doctrinal “rabbits”, but establishing our hearts with grace. How incredibly simple is this glorious gospel of God’s grace!
The Church, then, is comprised of believers living in vital, loving union with Jesus Christ, who is the Source of all grace, who died for His Church, and who provides the necessary power to the Church. What Jesus builds into us we need to deposit in other people’s lives, “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Jesus is the Architect of His Church, and we, as living stones, need to yield to the work of His Spirit in our lives. By doing so we will then be framed together as a place where God’s Spirit will be evident in our worship, fellowship, and demonstration of our Lord’s power.