Over the last year, the Lord has really been shining His revelatory light over Matt 16:13-19. Here, we read of Peter’s great confession that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah, Anointed One).
The scriptures tell us that Jesus makes his way furthest north in the region of Caesarea Philippi, and then, he takes a two-day walk with His disciples to the Gates of Hades (Hell).
Jesus uses the backdrop of the Gates of Hell to give the greatest New Testament revelation to all of mankind.
Matt 16:13-18: “13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
The Region of Caesarea Philippi
The region of Caesarea Philippi is the seedbed for the occult and idol worship. No devout Jew dare enter the region due to the spiritual darkness that permeates it.
The Gates of Hell itself sits as a cave at the bottom of Mt. Hermon. Shrines to the goat-man Pan and other gods, such as Caesar and Nemesis, are visible, along with temple prostitution, pagan worship, and ritualistic sacrifices.
Compare this region to San Francisco, Las Vegas, and New Orléans all rolled into one.
The Revelation of Jesus as the Christ
It’s actually at this very place and before these very gates that Jesus releases both the revelation that He is the Christ AND our assignment to build his Ekklesia (church).
It’s almost shocking to realize that in the darkest spiritual place on Earth, Jesus chooses to give His greatest revelation to mankind. Why not release the revelation in the temple at Jerusalem? Why here? Because the revelation of Jesus as the Christ at the Gates of Hell carries our Kingdom assignment, namely, to engage the powers of darkness and bring the saving knowledge of Jesus to all mankind.
Jesus never commissioned us to sit within the walls of our churches, but rather to engage the culture.
- The church (Ekklesia) is created to take the revelation of Jesus Christ into darkest places on earth.
- What we have recently seen in newspapers, the web, radio and TV should stir our hearts to prayer and sharing the gospel with others.
- We must realize we cannot permanently change the heart of the nation until God has changed the hearts of its people. Prayer and introducing people to Christ is central in changing neighborhoods and cities.
We can demonstrate, debate, demand new policies, protest, and do many other noble things, but it’s not until the power of God has touched the hearts of men and women, the blood of Jesus has saved their souls, and the power of sin broken that we will see the nation turn to God.
The revelation of Jesus as the Christ, the one who conquered death and hell, authorizes us to bring people from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His glorious light.