Wednesday, January 25, 2017
P2 Exploring Jesus as "The Rock" in the New Testament
Matthew 7:24-25 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. (25) And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock."
In our last post we began exploring the Divine title for God: "Rock", as revealed throughout the Old Testament, here: http://www.growingchristianresources.com/2017/01/p1-exploring-god-as-rock-in-old.html. In today's post we will turn our attention to the New Testament to see how everything we gleaned about God as "The Rock" in the Old Testament can gain insights into Jesus as the "Rock". One of the lessons we saw yesterday that bridges us into today's study concerns how Isaiah and the Old Testament writers used this title "Rock" in connection with God's provision of water in the wilderness for His people.
Intriguingly, Isaiah 48:21 rehearses that familiar scene of God providing water from the rock, just as we saw already in Psalm 78:16,20,35; 105:41; Numbers 9:15; Numbers 20:8 and Exodus 17:6. Whenever we see the same event repeated throughout the Bible and additional theological meaning assigned to it, we can be sure that we are beholding what scholars call "a scripture echo". Such echoes can bridge what we learn about Yahweh in the Old Testament to see how Jesus Christ is God in human flesh in the New Testament.
With those thoughts in mind, let's turn to see how Jesus is "The Rock" in the New Testament.
1. Jesus tells a familiar short parable of the wise man building his house on the rock in Luke 6:48 and as we see it reckoned here in Matthew 7:24-25 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. (25) And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock." Let the reader take note of how Jesus identifies Himself as "The Rock". No guesswork is needed to understand how we connect Jesus Christ to this Divine title of "Rock", since Jesus Himself is the first one to do so! Peter's famous confession of Jesus as the Christ in Matthew 16:18 has Jesus exclaiming how "upon this rock I will build my church". Much ink has been spilled concerning what exactly Jesus meant when He said "upon this rock": a). was it Peter's faith? b). was Peter the rock? c). Was Jesus referring to Himself? it is the latter of these that gives the clearest since of Jesus' intended meaning. Jesus Christ is the "Rock", the foundation stone upon which the church is built and our faith stands (see Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:7-9).
2. We will travel past the Gospels and Acts to enter into Paul's letters before we run across references to this Divine title "Rock" as it connects to the identity of Jesus Christ. Romans 9:33 for example states: "just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” Paul undoubtedly was taken by this connection in what we read in another of his letters in 1 Corinthians 10:4 "and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ." We have already seen how various Old Testament passages (see near the beginning of this post) contribute the "dots" needed to draw the appropriate lines to fill in the Divine identity of Jesus in the New Testament. Only the inspiration of the Holy Spirit could connect such dots in the minds of authors such as Paul.
Not only does the Apostle Paul draw such lines of connection between Jesus and this title "The Rock", but we also see the other great Apostle - Peter doing so in 1 Peter 2:7-8 "This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,” 8 and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed." Jesus Christ as our "Rock" is a precious stone to the one who has trusted in Him by God's saving grace. Peter's words are the final words we find with respect to Jesus being the Divine Rock.
In today's post and yesterday's post we endeavored to explore every passage in both the Old and New Testaments that deal with God and Christ as "The Rock". My hope is this short study has opened up the richness that this Divine title conveys. More specifically, to see Jesus Christ as "The Rock" adds insight into Who He is and all He has accomplished, is doing and will achieve. What Jesus means to the Christian as "Rock" ought to evoke the same reactions we find David and other Old Testament figures in their worship of God as "Rock". As we close, I leave the reader with the words of the great commentator Joseph Benson in what he writes on Jesus as the Rock:
"A manifest type of him, the Rock of ages, who, being smitten in his death and sufferings, poured forth streams of redemption, grace, and heavenly blessings, which follow his people through all this wilderness, and will end in rivers of pleasure at the right hand of God for ever."