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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope – part 17

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Matthew 16:13–18

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

They cite certain passages against us, namely, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” (Matt 16:18). Also, “I will give you the keys” (Matt 16:19), “Feed My sheep” (John 21:15), and some others. Because this entire controversy has been fully and accurately dealt with elsewhere in our theologians’ books, and since everything cannot be reexamined in this place, we refer to those writings, and wish them to be regarded as restated. Yet we will briefly reply concerning the interpretation.

Pulling It Together: Before considering Melancthon’s brief reply, allow me to repeat my earlier assertion. It is upon the bedrock confession of Peter that Christ builds his Church. God does not build the Church upon a man, but upon Christ Jesus, upon the faith that confesses, “You are the Christ!” This interpretation is clear in the context of the passage, as Jesus says, “upon this rock.” He does not say, upon you. What does “this” refer back to in the passage but the good confession? That is the rock that Christ will build his Church upon—whether it be Peter’s good confession or yours.

Prayer: You are the Christ, Lord Jesus, the Son of the living God. Amen.

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Telling Their Stories: Encounters with Jesus is seven dramatic monologues that focus on the cross. Each is written from the perspective of a biblical character who participated in the Passion of our Lord. The resource is meant to be used as a Lenten monologue series or as character readings for a group study.

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