Matthew 16:13-20 A True Confession Is Revealed.
From apostate heretics who refused to confess Jesus as the Christ, son of the living God, Matthew moves us on to the confession of one who knew the Lord, because he was first known by him. The Pharisees and Sadducees in rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, the Anointed One, showed that they worshipped an idol of their own imaginations. Then as now, Jesus continues to ask people who they think he is, and some are willing to say that he is or was a prophet. He certainly was a prophet, but more than a prophet. Peter knew that he was both God and man in the person of the Anointed One, but Jesus made clear to him, and continues to make clear, that this knowledge only comes by revelation from the Father – it is not a confession one can make in one’s own strength or insight.
True Christianity is revealed, not man-made. It was on this understanding of who he was and how this came to be known, that he would build his church. Though this building enterprise does not come by flesh and blood, it is through a redeemed humanity empowered by the ascended Son. The apostles, with this apostolic confession, held the keys to how this people of God would be built into the true house of God. Part of the tools at their disposal would be the binding of those apostate heretics Jesus just disputed with, and all those like them. The church stands or falls based on the true confession of people to whom the Lord has revealed his truth. However, the time for the fullness of this revelation would come later – when he would ascend to his throne to begin his reign.