Mt. 16:13-20; Mk. 8:27-30; Lk. 9:18-22
As they traveled toward Caesarea Philippi, Jesus chose to test the disciples. He began by asking them what people thought about Him. They said that some thought He was John the Baptist. Others thought Elijah, Jeremiah or even one of the other Old Testament prophets had come from the dead. He then asked them directly, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter, who seemed to speak for the others replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered Peter by giving him the authority to lay down the rules or laws of the kingdom as the Holy Spirit guided him. He said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” This promise was fulfilled less than a year later on Pentecost. See Acts 2:1-47.
The church or kingdom was built on the foundation of Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. A person cannot be a true follower of Christ without making this confession. One cannot follow someone in whom he does not believe.