Friday, April 15, 2011

Jesus says, "Go To Hell!"

Jesus says something interesting in Matthew 16. He is talking to Peter when he says...

"On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it."

Now when Jesus says this, he and his disciples are in Caesarea Phillipi which is a region that was known for false gods and such. It wasn't necessarily a place where good ole Jewish boys should be hanging out. Yet, Jesus takes the disciples there anyway, or maybe we should say that his disciples followed him there.

In the picture above is what is known in the region as the gates of hell. Yep, there it is. The actual gates of hell. What Jesus is doing here, in a sermon class, would be called "an illustration."

Now there is said to be a big rock around that area that some scholars say Jesus was probably standing on when he spoke to Peter. Jesus is doing all kinds of little word plays and illustrations here. He is talking to Peter, whose name means rock, and he is standing on a rock and then he says to Peter, "On this rock i will build my church..." Get it.

Then Jesus says that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. There are several ways one could understand what Jesus was saying.

What do gates do? Well, they keep people out.

Is Jesus (not) so subtly commanding that the church should be going into hell?

Shouldn't the church be breaking down the gates of hell in order to bring heaven to places where heaven may not have previously existed, or at least had not been revealed yet? (wink)

But gates also keep people in... Hmmmm, "the gates of hell WILL NOT prevail" I'll let you wrestle with the implications of that one.

Grace and Peace,

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