Yes, Jesus is the Rock. And, “The Rock – His way is perfect” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
I’ve been hinting at it in the two previous articles but there it is in all its complex simplicity. This powerful name – The Rock – links the God of the Old Testament with the Messiah Jesus of the New Testament.
He is the rock of the Old Testament in Psalm 95:1-11. “Come, let us shout joyfully to the Lord, shout triumphantly to the rock of our salvation! Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout triumphantly to Him in song. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. … Today, if you hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the wilderness where your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they had seen what I did.” (Psalm 95:1-3, 7-9; Meribah and Massah were the names of the location where God first brought water from the rock in Exodus 17:7.)
He is the rock of the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11. “Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1-5).
He is the Rock of our salvation.
He is the Rock of provision and protection.
The Rock of Salvation
Despite all God did – He gave us life and created a perfect planet on which we might live – we rejected Him. We ignored Him and followed after what we thought was best. Yet because He chose us and cut covenant with us, He provided a way of salvation so we might still spend eternity with Him. Salvation came through the sacrificial death of Jesus.
The Rock of Provision
Jesus is the Rock that provides living water. Jesus even said, “Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again – ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life” (John 4:14).
In Exodus 17, Moses struck the Rock causing water to flow. We, in a sinful state as defined by the Law of Moses, struck Jesus; blood and water flowed from His pierced side. He gave His death that we might live.
In Numbers 20, Moses struck the Rock when God commanded him to only speak to the Rock. How many times do we allow sin to manifest in our lives as we strike Jesus again – repeatedly – with our selfish sin? Jesus died once and for all; we must only speak to Him and living water will flow once again. We come before Him with a humble heart as we present our need. The blessings will flow once again like a river of living water.
The Rock of Protection
Moses couldn’t behold the glorious face of God despite his desire to do so. God hid Moses in the Rock to protect him as God passed by behind him. Likewise, we can’t stand before the glorious presence of God. Yet the righteousness of Christ covers us.
Jesus – The Rock
I stood before a massive cliff at Banias in northern Israel. Ancient ruins remained where people had once carved a temple of idol worship into the side of the massive cliff. The smoke of sacrifices still blackened a cave all these centuries later. At one time, water gushed from the cave although today it only trickles out beneath the bedrock. This was one of many locations where Israelites and Greeks alike had worshiped their little rocks, forsaking the Rock whose way is perfect.
Jesus and His disciples also stood at this location 2,000 years ago. At that time, water probably still gushed out from the cave in the rocky cliff. Jesus asked Peter at that time, “‘who do you say that I am?’
“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!’
“And Jesus responded, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:16-18).
I believe Jesus stood there with Peter and took in all the activities of idol worship under the crags of the rocky cliff. He started with general questions but quickly made it personal. He point blank asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” In other words, am I one of these little rocks?
Peter, under the guidance of the Spirit of God, recognized Jesus wasn’t a little rock; He was the Rock. He was the promised Messiah, the Son of God.
What better place for Jesus, after Peter’s confession of belief, to point to him and say, “You are Peter (petros, a rock or a stone).” To then point to Himself and continue, “and upon this rock (petra, a rock, cliff, or ledge) I will build my church.” Finally, to sweep His arm toward the temple and finish by saying, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18 NIV).
Jesus was declaring, I am the Rock and My way is perfect. I am your salvation. I am your protection. I am your provision. The forces of Hades will not overpower Me. The gates of hell will not prevail against Me.