Upon This Rock

Peter” by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Nephi pledged to praise the Lord forever, calling Him, “My God, and the rock of my salvation” (2 Nephi 4:30).

His brother Jacob used the same imagery as he taught their people: “Come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation” (2 Nephi 9:45).

And Helaman later encouraged his sons to build their foundation “upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God” (Helaman 5:12). He promised that if they would trust in the Savior, they would not fall.

All three of these prophets likely borrowed this metaphor from the book of Psalms, where it appears many times. For example, in Psalm 89, we read: “Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation” (Psalm 89:26).

Like Helaman, the apostle Paul identified Jesus Christ as our spiritual Rock. (See 1 Corinthians 10:4.)

But when Jesus assigned one of the apostles—Simon Bar-jona—to lead of the church, He transferred that title to him by assigning him a new name: Cephas (כֵּיפָא) in Aramaic or Petros (Πέτρος) in Greek:

I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [Petros], and upon this rock [petra] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:18

In John’s account, Jesus begins referring to Simon as “the Rock” immediately upon meeting him:

When Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

John 1:42

One purpose of this name might have been to encourage Simon to be steady, to be a firm support for church members whom he was called to serve. But the name also served to reinforce the Savior’s delegation of authority. “He that receiveth you receiveth me,” He said, “and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (Matthew 10:40). And on the American continent, He would later say, “Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants” (3 Nephi 12:1).

The apostle Paul emphasized this principle when he taught that church members are to build “upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).

Today, I will be grateful for apostles who function as representatives of Jesus Christ on the earth, and I will strive to build on the foundation they have laid, under the direction of my Redeemer, the Rock of my salvation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: