Matthew 16:18 states, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
When Jesus knows that the disciples understand enough, he asks them the question, “Who do you say I am?” In this particular scripture, Jesus praises Peter for declaring that He is the Messiah. Based upon Peter’s confessed revelation of Jesus’ identity, Jesus promises to build His Church.
In doing so, Jesus also promises not to allow the “Gates of Hades” to overcome His Church. In the ancient world, “Gates of Hades” referred to the realm of the dead. In other words, Jesus will not allow death to defeat His Church.
During their Sunday morning worship service, a small Southern Baptist church in Texas suffered the loss of at least 26 worshipers, ranging in ages from 5 to 72. It has been reported that another 20 worshipers were injured. Since 1963, this has been the 14th mass murder in God’s House of Prayer.
Recently, of course, was the attack on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, which set the record at the time for the deadliest church shooting in American history.
Without a doubt, the Church is under attack. Yet, we are not to have a spirit of fear. Instead, we are to remember that Jesus holds the keys to death and Hades in the palm of His hands.
Lord, protect your House of Prayer from the evil one.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.