Many of us do not realize that Christianity is not a club you join but a relationship you grow in. The entire thing is about growth but like any relationship, there are certain foundation stuff that have to be in place. If you start a relationship based on lies and half-truths it is a relationship doomed to fail. Any relationship you hope will last a lifetime must be based on love, openness, honesty and trust. You have to believe the person is who they say they are and will do the things they say they will do. These are the same principles we have in our relationship with Jesus.
A decision to follow Jesus must be based on truth. We have to believe he is who he says he is and that he will do what he has promised to do and we have to act on this belief. If we simply have wishful hope with no certainty then we will not hold tight during the storms. If we are not certain the ground we stand on is safe we will always look for what appears to be safer ground. But look at what Jesus said to Peter.
Peter just stated that he believed Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus response was intended to encourage this belief and to encourage it to grow into faith:
The reason I say "grow into faith" is because faith is acting upon what we believe. If we honestly believe everything that Jesus said, faith is when we act on what he said. Now here Jesus is stating where we need to start in his relationship with him and how it should develop. The Catholic Church interprets this to mean Peter is the rock on which Christ has built the Church but the Church is built on Christ not Peter. So how do we understand this? The rock on which Jesus refers is the rock of this confession. The Church is built on the foundation of our belief that Jesus is who he says he is, that he is the Christ, the Son of God. If we do not start on this foundation we have no hope to grow in faith.
Now consider what he says here because we have misunderstood most of this. Have you ever seen the gates of a city attacking anyone? Of course not, they are not offensive but defensive. So what he is saying here is that as we are on the offensive, going into the enemy's camp to take back what belongs to the Lord, the gates of hell cannot stand against us. That is the power we have as the people of Jesus, when our relationship is based on the truth of who Jesus is. Wishful thinking will not get us there but only the bold statement of belief such as Peter made.
This relationship has also given us tremendous responsibility as the powerful people of Yahweh. It means that we are a people who operate in the Spirit, binding and loosing. The Church is not a weak institution but a powerful instrument for Father's will. We are involved in something huge and there is no place for weak, idle, selfish thoughts. There is no place for doubts and fears. This is not a relationship of uncertainties. This is a relationship of boldness, assurance, certainty, belief, trust, and faith.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
It is time we rethink our relationship with Jesus and walk in the belief we claim to profess. It is time to be a people of action, of faith, of boldness. It is time to get out of the mud and serve Jesus as he intended us to serve him, based on the proper foundations of relationship.