Christ, the all-conquering king

Christ, the all-conquering king
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Austin Walker
Austin Walker Austin is the retired pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley. He is currently a member of Castlefields Church, Derby and an occasional preacher.
29 August, 2023 8 min read

The church of Christ is always under pressure. Her very existence is called into question. Today, some think they have successfully shunted the church into the sidings, leaving her to rust away.

Many of her opponents regard her as a barrier to progress. She is often dismissed because she represents an increasingly irrelevant minority.

How different from the perspectives Christ outlined in Matthew 16:18 – ‘And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.’

This article focuses on the affirmation of Christ regarding his church. Here he speaks to Peter and his other disciples about the cosmic conflict between himself and the powers of darkness.


Christ’s affirmation at Caesarea Philippi was made at a crucial time in his earthly life and left a permanent impression on his disciples.

It is preceded by a question as to his identity. He declared he was the Son of Man. How did men see him? He was drawing out a confession from the disciples. He asks all of them (the ‘you’ in verse 14 is plural) about his identity, but Peter speaks for them all: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’

They confess his messiahship and his full divinity. They had observed his life, witnessed his miracles, heard his teachings and his claims. They reached a clear conviction as to his identity. However, what follows Christ’s affirmation startles them. In verses 21–23 he speaks of his imminent sufferings, death, and resurrection in Jerusalem.

Peter protests, but this is met by a stern rebuke from Christ: ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ That rebuke indicates an already-existing conflict between Christ and the powers of darkness. The disciples need to understand how Christ will build his church. They may still be thinking in terms of a triumphant earthly kingdom and drawing wrong conclusions from his messiahship and his divinity.

Looking back, we know the church cannot be built until the work of redemption has been accomplished and then applied through the universal preaching of the gospel. The disciples, however, could not marry Christ’s identity with his sufferings. They seemed a contradiction. They were slow to grasp all that he was saying just as we are sometimes. To the Jews, Christ crucified was a stumbling block; to the Gentiles it was utter folly.

Those who have believed on Christ gladly acknowledge that ‘Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God’ (1 Corinthians 1:12). It is a matter of divine revelation, something Christ made known to Peter and the disciples (Matthew 16:17).

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