There are a number of answers to this question that immediately spring to mind… Saviour, Lord, Son of God…
When Jesus asked His disciples this question in Matt. 16:14-18, Peter gave the right answer “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, then in verse 18 Jesus says “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church”.
Jesus wasn’t saying that he would build the church on Peter, but rather that he would build his church on the revelation which Peter expressed “you are the Christ, the son of the living God”. Peter in himself was no more capable of building the church than you and I. He was just another man of extremes.
However, Peter + the revelation of Christ = a formidable force.
The question for us is ” at what point did Peter become a formidable force ?” – After his confession “you are the Christ”, Peter went on to deny Christ 3 times at Jesus trial – so clearly he wasn’t a formidable force yet – even though he had already made the right confession of faith…
At this point I want to pose another question; ‘why did Jesus wait 40 days after His ascension before sending the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, (or 50 days after the celebrated the last supper together)’ The Jewish holiday ‘Shavuot’ (our Pentecost ) falls 50 days after ‘Passover’. It is the celebration of when God gave Moses the law (the Torah).
I believe Jesus wanted to give them the Holy Spirit at the time when they were poised to celebrate the law. It was a shocking thing to do, because up until that time the law was everything, it was central to their lives, it was inconceivable to imagine life without it. The first Pentecost was such a radically different day than they had planned or expected. The most radical thing of all was that it took place because “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, no program, no system, no rules, just the Spirit of Jesus spontaneously released.
Who is Jesus? He is the end of the law, He is the beginning of spontaneous life in the Spirit, He is joy for free.
In their day, the disciples could not imagine their faith without the law. In our day, many people can’t imagine their faith without rules, or imagine a spontaneous life of Holy Spirit led freedom.
The church will not be built on any person, system, denomination or code of conduct. It can only be built on the revelation… “you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, …do you have it?