Jesus rewards Peter for his response (Mt 16:18-16:19)

“I tell you!

You are Peter!

On this rock

I will build my church.

The gates of Hades

Shall not prevail against it.

I will give you

The keys

To the kingdom of heaven.

Whatever you bind

On earth

Shall be bound

In heaven.

Whatever you loose

On earth

Shall be loosed

In heaven.”

 

κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, καὶ πύλαι Ἅιδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.

δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν δήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται δεδεμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν λύσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται λελυμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.

 

This reward bestowal of power on Peter is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, via Matthew, asserted the authority of Peter in a very formal way with a solemn pronouncement (κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω).  Peter (ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος) was going to be the rock of Jesus’ new church community (καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν).  Notice the play on words of Peter “Πέτρος” and rock “πέτρᾳ.”  The gates of hell (καὶ πύλαι Ἅιδου) would not prevail (οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς) against this rock of a church, congregation, or assembly “ἐκκλησία.”  Matthew is the only biblical writer to use the phrase “gates of hell or Hades” (πύλαι Ἅιδου).”  Peter would receive the keys to the kingdom of heaven (δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν), as the gatekeeper of heaven.  Whatever he did on earth would be bound (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν δήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται δεδεμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς) or loosed in heaven (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν λύσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται λελυμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  Peter was no longer a mere informal leader, but the true man in charge here on earth with heavenly consequences, much like the Israelite high priests.  This of course has led to the so-called Petrine privilege, the power of Peter as handed down via the bishop of Rome.  As the first bishop of Rome, the power of Peter passed on to the bishop successors of Peter in Rome.  Thus, the bishop of Rome became known as the Pope or papa of the Christian Church in later centuries.

Canon criticism

Canon criticism is relatively new to biblical criticism.  Two major schools exist.  One takes the final canon as normative for discovering God’s word to his people.  Thus, this final form of the biblical documents should be vigorously analyzed and studied, in order to perceive keys to understanding the sacred texts.  Another school of thought stresses the authority of the various canonical stages of these historical documents, as well as their final shape. Thus, the process of canonization itself helps give us insights about the texts as they developed in the various church communities.