If you go to church regularly, you will likely be regularly exposed to teachings on major Christian topics such as grace, faith, gifts of the Holy Spirit, and salvation. You might spend weeks or months studying one of those topics.
There are probably many times you have heard a Scripture and said to yourself, “I wish someone would give me a short lesson on a particular word or topic. Not a long treatise, but enough to get a better understanding.” The purpose of this series is to do that for a wide variety of topics. For that reason, some of these videos are shorter than the typical Eyewitness episodes.
As we often caution, we are not trying to add to what the Bible says, we are trying to add context that will help you understand the Bible better. So, please read the applicable Scriptures in the study guides for these stories so you will know exactly what the Bible says.
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Caesarea Philippi is located near the northern border of Israel. If you go there today, you get to enjoy a beautiful pond and stream running in front of a series of caves and carvings in a red rock mountainside. The large cave is known as the Grotto of Pan, known as a place to worship the Greek god, Pan. Sacrifices to Pan were made there, and many people believed it was the home of many demons, maybe the opening to Hades.
It is very possible that Jesus and his apostles were looking at this cave as the events of Matthew 16:13-20 take place. Jesus began the conversation by asking who people said he was. The apostles offered up several options before
Jesus asked them to say what they thought. Peter opined that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus blessed Peter and said that answer was revealed by his Father in heaven. Jesus followed with, “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.” It is the first mention of the word “church.”
The apostles must have been mystified. They knew the Greek word to be “ekklesia” meaning “the called out ones.” What could Jesus have meant by that?