When Jesus asked his Apostles “Who do say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus called him ’Rock’. Jesus says: “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.”
That clear Apostolic faith has come down to us because the Apostles handed it on in various ways, by their preaching, their worship, their way of life, the institutions they established, just as hand it on in various ways. Anyone who shares in this understanding and faith has access to reality as it really is. We are not simply talking about becoming aware of what is right and wrong from an ethical or moral perspective. It is something far deeper than that. It is about understanding the fundamental nature and purpose of God’s creation. People with this awareness are vital to realising the kingdom od God here on earth. It is a kingdom in which God is central, yet it only begins to function in our world the moment human beings share in God’s insight—the moment they begin to understand the mind of the Lord.
Simon Peter is the first one to see what it is all about, and who Jesus is. The first among equals and he remains so even after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension. The other disciples are aware of this, which is why they send out Peter and call him to give an account of himself when necessary. It is worth pointing out that the foundation ’rock’ about which Jesus talks is not Peter’s personality, but his insight and his faith. This insight was not revealed to him by any human being but by God.
Peter does have a special place in the Gospel story but all of us are supposed to be as he is.: centred on the rock that is our Faith in Jesus Christ, and joint keyholders to God’s kingdom here on earth.