That phrase “upon this rock I will build my church” has been disputed and caused rift within the Christian faith community, and for some reason that phrase has been going round and round in my head, and the meaning, what is the meaning?
Depends on your understanding of Jesus. If you look at the entirety of the Bible, the Jewish and Christian Bible it has symbolism, metaphor, allegory, and Jesus used that a lot, so when he utters that phrase how are we to take it? Are we take it as on him literally, on that rock he is standing, on his great personality, what? Considering that Jesus did use parables and all that stuff a lot I have concluded that he means upon Peter’s leadership due to the word of knowledge given to him by the Father. Based on Peter being given that particular knowledge, his leadership would be what brought forth the church, and would create the grafting of Jew and Gentile. Jesus I am sure knew that with time there would be issues and maybe splintering withing the community. He also commanded them to go tell the good news and baptize people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus is giving authority by way of his instructions, but to Peter he is giving leadership responsibility for moving things forward after he is gone. This also is important in terms of non Christians understanding Christians. They received instructions to make disciples of all nations etc… and took this very seriously this responsibility given to them, and throughout history so have others who have accepted the faith, some more than others, particularly evangelicals. It is important to understand that it was not Peter that Jesus was building the Church on, but rather his leadership, and the knowledge that Peter received of who he was. One can accept or reject the theology of this, their choice. The point is, the rock is the leadership and given knowledge, not Peter, he was simply a conduit for the task, nothing more, nothing less and he would like you would have succession of heirs in a family, a company etc.. Peter would do so for the Church that Jesus entrusted him with. Not saying you have to agree or not, but if you can truly understand the responsibility of this commission, the importance of it when accepted as historical truth, then you can better understand Christians.
As for where I stand theologically, it is a journey and I have not reach the end of it yet. Do I reject Jesus? No, being Italian and growing up Catholic, though I was not religious, Jesus is always going to be central to my life. Theologically and Philosophically I am working all that out, and it is an incredible journey I am on, but one thing I do know is that he will always be a part of my spiritual life, somehow.