When people you know have supported you and helped you through thick and thin they are often regarded as a rock. We might even thank them and express this to them by saying “You’ve been a rock!”. Without diminishing that in any way we know too that none of us are perfect and we are more than capable of also letting people down by what we say and do or by what we leave unsaid and undone.
What do we mean when we say that someone has been a rock. A rock is steadfast, sure, immovable, upright and strong. These are all characteristics of the Almighty. A rock can also give the sense of being everlasting – some rocks not having moved for many generations.
There are over 100 references to rock in Scripture and many are used in relation to the Almighty and to His Messiah.
The first mention comes in the book of Exodus (17:6) when the Almighty tells Moses (Moshe) that He will stand before him on the rock at Horeb, that Moses is to strike the rock and water will come out of it and the people will drink. That is not what happens in the natural but this is also symbolic that water representing life would come out of the rock.
When Jesus(Yeshua) met the woman at the well (John 4) He said to her that if she drank of the water He would give her she would never thirst again. It would become a spring of water welling up to eternal life. As Jesus reveals knowledge about her personal life and she perceives that He is a prophet she also then says that she knows that Messiah is coming and that when He comes He will tell us all things. Jesus replied “I who speak to you am he”.
Could it be that Messiah could also be regarded as a Rock and in the same way as the Almighty was regarded in the Old Testament, the Scriptures that Jesus used. Interestingly the Almighty is described as the Rock of Salvation. The hebrew word for salvation used is Yeshua and appears in 77 verses in the Old Testament. Jesus was given the name as announced and commanded by the Angel of the Lord (Matthew 1:21) for “He will save His people from their sins”.
If we needed any further confirmation that Jesus, the Messiah is also the Rock then the apostle Paul (Sha’ul) wrote to the Corinthians that the Israelites, at the time of Moses, all drank from the same spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Messiah (Christ). That means of course that Jesus existed before His birth, not as Jesus but in another form and John, at the beginning of his Gospel, refers to Him as the Word that was there in the beginning and that all things were made through Him.
Jesus Himself said that “before Abraham was, I am”, thus using the name of God but also showing that He existed before He was born on the earth. He also described Himself to John as recorded in the book of Revelation as both the root and offspring of David.
If you have come to Jesus, know that your sins are forgiven and are walking as His disciple then those references to rock can be a real comfort in whatever situation we are in. A rock can be a refuge, a hiding place from the storms of life. The Almighty is the Rock
- of salvation
- of Israel
- of refuge
What a wonderful picture this is of a Saviour who will never leave us or forsake us.
Jesus, however, is also a rock of offence and it was prophesied that many will stumble over Him. I hope that is not your experience.
As we remember His death (and resurrection) at this time of year and we recall that He was laid in a tomb cut out of a rock, let us ensure that we build our houses on the Rock and not on the sand.
Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I!