Kathy—In order to develop a working understanding of the term “ekklesia” we look to its first mention in Matthew 16. Leading up to this chapter, Jesus had already walked on water and fed the 5000 and delivered Legion from demons. So the reports of Jesus were spreading and crowds were gathering as He taught in open air meetings. This was the setting when He asked His disciples, “What are people saying about Me?” They answered, “Some people say you are John the Baptist or maybe Elijah or Jeremiah or some other prophet.” Then Jesus asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter spoke up, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Peter’s answer showed that he had the revelation that Jesus is the Messiah that the Old Testament prophets had said would come and the Son of God Who was sent to be the Savior and Deliverer. Then Jesus said to him, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. (Matt. 16:17, Msg) In the next verse, Jesus said He would build His Church, His Ekklesia, His assembly of called out ones, with those who have that same unshakeable revelation of the Christ as The Messiah and Son of God, and these called out ones would be a company of people that hell cannot defeat or hold out against.
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