Lets look at the passage containing that verse. Jesus asks who they (the Apostles) think He is.
Matthew 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
When Jesus makes the statement and upon this rock I will build my church He is referring back to who the Apostles say He is, not to Peter. He (Jesus) is the rock upon which the church is built.
Peter’s original name was Simon. Christ Himself gave him the name Cephas or Peter when they first met and later confirmed it. This name change was meant to show both Peter’s rank as leader of the apostles and the outstanding trait of his character Peter (in Hebrew Kephas) the Rock.
I agree with you. Jesus said He was the rock (petra) upon which He would build His church. Peter was just a humble pebble (petros).
Assuming that your interpretation is correct, why did Jesus change Simon bar Jonah’s name to Kephas(rock)? It is fact that in Scripture God changes the name of those whom He has big things planned.
Secondly, do you find it at all significant that Jesus says that that Peter is Blessed and that the knowledge of who Jesus is was revealed to him by GOD THE FATHER?
Third, why do you think that Jesus says to Peter first, thou art Peter(rock, which we all agree)first and then says upon this rock I will build my church? It is clear in any reading of this passage that Jesus first calls Simon Rock, then says He will build His church upon this rock.
It takes some real exegetic contortions to reach any conclusion other than Simon, renamed Peter(rock, which we all agree), who receives a special revelation from GOD, the same GOD that has changed his name to ROCK!, is meant by GOD to be the physical leader of Christ’s church on earth.
And in case one may have missed it the thousand times it has been explained here and there and everywhere,
It is CHRIST’S CHURCH not the pope’s church. Not one single Catholic living or deceased believes it is the pope’s church. Any honor or respect afforded him is what we would give Jesus, WERE HE STILL HERE PHYSICALLY TO RECEIVE IT!