One of the Bible’s most beautiful passages just might be one of its most misquoted. Ever heard Jesus’ famous words: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20)? Normally pastors quote this verse so they don’t feel bad when only two people come to Bible study. At least Jesus showed up!
That’s true, but that’s not the context. The context of Matthew chapter 18 is the agonizing conversation with a sinner who doesn’t seem to care at all about sin. When you are waiting at the coffee shop to talk to your sister about her affair. When you and a guy from church are driving to your friend’s house to discuss why he thinks he can be close to Jesus without a regular connection to Jesus’ Word or Jesus’ people. When you try to speak the truth in the most loving way you can to your daughter, but her arms are crossed and she’s not listening.
Those are brutally hard moments. But in the midst of it, where two or three gather in Jesus’ name to reach out, to share the Word, to beg for repentance, guess where Jesus is? With you. Right in that moment, God is with you. No matter how they react. No matter what they decide. No matter if they love you or hate you for caring, remember Jesus’ promise: “There am I with them.”