About Jesus - Steve Sweetman

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Where Two Or Three Come Together

"For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20 NIV)."  This verse is often quoted to encourage those who find themselves in a poorly attended Christian meeting.  Is this what Jesus meant by these words?  


The words "two or three" have
 Biblical significance.  Job 33:29
 says that "God does all these things to a person, twice, even three times" in an attempt to restore a broken relationship with a person.  Deuteronomy 19:15 states that a fact must be established by two or three witnesses.  Deuteronomy 17:6 states that a person cannot be condemned to death without the credible witness of two or three people.  The Apostle Paul said that every fact must be established by the testimony of two or three (2 Corinthians 13:1).  Paul told Timothy not to accept an accusation against an elder without two or three witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19). 


In Biblical terms, the validity of a thing must be confirmed in at least two or three ways.  With this in mind let's see what Jesus meant when He said "where two or three come together in His name, I am with them." 


Backing up to verses 15 to 18 Jesus told His disciples that if someone sinned against one of them he should point out the sin to the offender in the hope of restoring their relationship damaged by the sin.  If that doesn't rectify things Jesus said that two or three others should intervene to help restore the relationship.      


In verse 18 Jesus said that whatever you bind or loose on earth will be bound or loosed in Heaven.  He wasn't talking about binding or loosing demons.  The context tells us that He was talking about binding and loosing relationships.  This means that our relationships in the Body of Christ have a direct impact in Heaven.  Broken relationships inhibit Heaven from effectively working among us while harmonious relationships enables Heaven to implement God's will among us.   


In verse 19 Jesus said "that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in Heaven."  Again, we see our earthly relationships impacting Heaven's interaction with us on earth.  The Greek verb "symphoneo" is translated as "agree" in this verse.  This word consists of two Greek words meaning "together" and "sound".  The word agree here means "to sound together."  Our English word "symphony" comes from this Greek word.  A symphony is the harmonious blending of a variety of musical instruments.  It's various instruments sounding together in a harmonic unity.  It's this symphonic harmony that is expressed in the word "agree" in this verse.  Jesus wasn't talking about two people agreeing about a prayer request.  He was speaking of harmonious relationships in the Body of Christ.    


The Greek word "synago" is translated as "come together" in verse 20.  This is a Hebrew word that found its way into Greek.  For Jews, "synago" which is related to their word "synagogue", was more than a building where they worshiped.  This word represented the community of God's people.  When Jesus spoke about coming together in verse 20 He was thinking of the community of believers living in symphonic harmony.  


This Greek grammar stuff may confuse you but it does help us understand the New Testament.  Matthew 18:20 has little to do with a poorly attended Christian meeting.  It has everything to do with restoring damaged relationships in the Body of Christ and living in symphonic harmony so Jesus can live among us to accomplish His will. 


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