As he looked out into the crowd which had gathered for prayer, Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered, there I am,” and there are two or more gathered, so Jesus is here.
It’s true. Jesus did say this. My question is was it said to emphasize His presence when people gathered for prayer or something else?
I mean, what if a missionary is locked up, alone in a foreign land for days, weeks, months or more? Would that missionary not have Jesus’ presence since two or more aren’t gathered? Would the prayers not be heard since two or more are not gathered? What about the lone person who stands for his or her faith with persecutors ready to pounce?
What about a victim of a crime who is praying alone, under a bed, in a closet or behind something? What about an injured hiker, lost, but praying? If the Christian is alone, does that mean Jesus isn’t present? After all, being alone means there are less than two or more, right?
Besides the practical problems of such a belief, let’s look at whether or not it’s even Biblical. The passage is found in Matthew 18:15-20.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
The Biblical concept of “where two or more are gathered, there I am with you” is all about Biblical confrontation — not just prayer.
Yes, prayer is mentioned in it, but it is in the context of confrontation. Even when it feels wrong or that people won’t respond well to the confrontation, Christ can give you what you ask — just be sure the confrontation is Biblical.
OK, OK.. I realize calling out my fellow Christians on such things can really upset people.
After all, it’s pretty trendy to say when people gather for worship or prayer, “Jesus said, ‘Where two or more are gathered, there I am with you.’”
People say it and hear it and cheer it and validate it all the time.
Christians, just because you do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. According to our own beliefs, right and wrong is determined by God’s Word — the Bible. So, if you’re clinging to a belief just because you say it or you heard someone you respect say it, where is your loyalty — to God or man?
Me, I know Jesus is with me even if no one else is physically with me or supportive of me. He is my Savior and Lord, and I do not have to have the support of others for it to be so.
He is always with me — whether or not two or more are gathered. He said to me, “Behold I am with you always (Matthew 28:20b).”
Pastor Jeff Adams is a professional Christian counselor who travels the world teaching but serves our community. His column appears weekly. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.