"I tell you the truth. When you speak judgment here on earth, that judgment will be God's judgment. When you promise forgiveness here on earth, that forgiveness will be God's forgiveness. Also, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about something, then you can pray for it. And the thing you ask for will be done for you by my Father in heaven. This is true, because if two or three people are together believing in me, I am there with them."
— Matthew 18:18-20 NLT
Several key understandings are implicit in this passage.
First, because the Lord is present when 2 or 3 of his disciples are gathered together, his power and authority are present, too.
Second, the power of 2 or 3 to agree is not a general statement—in other words, this is not a blanket promise that if two Christians agree about something, God will have to carry it out. It is in the context of church discipline, sin, and fellowship that this applies.
Third, because the power and the authority of the Lord are present, the agreement between these Christians is a reflection of what has already happened in heaven, not vice versa! (This is a key grammatical issue that most conservative scholarly commentaries can help us understand.)
The Lord is present when his people gather together. The fellowship they share is vital. The decisions that are made under the Lord's guidance by those gathered reflect those in heaven. To put it succinctly: Jesus wants his disciples to be a redemptive community of character.
Holy God, make our churches more like you want them to be. Draw us into deeper fellowship. Give us a deeper commitment to your holiness. Give us a revulsion against sin and yet a deep love for those struggling to move from it in their lives. We want to be your family that reflects the grace and character of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Matthew 16:17-29
- 1 Corinthians 5:1-5
- Hebrews 10:24-25
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.