For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20
Matthew 18 has a lot to say about prayer and relationships.
It starts with a little argument involving the disciples, about who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus calls a child unto him and sets him in the middle of them.
Then Jesus tells his disciples, that unless they convert and become like this little child, they will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Then Jesus goes on to talk about people who receive or offend the little ones who believe in Him. For those who receive little children, it is as though they’ve welcomed Jesus.
If any of the little ones are offended by someone, it would be better if they were drowned in the sea with a heavy millstone hanging around his neck.
Then Jesus warns all in the world that offenses will come, but woe to that man by whom they come.
Next, Jesus tells the disciples that if a hand or foot, or eye, offends us, to get rid of them, by severing them from the body.
Pretty harsh words, huh? Things that cause us to sin, we should get rid of, as though they do not exist.
One of my favorite stories is the “Pilgrim’s Progress”, by John Bunyan. The character, Christian, had to leave his family, friends, and community to follow Christ. He was met with many obstacles along the way towards the Kingdom of God. People tried to deceive him, dissuade him from continuing on his journey, and tried to change his will to follow Christ.
The rest of Chapter 18 of Matthew, deals with the lost sheep, where Jesus will leave the ninety-nine to find the one. For He came to seek and save the lost.
Jesus is not willing that any should perish, but that all should have life.
Verse 16 talks about a brother who sins against us, and how we should first talk to them, then if they won’t listen us, we should ask witnesses to come with us and speak to them, and if they still refuse to hear us, to send the church. But, if they still refuse, we need to treat them as publicans and heathens. In other words, we are to discontinue our relations with them, until they repent. We are to have as little as possible to do with them, until they see the error of their way.
Verse 20, then talks of gathering together in prayer. For Jesus is there with us, right in the middle of us!
Thank You, Jesus, that You are there when we pray together. You have sent Your Holy Spirit to guide us. Please encourage us, and help us to get rid of anything that would cause us to sin. Keep us in Your care, teach us Your ways, help us to stand firm is You and in Your mighty power. Thank You. Amen!