Matthew 18:15-20 (NASB)
15 “Now if your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that on the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be confirmed. 17 And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, he is to be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.
19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”
Today’s gospel reading is part of a longer discourse, at a turning point in Jesus’ earthly ministry. We have found him until now at work in Galilee, his familiar home. In chapter 19, he will turn his face toward Jerusalem—and the awful yet wonderful events that await him there.
The “little ones” (aka, his disciples) will come along. Jesus wants them to remember something important, however, before they start out. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst.” (v.20)
Our lives are filled with turning points like these—from the comfortable and familiar, to something less clear and potentially dangerous. Jesus’ promise is available to us in situations like these, just as it was for those first-century “little ones.” Jesus invites us to pray with his promise: “I will always hear you. And to step forward confidently: “You will always find me at your side.”
Thank you for your promise to abide with us. Help us live as if it were true. Amen.