Matthew 18:19-20: Again, I say to you . . .
We might smile when we read the simple words, “Again, I say to you . . .” Whether we are parents, teachers, friends or colleagues, it is likely we have had to repeat ourselves in the hope of being understood. God does the same for us.
Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. (NRSV)
We might give thanks for the simple gift that Jesus gives us in this promise of his presence when we gather in God’s name.
And I tell you more: whenever two of you on earth agree about anything you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them. (GNT)
We might remember to gather with those who live in the Spirit when we are troubled or spent.
To repeat, I tell you that if two of you here on earth agree about anything people ask, it will be for them from my Father in heaven. For wherever two or three are assembled in my name, I am there with them. (CJB)
We might invite others to join us as we petition heaven for justice, mercy and peace.
Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there. (MSG)
And as we gather to pray, we might encourage one another to pray for our enemies, for those who refuse to look for unity or build peace, and for those who hope to bring an end to the Kingdom.
When we compare varying translations of these verses, we open ourselves to God’s promise that Christ is with us always, and that when we gather to petition God, the Spirit remains in us – bringing us new life. This Christ tells us again and again.