“As I’ve told you, probably more than once,” Stan began, “I attended church virtually all of my life before I became a Christian.”
“Yeah, you’ve mentioned that before,” I replied.
“Don’t want to bore you with repetition,” Stan said, “but this is something I think about and wonder why it took me so long. I wonder if it was just me who didn’t want to hear the truth, or if the truth wasn’t presented so I could hear and accept it.”
“I’ve thought about the same thing in my life,” I responded. “I’m not sure I have an answer.”
“I think I might have the answer to that,” Stan replied. “And I saw it this morning in something Jesus is recorded as saying to His disciples in Matthew’s gospel.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Jesus clearly said,” he responded, “where two or three are gathered in His name He would be there.”
“So?” I replied.
“I think it’s possible,” Stan said, “the churches I attended before I became a Christian may not have had enough people who gathered in Jesus’ name. It’s possible they forgot to invite Him, didn’t gather in His name, and He wasn’t there.”
He then added, “And I think it’s possible Jesus wasn’t there so the truth of what He accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection was not presented. Thus, there was no way for me to hear and to accept the truth.”
“Isn’t that kind or a harsh indictment?” I asked.
“Could be,” Stan said, “but all I know for certain is I never heard the truth. If it was presented, I didn’t hear it.”
Continuing, he added, “It was only when our neighbors invited and encouraged us to be a part of their church, a church truly gathered in Jesus’ name, it was only then I heard and eventually accepted the truth.”
Concluding, Stan said, “Gathering in Jesus’ name is essential. It’s essential in church gatherings, it’s essential for fellowship groups that gather during the week, and it’s essential for you and me as we gather each morning, so we can make certain Jesus is present and in the midst of the conversation!”
For where two or three have gathered in My name, there I am in their midst. Matthew 18:20.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you and your Son Jesus want to be in the midst of everything I’m involved with. Thank you, too, for those in my life who helped me to see the essential nature of gathering together in your name. I confess that too often I gather together with others in situations and circumstances where you are not invited and you are not in the midst of it. Please forgive me. And please help me in following every step of your lead so I make certain when I gather together with others it is in your name, regardless of where I am and what I’m doing. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: What does it mean to gather in Jesus’ name? What does it look like for Jesus to be in the midst of a gathering? If there are only two or three who are gathered in His name, do you think that is sufficient for Him to be there regardless of the number in the whole gathering? Why or why not? If so, would that “work” in any gathering to insure that Jesus is present?