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Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst."

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Matthew 18:21 >

      20. For where two or three are gathered together in my name--or "unto my name."
      there am I in the midst of them--On this passage--so full of sublime encouragement to Christian union in action and prayer--observe, first, the connection in which it stands. Our Lord had been speaking of church meetings before which the obstinate perversity of a brother was in the last resort to be brought, and whose decision was to be final--such honor does the Lord of the Church put upon its lawful assemblies. But not these assemblies only does He deign to countenance and honor. For even two uniting to bring any matter before Him shall find that they are not alone, for My Father is with them, says Jesus. Next, observe the premium here put upon union in prayer. As this cannot exist with fewer than two, so by letting it down so low as that number, He gives the utmost conceivable encouragement to union in this exercise. But what kind of union? Not an agreement merely to pray in concert, but to pray for some definite thing. "As touching anything which they shall ask," says our Lord--anything they shall agree to ask in concert. At the same time, it is plain He had certain things at that moment in His eye, as most fitting and needful subjects for such concerted prayer. The Twelve had been "falling out by the way" about the miserable question of precedence in their Master's kingdom, and this, as it stirred their corruptions, had given rise--or at least was in danger of giving rise--to "offenses" perilous to their souls. The Lord Himself had been directing them how to deal with one another about such matters. "But now shows He unto them a more excellent way." Let them bring all such matters--yea, and everything whatsoever by which either their own loving relationship to each other, or the good of His kingdom at large, might be affected--to their Father in heaven; and if they be but agreed in petitioning Him about that thing, it shall be done for them of His Father which is in heaven. But further, it is not merely union in prayer for the same thing--for that might be with very jarring ideas of the thing to be desired--but it is to symphonious prayer, the prayer by kindred spirits, members of one family, servants of one Lord, constrained by the same love, fighting under one banner, cheered by assurances of the same victory; a living and loving union, whose voice in the divine ear is as the sound of many waters. Accordingly, what they ask "on earth" is done for them, says Jesus, "of My Father which is in heaven." Not for nothing does He say, "of MY FATHER"--not "YOUR FATHER"; as is evident from what follows: "For where two or three are gathered together unto My name"--the "My" is emphatic, "there am I in the midst of them." As His name would prove a spell to draw together many clusters of His dear disciples, so if there should be but two or three, that will attract Himself down into the midst of them; and related as He is to both the parties, the petitioners and the Petitioned--to the one on earth by the tie of His assumed flesh, and to the other in heaven by the tie of His eternal Spirit--their symphonious prayers on earth would thrill upward through Him to heaven, be carried by Him into the holiest of all, and so reach the Throne. Thus will He be the living Conductor of the prayer upward, and the answer downward.

JFB.


Questions Related to this Verse

Where in Scripture does it talk about fellowship with Jesus Christ?

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Matthew Images and Notes

The Book of Matthew

Matthew 2:2 - Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Matthew 18:3 - And Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew in The New Testament - A Brief Overview

Matthew by Rembrandt
Painting of St. Matthew with Angel by Rembrandt

Introduction to The Gospel of Matthew

The Word Gospel. The first book of the English Bible that most of us read from is the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew is the first of the four gospel writings, yet there is only one gospel about Jesus Christ and there are four different writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The word "Gospel" means "good news", and the good news is about Jesus Christ dying on the cross and then 3 days later conquering death and rising from the dead, offering salvation to all mankind, this is the Gospel.

Summary of the Book of Matthew

Brief Summary. Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the long awaited Messiah King of he Jews as foretold by the ancient Jewish prophets. He came to reveal how to enter the "Kingdom of Heaven."

Purpose. It is very obvious that the Gospel of Matthew was written for the purpose of revealing that the man Jesus of Nazareth was actually the King of the Jews, the long awaited Messiah, the sovereign Lord Jehovah who came from heaven to this world revealing to mankind the "kingdom of heaven". The King of the Jews, the Messiah Jesus fulfilled every prophecy that was spoken about Him in the ancient Jewish Scriptures, in the Old Testament. The prophecies that spoke of the "Kingdom" that the Messiah would bring would be a spiritual Kingdom that would never be destroyed.

Map of Israel in the Time of Matthew

Audience. When reading the book of Matthew it becomes clear that the writer was speaking to a Jewish audience. One of the obvious reasons is that the "Kingdom of Heaven" is mentioned over 30 times and never the Kingdom of God. This is because the Jews do not speak the name of God and this could be the very reason that Matthew used this phrase. There are many times while reading the book that an event happens and a prophecy is cited. The event is mentioned as the direct fulfillment of a promise made to the Jews by one of their Jewish prophets, and the fulfillment of the prophecy was happening before their very eyes. It is clear that the audience of people are the Jews, they were awaiting their King, and Matthew records that the King had come and they rejected their King.

Authorship. Early Christian writings and traditions have attributed the authorship of the Gospel of Matthew to the apostle Matthew. Many scholars question whether or not Matthew was the true author of the first Gospel, but there is no way at this current time to be absolutely positive based on historical evidence. Most agree that Matthew was the author. The Bible reveals that Matthew, or Levi, as he was sometimes called, collected taxes for the Romans. One day Jesus passed by and called Matthew to come and follow him, and Matthew did so. The Bible also records that Matthew held a banquet at his house with several of his tax collector friends and Jesus being invited to the banquet was the guest of honor (Mark 2:14-15). The Bible also provides a list of the 12 apostles and Matthew was named among them.

Date. There is no way to determine with absolute certainty the date that the book of Matthew was written. Most scholars agree that the book of Matthew was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., this is because Jesus spoke of many events as though they had not happened yet. A large number of scholars do not believe in the miracle of prophecy and therefore insist that the Gospel of Matthew was written after the fall of Jerusalem because of the accuracy of the predicted events.

Language. There are many references among the books in the history of the early church that state that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written by Matthew in the biblical Hebrew language, and he was writing to an audience of  Jews throughout the world who had become followers of Jesus. Unfortunately there is no evidence whatsoever of a Hebrew or Aramaic manuscript, so many scholars have agreed that the Gospel of Matthew is not actually a translation from Hebrew into Greek, but was actually written in Greek. The whole subject of the Gospel of Matthew being written in Hebrew must remain speculation rather than fact.

Outline of the Book of Matthew

The King Comes and His Kingdom is Rejected - Matthew 1-12
The Rejection of the King's Teaching and Ministry - Matthew 13-25
The King's Trial and Crucifixion - Matthew 26-27
The King's Victory and Resurrection - Matthew 28
The King's Commissioning of His Apostles - Matthew 28

Matthew - Interesting Notes

Study Bible Icon Matthew mentions four women in his genealogy which is not typical for Jewish genealogical records: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheeba who were all associated with some sort of immorality. Tamar (incest), Rahab (harlotry), Ruth (a descendant of Moab who committed incest) and Bathsheba (adultery). Christ's greatness was in Himself not his genealogy.

Study Bible Icon There are many intimations for the word "King" in Matthew if one takes the time to look. For example in chapter one there is a royal genealogy mentioning king David at the start. Chapter two reveals the kingly gifts of the Magi. Chapter three calls John the Baptist a "herald" which is a cultural term that represents a herald for a king. Etc. 

Study Bible Icon There are similarities with the number four. The four colors in the veil of the Temple were purple, scarlet, white, and blue. The four faces of the cherubim are the lion, ox, man, eagle. The four Gospel accounts are Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. 

Quick Reference Maps - Matthew

Israel in New Testament Times

The Kingdom of Herod the Great

The Divisions of Herod's Kingdom

The Flight into Egypt

The Baptism of Jesus

The Beginning of Christ's Ministry

Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee

Jesus Ministers in Galilee

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem

Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus

Jesus Journeys from Nazareth to Jerusalem

The Final Journey of Jesus to Jerusalem

 

Jesus written in Hebrew
The Name Jesus In Ancient Hebrew Text
"Yeshua" in First Century Hebrew Text. This is how the name "Jesus" would have been written in ancient Hebrew documents. The four letters or consonants from right to left are Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin (Y, SH, OO, A). Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua or Y'shua which means "The LORD or Yahweh is Salvation".

Matthew Resources

Outline of the Life of Jesus in Harmony
Simple Map of First Century Israel
Topographical Map of First Century Israel
Map of the Ministry of Jesus
Map of the Roads in Ancient Israel
Map of the Roman Empire