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Promise or Possibility?


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Promise or Possibility?


No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
— John Donne

Matthew 18:18-20
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Charles Spurgeon had four words for Jesus’ promises: Sue him for it.

If Jesus makes a promise, we can act on it and say, “You promised this.”

Rarely will we, because his promises involve things like our living by his teachings (no small task), putting our treasure in heaven (what sort of returns do we get?), being blessed for various forms of poverty (OK, that’s going too far), and agreeing.

Jesus says if two or three of us agree on anything in prayer, it will be done. That’s an enormous promise. Perhaps that promise involves something as grand on our part.

Rarely do we think of faith as something communal. More rarely do we think of prayer as something communal, something we share and do together. Rather than think of ourselves as a body, we see ourselves as independent faith contractors, operating alone. Prayer is personal, private.

But search the documents, the scriptures. God hammers this idea of his people being together, teaching their children, following his steps. They read, listen, pray, fast and feast together. Look at Jewish festivals; look at Jesus and the twelve in the upper room; look at the believers in Acts.           

What’s the power of two or three together? Put yourself in his place. You’re the father. All the children agree on a common desire. When two children set aside their own agendas to present a joint petition, how can a father reject it?

We in the West sometimes see the world as not getting along. We see Russians and Chechnyans, Israelis and Palestinians, Chinese and Tibetans, and Indians and Pakistanis. These macrocosms represent the individual, enacting great schisms. But agreement, the coming together of individuals, warms the Lord’s heart.

Catholics and their cousins in faith, the Greek Orthodox, understand something of community. The group or body of faith is of paramount importance. The saving that God does involves a people, not just individuals.

That is no small task. That means setting aside our obsession with self and personal agenda. That means thinking together, with others. There’s power in this unity.

Remember, he promised.

Do you pray with others?
What fears, insecurities, pride, selfishness or dogma prevent you from doing so?
Why does Jesus make this statement in Matthew 18:20?


© Revolworks 2006