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13th Sunday after Pentecost
 


 

 
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Sermon Excerpt: Two or Three is All it Takes, Matthew 18:15-20, Rev. Randy Quinn

Let me read that last verse again: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matt. 18:20).

That sentiment is consistent with what Matthew has presented about Jesus throughout the Gospel. In the very first chapter, for example, Jesus is named Immanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:23). And in the very last verse of the last chapter we hear Jesus make the promise to be with us always (Matt. 28:20).

It’s no surprise then when we hear an echo of that in the promise that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matt. 18:20).

But what Jesus says in our text today is more than a promise that he will be with us. It’s also a variation of a popular Jewish thought circulating from that era in time – although, like the gospels, it wasn’t put into writing until a century or so later. Listen to one translation of the Rabbinic saying:

If two sit together and words of the Law are between them, the Divine Presence rests between them.

In other words, whenever two people discuss the scriptures, God is there. In meetings – public meetings, club meetings, even church meetings – we often make reference to a quorum. And depending upon the organization, the size of the quorum varies. One of the most commonly used definitions is more than half of the members, such as 4 out of 7. (For United Methodists, a quorum is defined as anyone who is present at a properly announced meeting.)

For Jews, however, a congregational quorum consisted of ten men – although more liberal Jews today might say ten people or members of ten households.....

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