A Question I Was Asked:

How Can Jesus Always Be With 'Two or Three Gathered in His Name'?

This is one of those very long and unwileldy questions which I sometimes receive which I have had to break down to attempt to get at what the writer really meant.

Here are the basic points of the question:

'...While Jesus walked on the earth, he said,

"... Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20).

But suppose there were two or three gathered in His Name right where Jesus was standing, and there were also two or three gathered in His Name 10,000 miles away. Who, then, was speaking on His own behalf, out of Jesus's mouth, about being wherever (anywhere in the world) two or three are gathered in His name? If this was a prophecy about the Spirit of the Son after Jesus was resurrected, then for the time that Jesus was still walking on the earth, it would have been a lie since Jesus said it in the present tense, and Jesus never lied.'

My Reply:

My, this is something of a strange question but perhaps you are very new in the Faith.

To cover your final point first, yes it was a prophecy of the work of the Holy Spirit to come, but your point about grammar shows a lack of understanding. Prophecy can be expressed in present tense, future tense or any other way that God chooses it to be constructed. The context shows that Jesus was talking about the Church (check verse 17, for instance), which had not even begun when Jesus spoke these words, so the words are clearly prophetic. You appear to imply that proper grammar ('proper' according to you, that is) is of more importance than God, then you seem prepared to call Jesus a liar over this point, but you then, in contradiction, state (correctly) that Jesus never lied, which should surely have led you to see that your understanding is in error on this point. But - very importantly - which one of us would dare to challenge the Creator of all things about the way that He has inspired prophecy, or doctrinal teaching, or anything else to be constructed in Holy Scripture? As I say, you appear to be either very new in the Faith, or maybe somebody who might have come out of a cult or sect.

This difficulty is also very apparent in your earlier point: You seem to suggest that Jesus is just like any one of us and so could not possibly be in more than one place at a time, but the resurrected Jesus is quite capable of being with His people wherever they may be gathered in the world, because He is God and not man.

Robin A. Brace, 2007.