An excerpt from something I'm writing on "The Radical Nearness of God"...
Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."
I would love to have a dollar for every time I’ve heard this verse recited out of context by people with more degrees than thermometers!
It’s too often used by well-meaning, yet horribly misguided, Christians who are trying to convince others that their low church attendance or small prayer gathering isn’t completely irrelevant and that God actually “steps down from heaven” into their lackluster environment to sit with them for a spell.
The notion that the “two or three rule” is a prerequisite for God’s Presence also strongly suggests that personal prayer is a huge waste of time and walking in the Spirit is an impossibility!
Here’s one for the literalists. Does God disappear when a fourth person arrives? Jesus did specifically say, “two or three”!
I humbly submit that God is present everywhere before anyone enters any room.
What happens when we actually look at that verse in its context?
Mat 18:15 "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
Mat 18:16 "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.
Mat 18:17 "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Mat 18:18 "Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.
Mat 18:19 "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.
Mat 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."
What if that passage has nothing to do with the possibility of Jesus ever being absent and everything to do with Him understanding the human condition and reassuring us that He’s an active participant whenever we are correcting a brother or sister in Love? What if two or three witnesses are simply there to avoid a "he said, she said" conundrum when someone resists one-on-one correction? I believe that’s exactly what’s happening there. Please read that passage again, meditate on it, ask for Holy Spirit’s guidance, and see if you don’t come to the same conclusion.