We are still in the house in Capernaum with Jesus and His disciples. Jesus has been giving private instructions to His disciples, as best as I can tell. Yesterday He talked about a brother offending you and how to handle it. I’m not really sure why my bible put that section and this section together. I don’t know if Jesus paused between these two topics or if He saw them as related. I also don’t know if Matthew used paragraphs and divisions when he wrote this narrative. To me, there seems to be a topic shift, so I split the lesson in two. Sorry if I offend anyone with this; it’s just how I see it.
In Matthew 16:19, Peter was specifically given the keys to the kingdom regarding binding and loosing things. Now Jesus extends that to the rest of the disciples. Just as Peter didn’t fully understand the gift when given to him, the other disciples didn’t understand the extent of authority being given here either. I am far from truly understanding it myself.
If this authority was conveyed to be employed with the wayward brother, the one who was sinned against would bind the offender spiritually until behavior representing repentance was be evident? I would tend to lean toward binding the spirit of division or strife instead. Binding whatever spirit was causing the division from working on the brother. Also loosing God’s Holy Spirit to convict the heart of the offender and entice him to turn back to God.
I think this avenue of binding and loosing would be even more liberating to the one who was sinned against. It is amazing how praying for your enemies can actually change your perspective. For me, God often opens my eyes to the possible situations that the other is facing and thus softens my heart towards them. Thanks God for reminding me how praying for your enemies can actually help me too.
Jesus’ next comment about two or three agreeing and asking brings back memories of the “name it and claim it” days of the church. Those days truly scared and scarred me. I want to take Jesus at His word here, but I want to also make sure it is His words and not me putting some of my own in His mouth.
I believe the key to this is the “gathered in My name” phrase and the fact that He promises to be in our midst when we do gather in that name. So when I am with Jesus, I want what Jesus wants. I want to please Him. I’m not self-seeking. I’m searching for His will.
His will is not for me to loose every blessing imaginable on myself for the sake of my own comfort. Nor is it to bind every trial I might ever go through. When I have no needs, I forget to turn to Him, even just to say thanks. When I have no obstacles or trials, I don’t grow. If I am not moving forward in Him, I am moving backwards. I will take forwards over rocky terrain over backwards any time.
I also don’t know where to draw the lines between the “ask anything in my name” and “my grace is sufficient” words from God. Is it where the heart is in the asking? Or maybe it’s the purpose in asking and what getting would mean to the asker. Am I asking because, again, I want an easier life? Or am I asking for something that would have Kingdom impact?
Where does one’s faith level come into this equation? I was just out working in my yard, trying to get a project done that requires a rototiller. I could not start it and once my husband finally started it, it quit part way through. Neither of us could restart it, so I prayed a quick “help us please God” prayer and it started right up. It worked longer this time but still didn’t finish the job. We tried to start it again and failed. Even a quick prayer didn’t help this time, so I tried a more heart felt one. Still wouldn’t start. Is my faith too small? Does He think I have done enough for today? I know God could make it start if HE really wanted it to. But maybe it is not what is best for me right now.
Maybe my problem is simply that I see the whole binding and loosing thing as a complex equation. I sincerely pray that God will teach me the “math” required to understand His promise. Because this IS a promise of God, and as such, He will keep it.
Father God, I feel I have so little faith in this area. Certainly NOT mountain moving faith. Not even rototiller starting faith. Help me with my unbelief. Teach me how to approach these issues. Grow my faith. Please be GENTLE with me though.
Jesus, You said we could bind and loose things on Earth and that they would also be bound and loosed in Heaven. What I want bound more than anything else in my life is the negative voices in my head. They are even the ones that tell me that I’m not working some formula right to have You listen to my prayers. Lord, SHUT THEIR MOUTHS!! I need Your joy loosed in my life. Joy in my spirit. Joy in my interactions with others, especially my husband. And joy in just being Your child. Can I add a request for You to loose Your peace and faith in me too please? Thank You for loving me right where I am at. I love You and I want to be a child after Your own heart. What I do in my little life here in the country doesn’t have a big impact on Your Kingdom, but I trust that You love me just the same. Teach me Your principals please!