Yeshua says: Where there are three gods,
they are gods.
Where there are two or one,
I am with them.

(Mark 9:38-41; Matthew 18:20; Matthew 28:20)

In Mark’s Gospel the disciple John approaches Jesus and complains,

Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us. (Mark 9:38)

No doubt John expected to be commended for his zeal in protecting the great acts he believed could be performed only by Jesus or those to whom Jesus gave authority. Jesus’ response must have come as a shock.

But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

Jesus, like Yeshua in this Saying, understood that the work of God is not confined to the formulations, patterns, or parameters that I decide are appropriate. The God about whom Yeshua taught and who Jesus revealed shatters all boundaries and moves beyond all humanly constructed theologies or orthodoxies. This God does not fit comfortably in my tight-knit little dogmas, or my narrowly defined formulas.

I may believe in “three gods” “two or one” Yeshua is not perturbed by errors in my theology. He has bigger concerns. Yeshua is concerned to make sure that his students grasp the essential truth that “I am with them.”

Jesus lived, taught, worked, died, and rose again to impress upon his followers the words with which Matthew’s Gospel concludes,

remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

Jesus brought an end to separation.

Jesus did not say, “I am with you” as long as you get your theology right. He did not even declare, “I am with you” if you live good upstanding moral ethical lives and remain always faithful to the truth.

The promise of Jesus’ presence is recklessly unequivocal – “I am with you always,” no caveats, no conditions. This is not a deal or a negotiation; it is a guarantee. It depends on nothing I do, only on who God is.

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Today I will keep my eyes open for the signs of that presence who has promised “always” to be with me and will seek to avoid closing any doors to where or how that presence might manifest.