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Watching Daily At My Gates

February 1 Read John 15:1-7

On this Lord’s Day we are reminded of the truth that the Church is Christ’s. We also see that we are redeemed by Christ and find our spiritual life in Him. The result of being engrafted into Christ is that we bring forth fruit. This fruit is not of ourselves as we see in verses 4 and 5. Without out Christ we can do nothing. We heard Christ today. Now we must go forth and bring forth fruits of gratitude. Are we ready to do that? Is our life one full of the fruit of the Spirit? If it is not, we know that we will be pruned from the vine and cast into the fire. Let us abide in Christ and in His Word and let us walk by our faith. Sing Psalter 220.

February 2 Read John 15:8-12

Children and young people, as you begin another week of school are you once more preparing to keep Christ’s commandment to love each other? As you met your classmates this morning could they see that love that you have been commanded to have for them? Why must we do this? Verse twelve gives us the answer. We must love one another because Christ loved us. We show our gratitude for His love by our love for each other. This means that we love all of our classmates as the neighbor God has placed on our paths. This means that we do acts of kindness for them. Love is more that words. We must show our love by the acts of kindness that we do for each other. Let us love one another today and all week. Sing Psalter 24.

February 3 Read John 15:13-17

We continue with our thoughts of yesterday that we are commanded to love one another. In these verses we find how great Christ’s love was for us. He loved us so much that He gave His life for us. In doing so He chose us to be His friends. To be a friend of Christ is a wonder. We are polluted and full of sin. There is nothing good in us by nature. Christ is the spotless Lamb of God. Yet He chose us to be His friends. How do we pick our friends? Is it because of some earthly attribute that they might have? Or is it because Christ calls them friends? Let us show the friendship Christ has given to us and show it by our actions to each other. Let us obey the command of Christ. Sing Psalter 369.

February 4 Read John 15:18-27

People of God, do you feel the world’s hatred? Do your actions for the cause of Christ make you hated by those with whom you have contact? Rest assured that God will be with you. He will be with you even as He was with His Son. Facing the world’s hatred is not a bad thing. Facing the world’s hatred is part of the assurance that we feel of God’s love for us. We must live in the knowledge that we are loved by our heavenly Father. In being loved by God we must endure the hatred of the world. Let us have peace in that the world hated Christ, but Christ loves us. Sing Psalter 92:1, 4 & 5.

February 5 Read John 16:1-7

When Jesus died and was later taken to glory He left His disciples on this earth. But He did not leave them alone. He sent to them the Comforter which is the Holy Ghost. The disciples were a picture of all of Christ’s church. He left us to go to heaven to prepare a place for each one of us. But He sent to us the Holy Spirit to help us in this life. Each of us, no matter what our age, can rest assured that the Holy Spirit is with us and will help us. Each of us, no matter what our age, can rest assured that Christ is in heaven preparing a place for us. Let us live our lives knowing we have the Comforter with us and that we have the comfort of Lord’s Day One. Sing Psalter 203.

February 6 Read John 16:7-15

The Comforter is also the Spirit of truth. This has great meaning for us. Jesus is the truth was the testimony of John 14:6. We read elsewhere in Scripture that we must walk in the truth. John, in his third epistle, states that “He had no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” Young people, do you walk in truth? Is it evident to all around you that the Spirit of truth is in you? Do you seek the truth daily? Do you seek the truth as you learn your catechism and attend Bible studies? We must walk in the Spirit of truth and live out of that truth. Let us pray that the Spirit of truth may be in us and may be working in us every day. Sing Psalter 391.

February 7 Read John 16:16-22

Jesus speaks of two types of joy in this section. He speaks of the world’s joy. This type of joy is found in earthly things. It may be a sporting victory, a financial gain, or some other such thing. He also speaks of the church’s joy. This joy is in the glorification of Christ. This joy is knowing that Christ’s victory over the grave was for us. This joy is not fleeting as the first is, but this joy is eternally preserved by God for His people. Which joy do you seek after, people of God? Young people are you joyful in Christ? Do you show that joy in whatever you do? Let us be spiritually joyful and let us live out of that joy at all times. Sing Psalter 317.

February 8 Read John 16:23-27

People of God, we are to be praying people. This means people of all ages. From the youngest child to the oldest saint, we must lift up our hearts in prayer to our heavenly Father. We must ask for those things needful for both body and soul. We can do this in confidence that our Father will hear us. Our earthly fathers may forsake us but our heavenly Father never will. We must pray without ceasing. Children, do you pray? Young people, do you pray; do you pray publicly? Fathers and mothers do you lead your children in prayer and teach them to pray? We can pray because our Father hears us. We must pray because He commands us. Sing Psalter 235.

February 9 Read John 16:28-33

We have a most comforting verse in verse 33. The disciples were being called to lead Christ’s church in the face of persecution from all sides. They would be despised by those they knew as well as those whom they had never met. We, too, will be persecuted and despised because of our membership in the church of Christ. But in all of this, Christ promises us His peace. This is not the peace of the world. There is no peace in the world for God’s people. We will have tribulation Christ tells us. But this tribulation will be nothing because by His death, Jesus has conquered this world. In our darkest trials Jesus will be with us. What more can we ask? Sing Psalter 327.

February 10 Read John 17:1-8

Before Jesus led His disciples out toward Gethsemane and toward Calvary, He prayed with them and for them. This is often called His high priestly prayer. It embodies much of what He would do for His people while in the hands of enemies. In the first part of the prayer, He prays for the Father to be glorified. This we must do as well. We must pray for God’s glory. We must not pray for our glory, because of ourselves we have no glory. He then prays about the word that He has given us. This Word was Himself. It was the word of truth. What a blessed possession that word is! Let us use that Word daily to the glory of God. Sing Psalter 231.

February 11 Read John 17:9-15

Reread verses 9 and 15 again. What a wonderful thing that our Savior prays for us! He does not pray for everyone in this world. He prays for His sheep; those whom the Father has elected from all eternity and given to Him. What more do we need than to have our Savior praying for us? He prays that God will keep us in the hollow of His hand. He prays that in this wicked world we may find peace and comfort and protection. He also prays that His joy may fill us. Let us emulate our elder Brother and make this our prayer as well. If Jesus could pray these words on the night before He went to the cross, can we not pray these words every day? Let us pray in the confidence that God will hear us because of Christ’s intercessory prayer for us. Sing Psalter 339.

February 12 Read John 17:16-26

We are not of the world. These were Jesus’ words about us to His Father. Do we live that way people of God? Young people, do you live a life that shows that you are not of this world? Are you full of joy while you live that sort of a life? Jesus prays an antithetical prayer. In that prayer He prays that we may live an antithetical life. We must stop and consider this often. We must make a prayer for the ability and desire to live this type of a life. The world will know us by our antithetical life. They will not like us for it, in fact they will hate us for that life. Read over this whole prayer often and ponder on its beauty and truths. Sing Psalter 343.

February 13 Read John 18:1-9

In beginning this chapter we begin Jesus’ hour of trial. He suffered this hour for us. His hour was now come that He might be glorified and that we might have salvation. The soldiers come seeking Jesus of Nazareth. They seek Him not that they might find life in Him but rather to put Him to death. This was done that we might find life. Even as Caiaphas had prophesied only a week ago, one man would die for an entire nation. Even in His arrest we see His power. First of all we see His power as the soldiers fall to the ground. His word was power. Secondly we see His power as He endures this hour for our sakes. Let us give thanks to the Lord of our life and walk each day in His Word. Sing Psalter 47:1-4.

February 14 Read John 18:10-14

Once again we see the impetuous Peter who has forgotten His Lord’s words about Him. Peter is still looking for a kingdom on this earth and is ready to fight for His Master. Yes, Peter loves Jesus dearly, but Peter has to learn that our ways are not God’s ways. We are like Peter often. We, too, would take matters into our hands in order to bring about the kingdom of God that we want. How wrong of us that is! If we would be successful, there would be no kingdom. There will be no kingdom on this present earth. There is nothing that we can do and let us never forget that! Let us pray Thy will be done, and let us seek the kingdom that is not earthly but that is spiritual. Let us read God’s Word and bow before it. Sing Psalter 47: 5-8.

February 15 Read John 18:15-27

Peter has not only forgotten what His Lord has taught him for the past three years, he has forgotten what he has been told only a few hours before. Three times he denies Christ. Only when the cock crowed was Peter reminded of his sin and went and wept bitterly alone. We might be inclined to say how awfully Peter acted. But wait a minute! We are no better than Peter. We deny Christ every day. Each time that we do not walk in His ways we deny Him. Each time we choose to do something which we call fun but is actually sin, we deny Christ. We must listen to the crowing rooster in our mind and weep as we seek forgiveness from our Lord and Savior. Peter found forgiveness and so can we. What a blessing this is for us, the sheep of the one great Shepherd! Sing Psalter 47:9-11.

February 16 Read John 18:19-27

While Peter was denying His Lord, Jesus was being tried before the Sanhedrin. In our terms the trial was rigged. Caiaphas had pronounced the sentence a week ago. Now they were going through the motions to fulfill both the Jewish and Roman laws. Jesus was asked concerning His doctrine. It was not a secret. He was the Son of God come into this world to save His people from their sins. Do we proclaim this doctrine? This is the only true doctrine. To proclaim anything else is to go along with the Sanhedrin in its sham trial. Let us learn His Word, and let us be ready to use it at all times. This is the way Jesus would have us to go. Sing Psalter 184:1-3.

February 17 Read John 18:28-32

After being examined and mocked by both Annas and Caiaphas Jesus was turned over to the Roman governor Pilate. This was necessary in order to have Jesus condemned to death. Notice how the Sanhedrin makes a show of piety by not entering the Roman judgment hall in order to keep themselves pure for the Passover. In doing this they are walking the path God has ordained Jesus to go. They will have the ultimate Passover lamb slain not for them but for those elect God had given to Jesus. Do we make a show of piety when in effect we are killing Christ? People of God, we must see that only those elect lambs have been preserved in the blood of the Lamb. Let us walk in a way that is pleasing to God. Sing Psalter 184:4-6.

February 18 Read John 18:33-40

Pilate begins to examine Jesus to find out what He has done to make Him worthy of death. In his preliminary examination he begins to see that Jesus has done nothing wrong. Pilate is confused about the kingdom of which Jesus is speaking. Pilate does not know the truth because the truth is not in him. After understanding that Jesus has done nothing wrong, he offers a substitute to the Jews-the wretched Barabbas. This did not please the Jews and it would not give to us salvation. Only the perfect Lamb of God can give to us the peace that we need both in this life and in the life to come. Jesus must die to appease the wicked Jews and to save us from our sins. Sing Psalter 184:7-9.

February 19 Read John 19:1-7

People of God, is Jesus your king? Notice I did not say, “Have you made Jesus your king?” This is the false teaching of many around us today. We cannot make Jesus king. He is king. He is king by virtue of the fact that He is the Son of God. The Jews denied that Jesus was the Son of God even though there were so many proofs to the fact that He was the Son of God. The Roman soldiers began to mock Jesus because of the Jews’ unbelief. We must confess that Jesus is King. In doing so we must not give the world opportunity to mock our Lord and Savior. Sing Psalter 266.

February 20 Read John 19:8-15

Because Pilate could see that to condemn Jesus to death would be unjust, he began to find some way in which He could persuade the Jews to allow him to release Jesus. In doing so he was not only condemning himself but also the Jews as they chanted we have no king but Caesar. Yes, the Jews were wrong. Yes, Pilate was wrong. But what about us? Do we deny Jesus as we become friends with the world? Do we say we are friends with wicked men in order to despise Christ? We must be careful about such things. We must hail Jesus as our King. Why must we do this? We must do this because as our King He has wrought for us salvation. Thanks be to God for this unspeakable gift. Sing Psalter 262.

February 21 Read John 19:19-24

There is much significance in Pilate’s final acts toward Jesus. First of all, even thought the Jews despised it, he placed the proper title above Jesus’ head. Yes, Pilate was showing his disgust toward the Jews, but God used him to proclaim the truth of the matter. Secondly, in delivering Jesus to the Roman soldiers and as they took the very clothes from His back, the Scriptures were being fulfilled bit by bit which would bring about our salvation. All of this was in God’s council. All of this was for us. Let us look to the cross daily knowing that we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus from all of our sins. Sing Psalter 185:1-3.

February 22 Read John 19:25-27

In His human nature Jesus was the son of Mary. Simeon had prophesied shortly after His birth of the type of death Jesus was going to die. Mary now watched her beloved son being put to death. That Mary’s weeping touched Jesus we know as He assigns His beloved disciple John to care for her. Jesus was doing more here, however. Jesus was breaking those earthly ties which must be broken in order for us to have salvation. Mary was the virgin mother of Christ, but Jesus was the son of God and needed to go to His heavenly Father to prepare a place for Mary and for us. Jesus was a loving son to Mary. Jesus is a loving brother to us. Sing Psalter 185:4-6.

February 23 Read John 19:28-37

John gives to us a very brief summary of the hours Jesus spend that day on the cross. But each word is significant for our salvation. We see John showing to us those things which had been prophesied by the Old Testament prophets. The Holy Spirit inspired these words to John in order that John could use them in his preaching to make clear that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus suffered both in His human and divine natures on the cross. His thirst was human as He hung during that day. But His thirst was also divine. He thirsted for His Father’s love as He hung suspended between heaven and earth. His legs remained unbroken as the perfect lamb of God slain for us on that final Passover. Jesus died on the terms God had ordained. Jesus gave up the ghost because He had finished the work given to Him by His beloved father. Jesus died in peace so that we can die in peace. Sing Psalter 185:7-9.

February 24 Read John 19:38-42

Two men were affected by the death of Jesus. Joseph and Nicodemus had secretly confessed their Lord, but now with His death they are ready to confess Him openly. They would not let Him be cast aside like those who had no one to claim the body. Here too Scriptures had to be fulfilled. Read Isaiah 53 some time today and see how that chapter is fulfilled in this one. Yes, they loved Jesus. Yes, they now confessed their love for Jesus. Do we love Jesus? Do we confess our love for Him is spite of any opposition? Sing Psalter 187.

February 25 Read John 20:1-10

There is a period of silence drawn over Scriptures. We know nothing of the actions of Jesus’ disciples and other followers from his burial until the discovery Sunday morning of the empty grave. It must have been a sorrowful time for them. Peter was left alone with his guilt. The women mourned because Jesus’ burial had not been carried out to their satisfaction. Each of His followers must have wondered what next. But that Sunday morning became very busy after the empty grave was discovered! Peter and John did not believe the women and went to have a look for themselves. After seeing the grave they turn away, still not understanding what Jesus had told them about the third day. What about us? Do we really believe that Jesus arose from the dead? Do we show it in our daily activities? Do we celebrate His rising properly each and every Sunday? Let us reread the resurrection story and know that, yes, Jesus is risen from the dead! Sing Psalter 29.

February 26 Read John 20:11-18

John does not reveal each appearance of Jesus after His resurrection. But the ones which He shows are very significant. First of all, he treats the appearance to Mary Magdalene. This was Jesus’ first post-resurrection appearance. All the rest are embodied in it. Jesus appears to this woman out of whom He had cast seven devils. Mary loved her deliverer and His absence from the tomb troubled her. Jesus comes to her not merely to comfort her in her grief but to show her of her own resurrection. Mary and we must know of our own resurrection when Jesus comes again. It appears that Mary learns the lesson. What about us? Sing Psalter 28.

February 27 Read John 20:19-31

On the day of His resurrection Jesus makes several appearances. In today’s reading we have two of them. First of all, we have the appearance to the ten in the upper room. John does not recount the disciples’ fears but rather the work which Jesus was giving them to do. He sends them out with the Holy Spirit to bring the Word of the two-edged sword. They are the beginning of the church of all ages. Secondly he appears to Thomas. Thomas of the doubtful nature needs physical proof of Jesus’ resurrection. He did not appear that Sunday because of his nature. But Jesus shows Him and causes him to believe. We are blessed in the faith given to us to believe without seeing. We have the Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us. Sing Psalter 176.

February 28 Read John 21:1-14

Jesus in the forty days after His resurrection continues to teach his disciples and the church about the work that they must do. In these verses we see that God’s elect must be gathered by the preaching of the Word. This as well as other teachings of Jesus showed to the disciples what they must do as apostles. It is also instruction for us the church of the new dispensation. The Word must be preached. We may not all be preachers but each of us must cause that Word to be preached to the nations. This is our work of gratitude for the salvation wrought by Christ on the cross. Sing Psalter 362.

February 29 Read John 21:15-25

In the final verses of John’s gospel, we read of Peter’s confession. Peter had publicly sinned in denying His Lord. Jesus had appeared to Him and doubtless Peter made a confession of his sin to Jesus. But Peter needed to confess His sin before all of the disciples. This was necessary in order for Him to carry out the work he was ordained to do. In making Peter say that he loved Jesus three times before the other disciples, Peter and the disciples were assured of Peter’s confession. Peter’s work was to preach as is the meaning of the words feed my sheep and lambs. Peter would die in the work of Christ. But Peter would be received in glory. Let us confess our sins even before the church if necessary, and let us be ready to suffer persecution and even die if necessary for the sake of the work of Christ. Sing Psalter 141.