Watching Daily At My Gates

May 13   Read Mark 11

We now come to Mark’s account of the passion week, the week in which Christ walked toward the cross for our salvation because of his love and the love of the Father. As has been pointed out before, Mark is the gospel of action. We see that in these closing chapters of this gospel. Notice the verses that declare Christ’s action of cleansing the temple. In a short, succinct description this action is described. His terse words carry much meaning. God’s house is to be a house of prayer. Do we make it such? Do we only allow elements of worship that are prayerful in their execution? God ordained more than prayer in the temple. He ordains more than prayer in the worship service, but each element must be prayer-like. Let us come to God’s house each week, and let us give ourselves to him in prayer in all that we do. Sing Psalter 185.
May 14   Read Mark 12

The preaching of the word is a two-edged sword. For the elect it provides the means of grace that imparts to them their salvation. For the reprobate it cuts them off from that means of grace. The parables in this chapter especially point out this second element of the preaching. The scribes and Pharisees standing around Jesus saw themselves in the parables. Were they moved to asked forgiveness? Not at all, and as Jesus said, it was because they did not know the scriptures. They knew them intellectually but not experientially. What about us? How well do we know the scriptures? Do we know them as the widow, and are we ready to give all that we have to the kingdom in thanksgiving for what God has done for us? Sing Psalter 138.


May 15   Read Mark 13

As in Matthew’s gospel, we find Jesus’ discourse about the end times. Both Matthew and Mark recount the material in a similar manner. In verses 21 and 22, Mark warns the church to beware of those who posit a false Christ. We need that warning today. In many churches, on many radio programs, and especially in much of what passes for sacred music today, false Christs are portrayed. We must discern those false Christs and not allow them into our lives. Our children need to see the false Christ in the music to which they listen. We must make sure that the sermons we hear, the radio programs we listen to, and the songs we hear and sing speak only of Christ, the Son of the living God. We must, as the last word of this chapter tells us: “Watch.” Sing Psalter 334.


May 16   Read Mark 14

As the chapter is long and self-explanatory, I will not comment much upon it, but I call call to your attention to verse 7. Do we do good to the poor who are with us? Do we seek them out and show to them Christian love? Those poor are around us. They may be poor only for a time because of some circumstance in which God has placed them. Especially during that time do they need the mercies of Christ showered upon them by fellow believers. Sing Psalter 101.


May 17   Read Mark 15

We see three items of note in this chapter that details Christ’s trial before Pilate, his crucifixion, and his death. First, note the silence. We know that Christ had other oral utterances during the trial. But we also know that he fulfilled Isaiah 53: “…as a sheep before her shearers is dumb.”   Second, only one cross word is mentioned in Mark, but yet what a word! Christ was forsaken by God that we may live. Is there anything else that needs to be said about the mode of our salvation? Finally he gave up his life. Even Pilate was surprised at the rapidity of Jesus’s death. He died that we may live. Wonderful Savior! Sing Psalter 47.


May 18  Read Mark 16

Mark in his concise way details for us three steps of Christ’s state of exaltation. We see his resurrection and appearances to his followers: then in one verse we find his ascension and being seated at God’s right hand. Mark leaves him poised, as it were, for his coming for the final judgement of all things. Our salvation did not end in Christ’s birth, his death, and his burial. The culmination of our salvation is his final coming when he will receive us unto himself. Let us wait for that day by watching and praying.  Sing Psalter 33.


May 19   Read Luke 1

We begin the gospel written by a trained scientist, a doctor. The Holy Spirit uses Luke’s gifts to show to God’s people the gospel in this unique light. We also see a Gentile who explains to his Gentile audience the Jewish customs that were evident and fulfilled in Christ. In this first chapter we have the announcement of the births of two babies. These two babies are intertwined in salvation: John was to be the forerunner of the Christ. In the songs of Zacharias and Mary are beautiful words concerning our salvation. Read them, consider them, and love them. Sing Psalter 198.


May 20   Read Luke 2

Many of us can recite long sections of Luke 2 by heart. What do those words mean to us? Are they just words that we learned for a Christmas program? Are they just words that we have learned because we have heard them repeatedly? Or are they words of comfort and joy? The joy of our salvation can be found in those beautiful words. Jesus was humiliated by this lowly birth for us. Is there no greater news? Let us not just know these words as mere facts, but let us know them in our hearts as the way of our salvation. Sing Psalter 4.


May 21   Read Luke 3

After Luke 2 scripture draws a veil over Christ’s life until he was about thirty years old. It does us no good to speculate what that life may have been like. Our salvation is contained in what scripture does tell us. In the first verses of this chapter we see those who had a prominent role in Christ’s crucifixion. Then Luke picks up his gospel narrative with the work of John the Baptist as he prepared the way for the coming of Christ. Before we have a genealogy to show Christ’s human nature, we have his announcement to the people in the way of his baptism. This account also gives to us proof of his divinity as the second person of the Trinity.  What we have in this chapter is the essence of our salvation in a nutshell. Sing Psalter 187.


May 22  Read Luke 4

After the account of Jesus’s temptations, we have the account of his rejection in Nazareth. Why was he rejected? He was rejected because he preached the truth. Jesus did not come to this earth just to do miracles. These miracles were only signs of the grace that was shown in his preaching of the word. Imagine, here was the Word preaching the word. What would have our response been? Our human nature would have responded just as the townspeople of Nazareth did. Only by grace can we sit under the preaching of the word from week to week and soak in the wonder-words of life. How do we sit under the preaching of that word? Sing Psalter 85.


May 23   Read Luke 5

Much is covered in this chapter. Jesus is shown as one who heals not just the body from its physical ailments, but especially the soul from its spiritual ailments. We see the two reactions to that preaching. Some, who believe by grace, are thankful and follow Jesus. The others, who are cut to the quick by that preaching, mock and scoff. What do we do when we hear the preaching? What is our attitude to the preaching of the word from sabbath to sabbath? Are we following Jesus in our whole life? Sing Psalter 311.


May 24   Read Luke 6

What must disciples of Jesus do? As those called to follow the Son of God, we must obey the Father’s commandments. One of those commandments concerns keeping the sabbath day. Do keep it like the world and desecrate that day? Do we keep it like the Pharisees, with many man-made invented laws? Or do we keep it like true disciples remembering the sabbath day to keep it holy and thereby we honor the Lord of the sabbath? When we do the latter, then we will find the blessedness described in the last part of the chapter a real joy. Sing Psalter 137.


May 25   Read Luke 7

In this chapter we see Christ’s mercy and compassion upon his people. First, we have two miraculous healings. The truths found in those healings are truths that we need to follow in our lives. No matter what comes upon us in this life we must have the faith of those individuals. Sometimes we need reassurance even as John did. Where do we find that reassurance? We find it in the Word, as Jesus conveyed him to John. Finally we must come to Jesus weeping as we repent of our sins. In that way we will find and enjoy the compassion of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Sing Psalter 283.


May 26   Read Luke 8

“Where is your faith?” Those were the words of Jesus to his disciples as they faced a storm on the Sea of Galilee. These disciples had seen many mighty works performed by Christ. Yet in the face of a personal crisis, they panicked even with the Lord of creation with them. Are we any different? Do we confess that we believe in Christ and who he is and what he has done, but when we are touched personally, do we panic? The words that Christ spoke unto his disciples, he speaks to us daily. If your faith is low, reread this chapter. See what Christ has done for his people; see what he will do for you. Sing Psalter 271.


May 27   Read Luke 9

Are we fit for the kingdom of heaven? After reading the words of this chapter, which is the beginning of the road to the cross for our Savior, we must ask about our desire to walk that road. Are we willing to take of the cross of Christ and bear the shame of that cross even as he did, as we wait for the coming of the kingdom? Can we live the words of Peter’s confession when troubles strike? As the writer to the Hebrews puts it, he endured the cross and despised the shame. Why did he do this? He did it for us; those for whom the Father had given him. He did it so that we may live. May we follow him all the days of our lives. Sing Psalter 234.


May 28   Read Luke 10

Which of the people in this chapter are we? Are we the ones beaten and despised by the established church? Are we those who left a man in need alongside of the road? Are we good Samaritans? Do we attempt to trap Jesus? Are we Marthas, so busy that we forget what are the good things? Are we Marys, who cling to the words of Christ? Or are we those who answer the call to go and reap the fields of the world in Christ’s name? We are one of those people: which one? Sing Psalter 195.


May 29   Read Luke 11

Can we pray to our Father for all things and also withstand the troubles those in the world bring upon us? This is the teaching of Jesus in this chapter. He starts with prayer. At the behest of his disciples, Jesus gives to them and us a form of prayer that has served the church from Christ’s days until now. It is only a form. We can and must adapt it to fit the particular needs that we may have because of his sovereign hand. In praying daily, we receive the strength to fit against all the wiles of the devil and the hosts he sends against us. We will know how to answer those who call into question our faith. We will know how to stand in the last days. Let us pray, people of God, and let us pray often. Sing Psalter 386.


May 30   Read Luke 12

From warning us about Satan’s wiles, Christ teaches us about the trials that will be ours in the last days. He not only warns us about those trials, but he also shows to us that the cause and outcome of those trials are in the Father’s sovereign hand. We need not fear, as he tells the church in verse 32. We can look trouble in the face by looking past it to the face of our heavenly Father. In that face we will find the grace to withstand all trouble. Look to the Father, people of God, and look by faith. Sing Psalter 145.


May 31   Read Luke 13

Are we seeking to enter into the strait gate by walking upon the narrow path on this earth? Sometimes that narrow path does not seem so desirable. The wide path that leads to the wide gate seems to have a nicer way. That way seems to be more fun. If we choose that path, we will be selecting the same path of Israel of old who choose the worship of idols because it pleased their flesh more than the service of God. Let us follow him who leads us on that narrow path and will shelter us with his wings when trouble looms. Jesus is heading toward the cross; are we walking the same route? Sing Psalter 308.


June 1   Read Luke 14

Are we ready to sit at the feast of the great supper? Or do we have our excuses ready-made why we cannot attend. Jesus’s parable is very pointed. We must examine our lives and see if our lives are leading us to refuse to attend that great supper. Are we too busy for the things of the kingdom? Do we have other desires than the kingdom causes that God has placed before us? Do we seek that kingdom, believing that God will give to us the earthly needs that we have? Reading through this chapter more than once will show us how to be ready when God commands us to come. When we come, we will be blessed. Of that there is no doubt. Sing Psalter 120.


June 2   Read Luke 15

In this trilogy of parables dealing with lost things, we see two similarities. First, the obvious one is that all of them deal with something that has gone lost for some reason. Second, and more important, each of these parables deals with us. Each parable deals with a different aspect of the life of the Christian. If we say that one of these parables does not characterize us, we are no better than the Pharisees who did not think that they were lost. We are the sheep, we are the coin, and we are the son. Only by grace have we been found and brought back into the fold. Sing Psalter 342.


June 3   Read Luke 16

What would you rather have? Would it be the riches of this earth like the rich man, or the riches found in heaven like Lazarus? While we may say that the answer is easy, how are we living? Do we work on this earth to save up treasures in heaven? Or are the comforts and luxuries of this life more attractive? Which master do we serve? Is it our heavenly Father, or is it the god of this world? Pray for the grace to know what is important and to seek that which is above. Sing Psalter 403.


June 4   Read Luke 17

As Jesus was making his way toward Jerusalem, he was instructing his disciples in many things. They understood what was being taught but not always why; thus their simple request, “Increase our faith.” They understood that what their master was teaching them was important, but they wanted to know more. Are we like that? Do we delve into the scriptures with that prayer on our lips? Do we see the truths of scripture as they are unfolded, or do we want them to say what are our natural desires? Let us not only seek the truth, but let us be truly thankful for the salvation that removed from us the leprosy of sin. Sing Psalter 394


June 5   Read Luke 18

This chapter begins with some instruction on prayer, goes on to address the doctrine of salvation, and finishes with Christ, obviously pointed toward the way of our salvation, the cross. In each of the four parts of the chapter we are instructed by way of some person. In the first we are taught that we must often go to our heavenly Father in prayer. Second, we are shown that our prayers must center on God’s glory. Then we see that we must put away our earthly desires and seek that which is above. Finally we see that we must be insistent in seeking our heavenly Father like the blind beggars were. Sing Psalter 384.


June 6   Read Luke 19

As a stone rolling down a mountainside gains momentum as it goes, so did Christ’s ascent to the cross. Today’s chapter shows him with his true mission, seeking the lost sheep of Israel—in other words, seeking us. Second, we see more instruction on the true kingdom. Are we looking, waiting, and praying for the kingdom found in heaven, not on this earth? Finally, we see the passion week begin with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. While the world may not think much of that entry, for us it was the grandest of entries on this earth, for it signaled the final steps of Jesus’ road to our salvation. Hosanna! Sing Psalter 318


June 7   Read Luke 20

Jesus had to fight his enemies to the very end. The leaders of the church at that day wanted to discredit his work of salvation, and they brought many attempts to trip him up in doctrine and life. Even today many who call themselves church and leaders of those so-called churches seek to take credit for the work of salvation accomplished by Christ on the cross. The ideas of the well-meant offer, federal vision, and others seek to strip God and his Son Christ of their rightful glory. May we see that they are no better than the Pharisee’s of Jesus’ day, and may we seek the wonderful words of life found in scripture. Sing Psalter 302.


June 8   Read Luke 21

After the touching account of the widow and her last mites, Jesus instructs his disciples and us what must come to pass before our salvation is fully realized. Are we like the poor widow? Do we give for the kingdom causes, leaving our physical needs in our heavenly Father’s hands? Like the disciples, we must be instructed that Christ’s kingdom is not of this earth. All of man’s edifices will be destroyed, and the coming kingdom will be established on spiritual principles. Let us learn from both the widow and the disciples. Sing Psalter 13.


June 9   Read Luke 22

Today’s chapter is lengthy, so I wish to give us time to enjoy its depths. Here are questions to guide us. Are we like Judas or Peter? Or do we have characteristics and tendencies of both? When we partake of the Lord’s supper we must examine ourselves and remove from ourselves those tendencies. Sing Psalter 203.


June 10   Read Luke 23

Certain persons appear in scripture of whom we know little. But their actions or words speak volumes. We do not know who Simon was. But his action of bearing Christ’s cross must instruct us. It is not a literal cross we bear, but the cross of belonging to Christ. May we confess as the centurion did that Jesus was a righteous man who died for our righteousness. Finally, do we have the love of Joseph as he gave up his own tomb for the savior? Read the Bible looking for these examples of how we must live. Sing Psalter 312.


June 11   Read Luke 24

Which resurrection story is your favorite? Is it that of the women who loved Jesus so much that they were drawn to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus? Is it of Peter who found forgiveness from his sin of denying his Lord and Savior? Is it of the travelers to Emmaus whose eyes had to be opened to the truths concerning the work of Christ on this earth? Don’t stop with the resurrection. Embrace the doctrines of the ascension, sitting at God’s right hand, and return to glory. In those doctrines as well of those of his humiliation we find the complete way of our salvation. Sing Psalter 28.