Watching Daily At My Gates

June 12  Read John 1

The theme of the fourth gospel is that Jesus is truly divine. This John sets forth already in the first several verses of this chapter as well as very explicitly in verse 34. Obviously there were those who denied this fact, and to counter their claims the Holy Spirit uses John to tell the good news from this aspect. Those who doubt creation must cut out this first chapter from their Bibles, along with all the other references to that act of God. We see that Christ is no afterthought to God’s work of salvation for us, but rather is the purpose of the whole counsel of God, for in his son God glorifies himself. To do away with Christ’s divinity is to destroy God’s glory. Sing Psalter 40.


June 13  Read John 2

In this gospel we have recorded Jesus’ first miracle. These miracles were means by which our savior showed to his disciples and to all the church the grace that he would bestow on his elect people. From various angles this unmerited favor of God is shown that we may know him, which is another purpose of John’s gospel. Our marriage form mentions this miracle as proof that Jesus sanctioned marriage. As we live in marriage or seek marriage, may we know that God ordained this good institution for us. Let us use it as a true picture of the relationship between Christ and his bride, the church. Sing Psalter 125.


June 14  Read John 3

By night Nicodemus came to Jesus. He was a member of the sect of the Jewish leaders called the Pharisees. He did not dare to come by day, but yet he was moved by the Holy Spirit to find out more of this man, whom he called a rabbi, and what he taught. Jesus taught him about the gospel. The words of verse 16, twisted by many, show to the elect the gospel in a nutshell. We know that the same Holy Spirit continued to work in Nicodemus as he showed his love for the savior at his death. Do we dare to come to Jesus by day? Sing Psalter 141.


June 15  Read John 4

Jesus came to save the lost sheep. Sometimes those sheep were in undesirable places such as Samaria. Sometimes those sheep have unparalleled faith. All of them need the living water. Just as we cannot do with out the familiar clear liquid in our physical lives, so we cannot do with out the living water in our spiritual lives. There is only one shepherd who leads us to that water. May we follow him by seeking him in his word. May we daily search the scriptures to drink of the living water, and in drinking be refreshed. Sing Psalter 53.


June 16  Read John 5

Another of Jesus’ miracles for a helpless man stirred up the ire of the Pharisees. These men were so full of unbelief that they could not see the work of mercy performed by Christ. They were so blinded by their own importance that to think of some one else receiving the praise of men infuriated them. Of course, they missed the whole point of Jesus’ miracles. It was not to receive man’s praise that he healed, but rather to establish himself as the son of God who came to take away the sins of his people. It was only someone divine who could perform such miracles, and it was only someone divine who could bear the wrath of God. We must guard against the thoughts of the Pharisees in our lives. Sing Psalter 85.


June 17  Read John 6

Do we seek the bread of life or do we seek bread? This was the question Jesus put to those who followed him across the sea after being miraculously fed. There are many things that could be said about that miracle and the one that followed. However, the important idea that we must grasp is that by his divine nature Jesus showed his true identity. Only those who were and are given the eyes of faith can see Jesus for who he is, the savior of his people. Do you see? Sing Psalter 311.


June 18  Read John 7

Such teaching! Such preaching! Such unbelief! Those are the subjects of this chapter. Jesus does not spend a lot of time in Jerusalem, the home of the “church” in those days. His reasoning is that his hour was not yet come. Spending time in the nest of hatred would have hastened that hour from an earthly viewpoint, since we know that all things are in God’s hands. When he appeared in Jerusalem he encountered the church’s leaders’ hatred because of the doctrine that he espoused that so differed from theirs. We must seek the true bread and the living water that comes from the doctrine of our savior. Sing Psalter 258.


June 19  Read John 8

Jesus’ doctrine that he was the Son of God evoked the two responses that come from all true preaching. Some believe and are brought to eternal life. Others do not believe and fall farther from the truth into eternal damnation. While we do not attempt to judge the hearts of the individuals of the group that surrounded Jesus this day (he alone could do that), we can say that their reactions and teaching did condemn them. The day that the Son of God would be lifted up by them would be the day that they would be thrown out of their offices. Let us believe and in our belief cling to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God. Sing Psalter 251


June 20  Read John 9

Notice the difference between the blind man and the Pharisees. One was blind but was given sight. The others were blind and apparently could not be given sight. The blind man, when he was brought back to Jesus, confessed his faith and said, “I believe.” The Pharisees at this time (as we will make no judgments about the future), refuse to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. May we be as the blind man and confess our faith in Jesus, the Son of the living God. Sing Psalter 164.


June 21  Read John 10

It was appropriate that Jesus used the figures of sheep, sheepfolds, and shepherds as he battled the Pharisees over his true identity. These men were called to be shepherds of God’s flock. They were not true shepherds and led the sheep away from the paths of God’s word and the safety of the true church. Jesus identifies himself as the true shepherd and further as the door of the fold. It is only through Christ that the elect will enter the final fold in heaven. May we hear the voice of the true shepherd each week as we attend to the hearing of God’s word. May that word lead us through the one true door into heaven. There is only one. Sing Psalter 52.


June 22  Read John 11

The death and resurrection of Lazarus prefigured the death and resurrection of Christ in many ways. First, it showed the glory of God. That is the reason that all things happen in this earth: God is glorified. Second, it showed the disciples how the Son of God would accomplish his purpose in a very short time. They could not put all the pieces of the puzzle together yet, but they did later. Third, it set in motion the counsel of God concerning the way to our salvation. As the Jews met and Caiaphas made his statement, we see the how of our salvation. Jesus died, God was glorified, and we were saved. Thanks be to God. Sing Psalter 47.


June 23  Read John 12

John not only unfolds the glory of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity, but he also shows to us the certainty of his resurrection. It was not enough that Jesus die on the cross. It was also necessary that he bodily be raised from that grave. Both the activities on the days we call Good Friday and Easter were necessary for our salvation. Notice also how the unbelief of the Pharisees is unmasked. Many of them knew the truth intellectually. Some, like Nicodemus, knew it unto salvation. Many stumbled and fell over the stone rejected by men. Do we know, do we believe, do we sing “Hosanna”? Sing Psalter 318.


June 24  Read John 13

John covers a lot of ground in this chapter. Notice that much of it concerns Peter’s actions. I know that it is not to discredit Peter, but I believe that it is to show Peter’s eventual rise to head the Jerusalem church. But in order to do this, Peter, and all of God’s children, must learn to be servants. And not only servants, but the lowest of servants: we must learn to wash the feet of others. We do this by helping anyone, no matter what their station in life is, with the most menial task. We must not be afraid to get our hands and knees dirty in reflecting the love Christ showed to us when he died on the cross. We must wash one another’s feet. Sing Psalter 25.


June 25  Read John 14

A blue-covered Bible resides on a shelf in my house. It is the Bible presented to me by my parents for memorizing John 14. But they gave me more than a Bible. They gave me the knowledge of a very powerful chapter in the Bible. Reread and ponder verses 1, 6, and 27. A Christian can rely on these verses to guide him through the turmoil of this life. Commit portions of Scripture to memory, people of God, for in doing so you will hide God’s word in your heart that you might not sin against him. Sing Psalter 334.


June 26  Read John 15

On the night in which he was betrayed Jesus spoke these powerful and moving words. First, he commanded the disciples to love one another, even as he laid down his life for his people. This is one of the great commandments. We must follow this in order to preserve the unity in the church. Second, he warned them of the hatred of the world. How does the world treat us? Are we worthy of their hatred or do we compromise the doctrines of Christ to keep peace with all men? Finally, as in the last chapter, he speaks to them about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would lead the church into the new dispensation. Let us follow his leading. Sing Psalter 221.


June 27  Read John 16

People of God, do you seek peace? Do you know where to find it? This chapter and the preceding two give us ample instruction on this subject. Peace is not found in the philosophies of this world. Peace is not found in some substance found in this world. Peace is given to the child of God by the Holy Spirit, the Comforter sent from the Father by the Son. This is the only way of true peace. There was much turmoil in the disciples’ minds on this night of Jesus’ betrayal. We might have much turmoil in our minds during various situations on this earth. The only comfort that will quiet our fears is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Seek the peace that passes understanding. Sing Psalter 309.


June 28  Read John 17

In this chapter is Jesus’high priestly or sacerdotal prayer. As he closes his discourse to his disciples about life without him and of what is expected of them, he turns to his Father and ours in prayer. In that prayer he prays not only for his disciples but also for the whole church of the new dispensation. He prays for us! In verse 9 he limits those for whom he prayers to those whom the Father has given him. He does not pray or nor will he die for all men. As we read this prayer let us see that Christ prayed for us, died for us, and continues to uphold us before the Father’s throne of grace, and then let us pray. Sing Psalter 235.


June 29  Read John 18

John in this chapter captures the high points of the activity of Jesus’ betrayal and trial. He also in a few verses details only the high points of Peter’s denial of his Savior. But in the details that he gives, John shows us the essence of our salvation. Jesus, who knew all things, including Peter’s actions, walked the way that God ordained to the cross for us. In this chapter we see evidences once more of Jesus’ divinity, as is a theme of this gospel. Do we seek a kingdom not of this world? Do we realize that this world is not and never will be our home? We need to look above where Christ sits as king and wait the day that he will usher us into the new heavens and earth by his death on the cross. Sing Psalter 203.


June 30  Read John 19

In this chapter we learn of the end of Jesus’ trial, his sentence, his crucifixion, and his burial. Three of the cross words are told by John, all of them important, but none so important as the final one: “It is finished.” Found in those three words is the victory for us. Christ finished his work on this earth. He finished his work in undergoing the wrath of God for our sins. Yes, there are three more steps to his work for us, but this one was the end of his work of crushing the head of Satan. It was a victorious cry, and it was for us. Thanks be to God. Sing Psalter 185.


July 1  Read John 20

The first of the steps of Jesus’ exaltation is found in this chapter. He arose. In that resurrection he gave us the promise of our resurrection. In that resurrection he gave us the hope of eternal life with him in heaven. Peter found those things even as the Savior came to him and comforted him in the forgiveness of the sin of denying the Christ. Yet we must believe in that resurrection, or else we become like Thomas. In the upper room Jesus gave the disciples the Holy Spirit. In a short time that Spirit would be given to the whole church. Let us live the life of the spirit and bring forth the fruits of that spirit. Sing Psalter 391.


July 2  Read John 21

Peter’s confession and forgiveness had two steps. He privately confessed his sin to Jesus on the morning of the resurrection. But then he had to confess his sin and receive forgiveness publicly before all the disciples. This is a necessary step. Peter’s sin was public and needed a public confession. While it might have grieved Peter, it was necessary for the disciples who pictured the church to hear that confession and receive it. This is the way that confession of public sin must be handled today. It is a blessing for the church and for forgiven sinners.  Sing Psalter 83.


July 3  Read Acts 1

The writer of this book, Luke the physician, continues were he left off in his gospel. He addresses the same man, one Theophilus. He begins by expanding the details of Christ’s ascension. This ascension is important for us, as now our advocate sits at God’s right hand making intercession for us and preparing us for the day when he will return to this earth and gather his people into glory. Before he leaves he charges his disciples with the task of spreading the gospel throughout the world. Representing the church of the new dispensation, Christ’s disciples return to Jerusalem awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Sing Psalter 182


July 4  Read Acts 2

Ten days after his ascension Christ poured out his spirit upon the church in the persons of the disciples who, as they had been commanded by Christ, were waiting in Jerusalem. The signs of the third person of the Trinity truly represented him. As we see the effects of the wind, so we see the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and in the church. As fire cleanses, so the Holy Spirit enables us to walk a life of sanctification. As the Spirit gives the church utterance, she spreads the church throughout the world. All of these things point to the next step in Christ’s work, his return to judgment. For that we wait. Let us watch and pray. Sing Psalter 287.


July 5  Read Acts 3

As we saw in the previous chapter, Christ through the Spirit enabled the fisherman Peter to preach. His preaching was powerful because it was the word, which is Christ. As we attend church from sabbath to sabbath, let us seek that living Word. Let us see that it is not just a man preaching to us, but it is one who has been called and sent by the same Spirit who enabled Peter to preach with power. And young men, seek to see if you have been called. While Christ today has personally called no preacher, true preachers have a calling that they must not deny. Preaching gathers the church; we need preachers. Sing Psalter 263.


July 6  Read Acts 4

The early days of the church were filled with turmoil. This was not an internal struggle, but one in which the devil tried to extinguish the flames that flickered within the members both individually and corporately. Even though Christ’s death had bound Satan, he still worked hard against the body of Christ. By the Spirit church members could say publicly as they faced persecution that they had to speak the things of Christ. Is this our testimony? Do we quench the Spirit, or do we fight Satan head on when he rears his ugly head? By the Spirit we need to fear no one or no false teacher. By the Spirit we too can speak the things of Christ, our exalted king. Sing Psalter 4


July 7  Read Acts 5

Satan turned his wiles to another corner. In the persons of Ananias and Sapphira, they faced a crisis within the church. Discipline was meted out swiftly. It was not a man-centered discipline, but one ordained by God. It was the severest remedy for the problem of sin. This had a two-fold effect. Pretenders to the faith were restrained; believers were encouraged. Once more the church was brought before the authorities. Once more they faced the problem head on with the well-known words, “We must obey God rather than man.” Do we speak those words when faced with adversity? Do we live out of those words? Do we teach them to our children by word and actions? Sing Psalter 109.


July 8  Read Acts 6

While Christ was on this earth he told the disciples that the poor would be among them always. In this chapter the church was called to establish the New Testament equivalent of the priesthood as a special office. Deacons were ordained and given the task of distributing the mercies of Christ to those in need. These were not mere financial officers; these men were charged with the task of bringing the comfortable words of the Bible and assistance to those whom God had made poor. We may never look at this office as second-rate or as a stepping stone to eldership. We must use the office to dispense those mercies of Christ even as he has given them to us. Sing Psalter 24.


July 9  Read Acts 7

After being ordained as a deacon, Stephan showed himself to be an excellent ambassador for Christ. He preached in the synagogue, and when challenged about his preaching, was not afraid to answer. For that he was taken before the Jewish officials. There too he was not afraid to give an answer. That answer was from scripture, and it so infuriated the council that he was ordered to be put to death. Are we ready ambassadors for Christ? Are we willing to speak the truth no matter what the consequences? For most of us in today’s world the consequences are light in comparison to what Stephan faced, but are we willing to endure scorn for the cause of Christ? Sing Psalter 253.


July 10  Read Acts 8

What does Christianity mean to us? In this fast-moving account of the acts of the church of Christ, many things are happening in that church. The gospel is being spread by many means. Are we Simons, looking to buy our way into what might be considered the glamour places of the church? Are we Philips, going to preach wherever the Spirit leads us? Are we found reading our Bibles even as we go from place to place in our daily lives? In Christ’s church each Christian has a calling? Are we carrying it out? We must not hide our light under a bushel. We must live the gospel so all may know whom we serve, and as the Heidelberg Catechism tells us, bring others to Christ by our godly walk. Sing Psalter 358.


July 11  Read Acts 9

In this chapter we see the different directions Christ directed his church. First, he called Saul who was to be a missionary to the Gentiles. While most ministers do not receive so striking a call today, God still calls men to go and serve him in the ministry and on the mission field. Others he calls to be elders and deacons. Men of all ages, are you listening and heeding that call? Second, we see other acts of Peter, whose main work was among the Jews. There were Jews who would leave the church of the old dispensation and follow Christ as preached by the apostles. Miracles, such as the raising of Dorcas, were used as signs of the power of that preaching. Let us pray for the gathering of that church here on earth, for as that church is gathered, the coming of Christ is ever closer. Sing Psalter 194.