Watching Daily At My Gates

May 21 Read John 11:1-6

Notice two things about this short passage of Scripture. First of all we see that sickness is for the glory of God. This may be a hard thing to understand; it certainly was for the disciples. Even though sickness came into the world as a consequence of sin, it serves the ultimate purpose that God may be glorified. For the child of God, as Lazarus undoubtedly was, it is not the way to spiritual damnation. We must always remember this as we sit by the bedside of a loved one, or as we suffer the pains of some sickness ourselves. We must be reminded of the truth of Romans 8:28. The second thing, which I will touch on more later, is the truth of Christ’s human nature. We can be assured even in our sickness that Christ has paid for our sins by undergoing in his earthly body a life of suffering on this earth. He loved Lazarus, and he loves us.

May 22 Read John 11:7-16

In these verses we see that Jesus is looking toward the end of his work here on earth. He knew that to go to Lazarus would bring him one step closer to his death. But he also knew that this was ordained of the Father that he might bring salvation to his people. The disciples were having trouble comprehending all of this. We are no better. Even as we watch for Christ’s return, we must remember that he is coming, and that this world is not our home. This is not easy sometimes. Let us pray for the grace to look ahead for Christ’s return and to watch and pray each day.

May 23 Read John 11:17-27

In verse 25 we see another of the “I Am’s” of Christ. Jesus speaks this word of comfort in response to Martha’s confession of her faith in Christ. Christ is speaking not only of life in this present world which he will give back to Lazarus, but also of life in the world to come. Our calling is to believe in Christ the Son of God. He is the only way to eternal life. This is another one of John’s messages. Only Christ has the words of life. Do we believe this? Do we live this? Let us live lives that show our belief in Christ who came into the world and died so that we may live.

May 24 Read John 11:28-35

Jesus is coming to the end of his journey on this earth. Both his human and divine natures are touched by the events in front of him. First of all, he sees the pain and suffering caused by the death of Lazarus, his friend. Secondly, he sees those who supposedly are to be comforting but are not. He knows that some of those same Jews would be shouting, “Crucify him!” in a very short time. Jesus’s weeping is important for us. It took someone with the same human nature as ours to suffer the death of the cross in order that we would not suffer the pain of eternal death. Let us give thanks for the weeping Jesus who wept for us that we may enter the place where there will be no more weeping.

May 25 Read John 11:36-44

What a joyous scene that must have been for Lazarus’s family at that gravesite! It is far different from most family scenes at gravesites. The tears of sorrow flow freely, as earthly ties are broken. But yet there will be a scene of greater joy someday. That will be the day when we are all freed from the bondage of sickness, pain, and death. That will be when Christ will return on the clouds of glory and receive all his church to himself. Then Jesus will not groan because of unbelief, but he will receive our wholehearted praise for all that he has done for us. Let us look through our tears at the grave as a place of victory for our loved ones as they have passed through death and entered the place of eternal rest.

May 26 Read John 11:45-57

There are two items of note in this passage. First of all, you see the two results of the preaching of the Word. Some believed, and some did not and ran to tell the rulers of what Jesus had done. These are always the results of true preaching. Secondly, we see an ungodly man prophesying of the result of Christ’s death. His death would bring about salvation for all of God’s people from every land. While Caiaphas was looking out for himself, he unwittingly spoke the truth. It was that truth which is our comfort. Jesus died for us. He did not die for the Jewish nation. In fact, Rome would destroy them approximately forty years later. Jesus died for us. What a comfort! What a blessing!

May 27 Read John 12:1-8

Do we love Jesus as much as Mary did? Are we willing to take what we have and offer it unto him for his sake alone? That is what Mary did. In doing so she showed her love for him at whose feet she loved to sit and hear his words? Are we like Mary? Do we like to hear the words of Christ? Do we love those words so much that we will give up our riches for them? Judas did not see that love because there was no love of Christ for him. Therefore, there was no love in him either. Let us love Jesus who gave his life for our sins. Let us live a life of love for Jesus and the things of his kingdom.

May 28 Read John 12:4-11

Is Jesus callous towards the needs of the poor? The answer, of course, is certainly not. His statement is one of truth, and therefore is stated that we may learn from it? We have poor, in many places in Scripture we find our obligation to care for them; therefore, they are there for us to help. These poor are among us. We do not need to look far away for them. They are on our path. Jesus said that they are always “with” you. What is our response? Do we care for the poor that are on our path? In doing so, we carry out the command to clothe, feed, and visit Christ. Let us busy ourselves carrying out this mandate of Christ.

May 29 Read John 12:12-19

Each of the actions and activities of Jesus was perfectly calculated. This was done, not like man would plan an event, but rather for his disciples’ sake and ultimately for our sake. The disciples would later understand what was done and would use these things in their preaching. For us, we are part of the world that is gone after him. Do we see this? Do we see how God’s providence leads to our salvation in one way or another? Jesus’s triumphal entry is only a small picture of his real triumphal entry when he comes on the clouds of heaven to bring us into eternal glory! Let us watch for our king. Let us do this by praying often and looking at the signs of his coming which are all around us.

May 30 Read John 12:20-30

Verse 24 gives to us a picture that we can carry with us all of our lives. Most of us have some idea of how seed plants grow. When those seeds reside in the package, all that we have is the pretty picture found on the front. But when we place those seeds into the ground—bury them as it were—those seeds sprout and bring forth real fruit. Many of us dream of fresh corn, tomatoes, or beans during the winter. In the summer we get to taste the real thing. Christ had to die. Alive, he was only a picture of what he would be after his death, burial, and then resurrection. We have the promise already today. We are the fruit of his burial. What a blessing that is for us! Thanks be to God for this bountiful gift!

May 31 Read John 12:31-41

By grace we are children of the light. It is not of anything that we can do; it is not of anything that we must do. It is truly by grace alone that we can walk in that light. As we read God’s Word, we can see the light, and by that light we know how we must walk. We have many opportunities today to hear that light, to read that light, and to discuss it. Let us make good use of those opportunities. For the day cometh when the world will attempt to extinguish the light, but we know that light is in our hearts. When we see the glory of that light let us walk in it.

June 1 Read John 12:42-50

Are the words of verse 43 about us? By nature they are. By nature we would not want to do anything that would cause disapproval from those around us. Oh, we might say that we want God’s praise, but when it gets right down to it, what are our actions? We need daily to fight against this. We need to begin the day in prayer asking for help in fighting this sin. We need to ask for this help throughout the day. We need close the day in prayer asking for forgiveness for this sin. In the end what will Christ say? “Well done thou good and faithful servant” or “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

June 2 Read John 13:1-11

Jesus left us a powerful example before he died. The task of washing feet was assigned to the lowest of servants in his day. Yet, that is what he did for us. He came to this earth, humbled himself, and died the death of the cross for our sakes. Are we willing to wash one another’s feet? Are we willing to stoop down and help those in need even if it is a very menial task? This is what we must do if we are to follow Jesus. This is all part of “loving our neighbors as ourselves.” Let us watch for the opportunities to serve those God has placed in our path even to washing their feet.

June 3 Read John 13:12-20

We have a continuation of yesterday’s thought. Verse 16 sums up those thoughts. Jesus tells the disciples, and in telling the disciples, tells the church that we must wash one another’s feet. We must all serve each other. We are all his servants; and, therefore, this command comes to all of us. It is a specific class of people however. Notice verse 18. “I know whom I have chosen.” Judas was not included in the group of servants. Not all men can serve as Jesus did. Let us show our thankfulness at being chosen by serving one another and all that God places in our path.

June 4 Read John 13:21-30

Another prophecy of Scripture was fulfilled. David in the Psalms had prophesied that a friend would betray Jesus. Like Ahithophel, Judas was a friend in name only. God had foreordained that he would carry out the awful but necessary deed. It was necessary for our salvation. Jesus was walking on the final path of pain and suffering. Each step was marked by another jolt of pain. Each jolt was for us, his elect people. Do we appreciate the depths of the suffering that Jesus endured for us? Do we live lives of thankfulness for these sufferings everyday? Verse 30 marks the beginning of the long night of Jesus’s suffering for us. Let us daily thank him for descending into hell so we do not.

June 5 Read John 13:31-38

Sometimes it is very hard for us to carry out the words of verses 34 and 35. Do we really love all those in the faith? Jesus was speaking to a very small group of men. These were men who had been brought together for a very important purpose, but yet Jesus had to remind them of that Christian virtue of love for the brother. In telling this to the disciples, he tells it to us. The disciples were the representatives of the New Testament church-us. We must love one another even as Christ loves us. We must care for one another even as Christ cares for us. This must be a love that shows in the world. The world hates the church, and the world loves nothing more than to see hatred among members of Christ’s church. Let us heed this commandment of Christ and love one another today and every day.

June 6 Read John 13:33-38

Once again we are reminded that we cannot follow Jesus by ourselves. Peter thought that it would be easy to follow his Lord. He thought that even following him to the death was possible. Peter would have to learn a very hard lesson. That is the lesson that we must learn. Trying to follow Jesus on our own merits is impossible. The only way we can follow Christ is by grace. We can see that this is true by looking ahead to what happened with Peter. Even after cursing and swearing while denying his Lord, Christ forgave him and took him back. This is what grace is all about. Yes, we are no better than Peter. Yes, we are saved by grace. To God be all the glory!

June 7 Read John 14:1-7

Each of us must face death. It may be our impending death due to old age, or it may be the death of a loved one. Each death of a believer does not happen until Christ has prepared a place for that believer in heaven. When we go through death, we have the confidence that we do not travel the path alone. Christ is the way through that death. The truth of our salvation is sure because that, too, is Christ. Finally, in him we find life. We need not be troubled because our elder Brother is with us and cares for us. He does this as we walk down life’s path. He does this in such a way that there is nothing that will take us off that path. Let us not be troubled or afraid.

June 8 Read John 14:8-12

Jesus begins to teach the disciples about the truth of his ascension. The disciples still looked for an earthly kingdom. Jesus would first of all show them about the reality of his death which was about twelve hours away. Then he showed them about his resurrection and ascension. For the next seventy-two hours the disciples would experience a whole range of emotions. Later, they would see how it all came to pass and would use the experience for the growth of Christ’s church. As members of that mature church, we must look to the day when Christ comes back. Our believing must be as theirs, as we, too, must believe that Jesus is the Christ who has redeemed us and will return on the clouds of glory and take us to heaven.

June 9 Read John 14:13-18

As Jesus ends his last day on the earth, he leaves his disciples and us with words of immense comfort. Notice verse 14 and 15 first of all. When we ask, it will be granted. Of course we must ask in his name; we must ask that God’s will be done. This is understood in these verses. But when we ask, we will be answered, and the answer will be good. Secondly, he reminds us that our love for him will be shown by keeping his commandments. Finally the beautiful words, “I will not leave you comfortless.” It does not matter in what situation we find ourselves; we will not be left without his comfort. He comes to us in his Word by the Holy Spirit. He comes to us and comforts us in a way that no type of earthly comfort can match. We can feel his arms around us at all times. Let us ask him for our needs, let us keep his commandments in all that we do, and let us feel the comfort that only Christ can give.

June 10 Read John 14:19-24

Because Jesus lives, we live. What a beautiful thought! In that living we love our Savior. In our loving we serve him by keeping his commandments. All three activities go together. It is obvious that it is not of ourselves that we can live, love, and keep the commandments. They all flow out of that living Savior. The result is that God our Father comes to us and makes his abode with us. And then one day he will take us to the place Christ has prepared for us. What a glorious thought! Thanks be to God!

June 11 Read John 14:25-31

What more beautiful words are there than verse 27. We need to read them often. As we go through this life, quite often we are anything but peaceful. Our worries and concerns need to be taken to our elder Brother as the familiar hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, states. When Jesus speaks to us “Peace,” we may know and have that peace. Then our hearts will not be troubled. Then nothing in this world can shake us. Let us seek that peace and pray for Christ to calm our troubled hearts.

June 12 Read John 15:1-8

Jesus goes on in his discourse in the upper room to instruct his disciples about life without his presence. The figure he uses is very vivid. Those who say that good works come from a person alone must have to ignore these verses. Look at verse 4 and 5 again. Without Jesus we cannot bear fruit just as a branch from a grapevine cannot bear fruit unless it is attached to the vine. There are obviously two kinds of branches. There are those who remain on the vine and bring forth much fruit, and those who are detached from the vine and are burned. Let us bring forth those fruits of thankfulness that are foreordained that we should walk in them.

June 13 Read John 15:8-15

Notice the positive emotions throughout this passage. First of all, we see the idea of love. Christ has loved us so much that he laid down his life for us. He calls us to continue in that love. Secondly, we have the idea of joy. Only the people of God can enjoy any kind of joy. True joy is found in Christ and through Christ. Let us not get caught up in the pseudo-joy of the world. Finally, there is friendship. Real friendship flows out of true love and true joy. Christ is our friend. Are we friendly to him and to others? Let us enjoy these fruits of his work on the cross for us.

June 14 Read John 15:12-17

While some would say that verse 16 only applies to the disciples, as we know Scripture applies to all of God’s people. We have not chosen Christ. Nothing could be farther from the truth. By nature which of us would? He has chosen us so that we will bring forth good fruit. The beginning of this fruit is our love for all of those chosen by Christ. As we enjoy this day and everyday, let us remember the commandment given by Christ to love one another. As we put that love into action, we will show our love for our Savior.

June 15 Read John 15:18-27

Jesus speaks a truth in the first part of these verses that may be hard for us to bear. The world will hate us. We do not like to hear these words. Many in the world say love, love, love. They would extol a doctrine of toleration. But if a man confess Christ, the world will hate him. How are we living? Do we confess Christ day by day and hour by hour. Do those around us know that we are Christians? Christ tells us to expect hatred, but he also gives to us hope. He has sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who will help us in times of trouble. He will show to us what we must speak. He will comfort us in times of trials. Let us walk in these words. If the world does not hate us, we must examine our walk.