June 1

Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.” But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.

Matthew 5:33-35

Young people often seem to regard profanity as an accomplishment of which to be proud. Instead it is always a sign of weakness and betrays a corrupt and wicked heart. No one admires a swearer. But all right-thinking people recognize the nobility of character that enables one to keep his lips clean and whose speech is wholesome and refined. Our Lord distinctly forbids the use of expletives like “Heavens” and other such terms. These do not add to the strength of one’s language, but rather weaken it, and are utterly unbecoming in the lips of a believer in Christ.

      That name I just heard is delightfully sweet!

      Jesus is Christ! and Him you must meet;

      Now He is meeting poor sinners in grace,

      He knocks at your heart. Oh, give Him a place!

      He hears you blaspheme: but oh, if you knew

      How much He loves sinners, how much He loves you,

      You would fall at His feet and adoringly sing,

      Jesus! my Saviour! my Lord! and my King!

      ‘Twas for this that He died on Calvary’s tree,

      That sinners, the chief, might from judgment be free;

      He’s now up in glory—a Man on God’s throne,

      But He’s coming again—it may be quite soon.

      He left us this message, while He is above,

      A message of mercy—a message of love:

      Tell sinners I love them—tell Adam’s whole race,

      That this is the day of My patience and grace.

      Yea, more—go, beseech—beseech them for Me,

      Beseech by My blood, by My death on the tree,

      It cleanses from sin and fits them to be

      At once and forever in glory with Me.

—J. H. Wilson

June 2

Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eatT or “What shall we drink9” or, “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall he added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble,

Matthew 6:31-34

The Bible does not treat lightly of human need, but it shows the transcendent importance of attending to spiritual things. Christians are encouraged to be careful and wise in handling their earthly affairs. The ideal believer is not a recluse who seeks to be relieved of all responsibility for either his own or other people’s comfort and well-being. But the Word of God always insists on the supreme importance of the welfare of the inner man. To put eternal things first means to get the very best out of this life as well as peace of heart in regard to the next one.

God makes Himself responsible to care for and sustain all those who, having been born of His Spirit, recognize Him as Father and seek to do His will as obedient children. This is to put His kingdom first—to live in subjection to His revealed truth. As we thus “trust and obey” we may be sure that He will faithfully perform that which He has promised, supplying our need, sustaining our hearts, and enabling us to live above care and anxiety (1 Peter 5:6-7).

      Oh, it is sweet to trust Him,

      Knowing He loves and cares!

      Meeting life’s burdens bravely,

      Since in them all He shares.

      So on Faith’s pillow resting,

      Now I will go to sleep;

      Through night and day my Father

      Safely His child will keep.

—E. L. Y.

June 3

He…healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”

Matthew 8:16-17

The very fact that disease was so prevalent in Israel was proof of the people’s departure from God (Exodus 15:26). Each different sickness has a spiritual significance and the healing of each case illustrates Christ’s power over sin in all its forms, whether direct Satanic control (Mark 1:24-26), the burning fever of sin as typified by the illness of Peter’s wife’s mother, the dreadful uncleanness of it as pictured by leprosy, or its helplessness as illustrated by the case of the paralytic man (Matthew 9:2-8). No matter in what form our sin may present itself, the great Physician can give complete deliverance.

Jesus is today the healing Christ. But He is far more concerned with giving spiritual health to sin-sick souls than healing people of fevers or cleansing leprous sores. These were of old the signs of His Messiahship. Now He is exalted to God’s right hand as a Prince and a Savior. All, no matter what their spiritual ailments, may find deliverance through faith in Him.

      The worst of all diseases

      Is light compared with sin;

      On every part it seizes,

      But rages most within.

      ‘Tis dropsy, palsy, fever

      And madness, all combined,

      And none but a believer

      The least relief can find.

June 4

He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow.”

Matthew 13:3

This parable of the sower and the seed should be both a warning and an encouragement to all who endeavor to labor in the gospel: a warning against the folly of taking at face value every profession of faith in Christ, but an encouragement when many who profess prove unreal. We remember that even when the divine-human preacher was the sower of the gospel seed there were many who heard in vain and who never brought forth fruit unto perfection. It is our business to sow under all circumstances (Ecclesiastes 11:6), knowing that the seed is incorruptible (1 Peter 1:23). Though many give but momentary thought to the message, it will accomplish the purpose of God (Isaiah 55:11) and all who hear in faith will be saved (John 5:24).

The Word tests as well as saves. Where the heart is occupied with other things—such as the cares of this world or the deceitfulness of riches—there will be little appreciation of that message that speaks of another life altogether and of riches that can never pass away. Where possible, the preacher is to break up the fallow ground and sow not among thorns (Jeremiah 4:3). On the other hand, he is to be ready in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) even though this involves some seed falling on hard, unprepared hearts, only to be devoured by the birds of the air. These birds are fit pictures of Satan and his demon host, who are ever on the alert to hinder the gospel.

      We plough the fields and scatter

      The good seed o’er the land,

      But it is fed and watered

      By God’s almighty hand;

      He sends the snow in winter,

      The warmth to swell the grain.

      The breezes and the sunshine.

      The soft, refreshing rain.

—M. Claudius

June 5

He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

Matthew 13:11-12

The Gospel of Matthew is pre-eminently the Gospel of the kingdom of Heaven. The “kingdom of heaven” is not Heaven itself, as many erroneously suppose, but the term refers to Heaven’s rule established on this earth (Daniel 4:17, 34). There is a very definite sense in which this has always been true, for God has never relinquished His authority as the moral governor of the universe, but all Scripture looks forward to a time when this kingdom will be shown visibly everywhere upon earth (Daniel 7:27). When our Lord came in the fullness of time and presented Himself as the promised King, He was rejected, and He has gone back into Heaven “to receive for himself a kingdom and to return” (Luke 19:12). In the meantime, the principles of His kingdom, as set forth in this Gospel of Matthew, are pervading the world, and as a result millions of men acknowledge Him as earth’s rightful King and the Lord of their lives. Thus His kingdom is set up in “mystery.” The King is absent, but His authority is owned by many. Some who outwardly acknowledge Him are false professors, and so in the present day there are good and bad found in the sphere of the kingdom of Heaven. This will be rectified when He returns (Matthew 13:41-42).

      I walk with Thee and all is light

      At morn, at eve, at wakeful night;

      The way I do not ask to see,

      Thy presence is enough for me;

      Thou art my Guide, and fears take flight.

      O Saviour, Source of rest, of might,

      In vain the powers of evil fight,

      When at Thy side, from sin set free,

      I walk with Thee.

June 6

Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took arid hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

Matthew 13:33

Of old there was to be no leaven in the sacrifices or in the meal offering (Leviticus 2:11; 6:17), and all leaven was to be put out of the Israelite’s home at the time of the passover (Exodus 12:15; 13:7). This is explained for us in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 as representing malice and wickedness. The disciples were warned against the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy and self-righteousness, and the leaven of the Sadducees which is false doctrine (Matthew 16: 6, 11, 12), also of the leaven of Herod, which is worldliness and political corruption (Mark 8:15). The Corinthians were warned against the leaven of immorality, which, if unchecked, would leaven the whole church (1 Corinthians 5:6), and the Galatians were warned in the same way against the leaven of legality (Galatians 5:9). Nowhere is the gospel likened to leaven, and certainly it is not to be “hidden,” but openly declared.

The woman here represents the false church which corrupts the truth of God. It is our responsibility to set forth that truth in the Spirit’s power.

      Men tear the old faith into fragments.

      And build, on the truth they deny,

      Strange towers of fancy and fable.

      And deem they can mount to the sky.

      Away with “New Thought” and “New Knowledge”

      That voice the old lies of the past:

      That only perplex and bewilder.

      To leave us in doubt at the last.

      To Thee, the Life-Bringer, Life-Giver,—

      To Thee, the one Truth, the one Way,

      The one Light that lightens our darkness,

      The one God who hears when we pray;

      Who looseth the chains of the captives,

      And setteth the prisoners free;

      O Jesus, Thou Son of the Father.

      To whom shall we go, but to Thee?

—Annie Johnson Flint

June 7

The field is the world.

Matthew 13:38

It is important to remember that, in accord with the plan of God, Jesus Christ came primarily to seek the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He was their Messiah, their Kinsman-Redeemer (Leviticus 25:48). While His heart went out to all mankind, His special message was to them first. Upon their rejection of allegiance to His authority (John 19:15), He commanded His disciples to carry His gospel to all men everywhere (Matthew 28:19-20).

But while His earthly testimony was to Israel, His heart was concerned about all. It was because “God so loved the world” that He sent His only begotten Son into this scene (John 3:16); therefore we need not be surprised to see His grace leaping over national boundaries and going out even to sinners of the Gentiles, who were “strangers from the covenants of promise,” who were without God and, so far as any knowledge of His Word was concerned, were without hope in the world (Ephesians 2:12). Grace recognizes no national or racial barriers, but sees in all men of all nations sinners for whom Christ died and who may be transformed into saints by the mighty life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.

      Have ye carried the living water

      To the parched and weary soul?

      Have ye said to the sick and wounded,

      “Christ Jesus makes thee whole?”

      Have ye told My fainting children

      Of the strength of the Father’s hand?

      Have ye guided the tottering footsteps

      To the shore of the “golden land?”

June 8

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Matthew 16:16-18

The truth embodied in Peter’s great confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” is the rock of our salvation. Upon this the church is built. Apart from a divine Savior there would be no church of God in the world. It is noticeable that Jesus Himself elicited this confession by direct questioning. He knew well both the attitude of men in general regarding His true character and also that which His disciples knew Him to be. But He would have them put themselves on record, and so Peter was led to speak for them all. It meant much to the Lord Jesus to discern the working of grace in their souls, and their growth in spiritual intelligence. On the other hand, it grieved Him deeply when they failed to enter into the truth concerning the work of redemption as readily as they had grasped something of the glory of His person. Hence His severe rebuke when Peter would have turned Him aside, had it been possible, from the death of the cross. Peter’s blunder might well have us pause, as we realize how untrustworthy are the views of even the best of men unless they are the recipients of divine revelation. How good that God has given us His Word, thus revealing wondrous mysteries kept secret from the world’s foundation!

      If asked what of Jesus I think,

      Though still my best thoughts are but poor,

      I say, He’s my meat and my drink,

      My life and my strength and my store;

      My Shepherd, my trust and my friend.

      My Saviour from sin and from thrall;

      My Hope from beginning to end,

      My Portion, my Lord and my All.

—J. Newton

June 9

Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

Matthew 17:17-18

He who is the delight of the Father’s heart finds His greatest joy in presenting the riches of His grace to needy sinners. While His condition on the mount was one of indescribable glory, His heart was the same as when He walked among men in lowliness and compassion. And so it is still. He abides for eternity “the same Jesus.” To Him we may bring our dear ones for whose welfare we are concerned, assured that His interest in them is deeper and more tender than ours ever can be. Fullness of grace resides in Him for the benefit of all who come to Him in their need and distress. When at last He returns to reign and “every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7), He will be the very same as when He ministered so lovingly to those who sought His favor in the days of His flesh. It is the privilege of every parent to bring the children to Him, and claim, in faith, the saving power of the blood of Him who is the true paschal Lamb.

      Beneath the blood-stained lintel I with my children stand;

      A messenger of evil is passing through the land.

      There is no other refuge from the destroyer’s face;

      Beneath the blood-stained lintel shall be our hiding place.

      The Lamb of God has suffered, our sins and griefs He bore;

      By faith the blood is sprinkled above our dwelling’s door.

      The foe who seeks to enter doth fear that sacred sign;

      Tonight the blood-stained lintel shall shelter me and mine.

June 10

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, [and] set him in the midst of them.

Matthew 18:2

The child in the midst. When God became incarnate He chose to appear on earth as a baby. The sweetest, purest creature that we know in this world is an artless, little child. And this is the chosen symbol of the representative of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus declared, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Who then can ever enter? Who can go back to the comparative innocence and purity of a little child? But note what really happened. The Lord Jesus called a little child. In trustful confidence he came to the Savior, who took him in His arms and set him in the midst. Now note the analogy. He calls. We heed His voice, and so become converted and find a place in His kingdom. The law of that kingdom is love. Its subjects are to show the meekness and gentleness of Christ, hence not to seek great things for themselves (Jeremiah 45:5), nor to sit in judgment on their fellow servants (Matthew 7:1-2). Each one is to act as before the Lord, endeavoring in his measure to do the will of God and to glorify Him, while seeking to cooperate in the fullest way with all true service in which others may be engaged (Philippians 1:27).

      Oh, let the reaping of the after-years

      Be of the sowing of your patient love

      And many prayers.

      Look up for strength;

      The God who placed that child within your care

      Will give you all you need to teach of heaven

      And guide it there.

June 11

Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:3-4

None can be too young for the kingdom of Heaven. The children should be taught to come to Jesus as soon as they are able consciously to respond to His love and grace. As for those who are taken away from this scene before they reach years of accountability, we can rely upon the precious words of chapter 18:10, 14. The Good Shepherd has died for these lambs and will not permit one of them to be lost. Christian parents should bring their babes to Him from the very beginning of their lives and should count on Him to bless them by drawing their hearts to Himself, assured that the faith of a child is as real as that of a more mature person. In fact, the one is the model for the other.

A tremendous responsibility moreover rests upon those who are older to guide the feet of the young, both by precept and example.

      How oft a little one has found the road,

      The narrow pathway to that blest abode:

      Through faith in Christ has read its title clear,

      While learned men remain in doubt and fear!

      A little child! The Lord oft uses such

      The stoutest heart to break, or bend, or touch;

      Then by His spirit bids the conflict cease,

      And once for ever enter into peace.

June 12

Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, “You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?” And his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.

Matthew 18:32-35

If we fail to distinguish the various aspects of forgiveness as set forth in the Word of God, we are likely to be in great confusion of mind because of God’s disciplinary dealings with us after our conversion to Christ. When He saves us He forgives us fully and eternally, and will never, as Judge, remember our sins again (Hebrews 10:17). But as His children, we are to confess our sins whenever we fail, and He gives restorative forgiveness (1 John 1:9). The governmental results that follow our failures are not to be construed as indicating that God has not pardoned. He would teach us by discipline the heinousness of sin in His sight (2 Samuel 12:13-14). Forgiven ourselves, we are to forgive our brethren who sin against us (Colossians 3:13). Members of the church who offend against God’s righteous principles are to be disciplined, but forgiven when they give evidence of repentance (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:13; 2 Corinthians 2:7).

      Not far from New York, in a cemetery lone,

      Close guarding its grave stands a simple headstone,


      It shews not the date of the silent one’s birth,

      Reveals not his frailties nor lies of his worth,

      But speaks out the tale from His few feet of earth—


      And when from the heavens the Lord shall descend,

      This stranger shall rise, and to glory ascend,

      Well known and befriended to sing without end—


June 13

But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:25-28

Our Lord Jesus Christ has given to mankind a new ideal. He has shown us that the truly great man is the one who seeks not his own good but the blessing of others. Even here on earth the unselfish life is the most satisfactory one. To Baruch of old the message came, “Do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them” (Jeremiah 45:5). This runs contrary to the pride and self assertion of the natural man. “Men will praise you when you do well for yourself” (Psalm 49:18). But after all is said and done, the truth abides that “to seek one’s own glory is not glory” (Proverbs 25:27). Our Lord who, because of His very nature, had every right to assert Himself and seek recognition and honor from the men whom He created, chose to take the place of servant of all. He humbled Himself to become man, but that was not enough. As man, He took the servant’s place and at last gave Himself up to death for us in the sacrifice of the cross, that He might redeem us to God. He has glorified and exemplified the dignity of service and self-abnegation in such a way as to give an altogether new standard of greatness.

      O teach us more of Thy blest ways,

      Thou holy Lamb of God!

      And fix and root us in Thy grace,

      As those redeemed by blood.

      O tell us often of Thy love,

      Of all Thy grief and pain,

      And let our hearts with joy confess

      That thence comes all our gain.


June 14

The kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.

Matthew 21:43

Israel after the flesh was to be put aside. The kingdom for which they had waited so long was to be lost to them forever. A new and elect nation, a regenerated Israel, shall possess the kingdom eventually. Meantime the grace of God is going out to the Gentiles.

It is a terribly dangerous thing to trifle with the mercy of God. Little did the Jewish leaders realize that they were sealing their own doom in rejecting Jesus, the One sent of God to bring them into fullness of blessing if they had received Him. They lost their opportunity because they were blinded by self-interest and so they failed to recognize their Messiah when He came in exact accord with the Scriptures of the prophets which they professed to reverence. Mere knowledge of the letter of the Word saves no one. It is those who believe in the Christ of whom the book of God speaks who are made wise for salvation (2 Timothy 3:15). To reject Him is fatal.

      What will you do without Him,

      When He has shut the door,

      And you are left outside, because

      You would not come before?

      When it is no use knocking.

      No use to stand and wait,

      For the word of doom tolls thro’ your heart,

      That terrible “Too late!”

—F. R. Havergal

June 15

The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.

Matthew 22:2-3

In preparing the gospel feast, God has made abundant provision that all men may be saved and enjoy the bounty of His redemptive grace. But to man has been given the power of choice, and it is his prerogative to accept or reject the invitation so freely extended to “whosoever will.” No excuse that man can make is really valid. He owes it to himself to heed the call and to take his place at the King’s table, where he may enjoy the banquet so freely spread. He also owes it to God Himself to esteem at its proper value the privilege extended to him. He who seeks an excuse for rejecting the divine offer of mercy is showing contempt to the Spirit of grace and trampling the blood of the covenant beneath his feet as though it were of little worth (Hebrews 10:28-29). Since God the Father has given His Son that all men might live through Him (1 John 4:9), and since the Holy Spirit has come from Heaven to bear witness to the truth of the gospel (John 16:8), it is imperitive that every man accept with alacrity and gratitude the salvation so graciously offered. This is the lesson of the great supper.

      All things are ready: come!

      “Yet there is room!”

      Christ every thing hath done:

      “Yet there is room!”

      The work is now complete;

      Before the mercy-seat

      A Saviour you will meet:

      “Yet there is room!”

      God’s house is filling fast,

      “Yet there is room!”

      Some guest will be the last,

      “Yet there is room!”

      Yes! soon salvation’s day

      To you will pass away,

      Then Grace no more will say—

      “Yet there is room!”

June 16

After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

Matthew 25:19

It was when the master returned that he took account of his servants. And it will be at the return of our Lord Jesus that He will summon His servants to stand before His judgment seat, not to be condemned for their sins, for that judgment is past (John 5:24), but to render an account of their service. Both for Israel and the church, rewards are to be given out at His coming (see Isaiah 62:11 and Revelation 22:12).

The wicked and slothful servant does not represent a child of God, because he is cast into the outer darkness. He has nothing for which he can be rewarded. It is otherwise with those who are regenerated. Of them it is written that in that day, “then each one’s praise will come from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). This refers, of course, not to every man as such, but to every one of those who appear at the judgment seat of Christ, where only believers will stand.

If we use whatever gifts we have in dependence on God, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem, we shall find our capacity for service increasing constantly. We are told to earnestly desire the best gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31), and to use them in love.

      Go on, go on; there’s all eternity to rest in,

      And far too few are on the active service list.

      No labor for the Lord is risky to invest in;

      But nothing will make up, should His “Well done” be missed.

June 17

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

Matthew 26:26-28

The Lord’s supper in the Christian church takes the place of the Passover among the Jews. The two are intimately linked together, for it was after the celebration of the paschal feast that Jesus offered His disciples the bread and wine and tenderly requested them to partake of them as setting forth His body about to be offered on the cross and His blood so soon to be shed for the remission of sins. Nearly two millennia have elapsed since that solemn night, during which untold millions of grateful believers have partaken of these memorials in remembrance of Him who loved them even unto death.

The communion (1 Corinthians 10:16) is not in any sense a sacrifice. It commemorates the one perfect sacrifice offered by our Lord once for all when He gave Himself for us on Calvary. Neither should it be celebrated with any thought of its having saving value or increasing merit. It is the reminder that when we were utterly lost and helpless, Christ died for us to redeem us to God. It is true that the sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) should ever accompany it as we contemplate the great cost at which we were saved, and rejoice that He who endured such grief and shame for us is now alive forevermore, never again to have to submit to the pain of death. We call Him to mind as the Author and Finisher of faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sits at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

      Around the table of His grace,

      Spread with this feast of love,

      We meditate in perfect peace

      On our High Priest above:

      With praise and gratitude we trace

      The wonders of His love.

June 18

Then He said to them. “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying. “O My Father if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Matthew 26:38-39

The utter resignation of Jesus to the Father’s will shines out in all these closing experiences, but particularly in that of Gethsemane. While the horror of becoming the great sin offering, being made sin for us, overwhelmed His human soul and spirit, yet He was perfectly subject to the divine will, and had no thought of turning aside. There are depths here that our minds can never fathom, but all is perfection on His part. If He could have contemplated all that was involved in the sacrifice of the cross with equanimity, He would not have been the perfect man that He was. But knowing it all and realizing there was no other way by which He could become the captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10), He faced the ordeal unflinchingly in order that God might be glorified, and sinful men saved.

It was not in Gethsemane, but on Calvary, that the sin question was settled and atonement made for iniquity. But the agony in the garden was a fitting prelude to the darkness of the cross. In order to make an adequate redemption for our sins, it was necessary that the Substitute be a man, but more than man; otherwise His sacrifice could not have been of sufficient value to be a ransom for all. He must be a man on whom death and judgment had no claim; therefore one who had been tested and proved to be absolutely sinless—one who had never violated God’s holy law in thought or word or deed. But this very sinlessness of Jesus explains the suffering He endured in the contemplation of being made sin on our behalf.

      Hark! what sounds of bitter weeping.

      From yon lonesome garden sweep!

      ‘Tis the Lord His vigil keeping.

      Whilst His followers sink in sleep.

      Ah, my soul, He loved thee,

      Yes, He gave Himself for me.

—J. J. Hopkins

June 19

Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Matthew 27:45-46

Christ crucified, says the apostle Paul, is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:23-24). This is the very foundation of the Christian faith. “Christ died:” that is history. “For our sins:” that is doctrinal truth (1 Corinthians 15:3)—the great fact upon which our salvation rests. It is all-important to see that it was not simply the physical sufferings of Jesus that atoned for sin. It was what He endured in His inmost being in those hours of darkness when He was made sin for us. What He suffered at the hand of man was an expression of Satanic malignancy and showed the sinfulness of mankind as nothing else could. What He endured at the hand of God made atonement for iniquity and told out divine love and justice in the fullest possible manner. In the work of the cross the sin question has been dealt with so completely and so satisfactorily that the floodgates of mercy have been opened wide and all who now believe the gospel may be saved eternally.

      His be the Victor’s name,

      Who fought the fight alone:

      Triumphant saints no honor claim,

      His conquest was their own.

      By weakness and defeat

      He won the meed and crown,

      Trod all our foes beneath His feet

      By being trodden down.

      Bless, bless the Conqueror slain,

      Slain in His victory;

      Who lived, who died, who lives again—

      For thee, His Church, for thee!

—W. Gandy

June 20

But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

Matthew 28:5-6

The empty tomb of Jesus is the silent yet effective witness to the fact of His resurrection. Had it been possible to find His body, His disciples would have received it and given it careful burial again. And if His enemies could have produced it, they would have displayed it in fiendish glee as a positive proof that His prediction that He would rise again the third day had been utterly falsified. But neither friend nor foe could locate it, for God had raised His Son from the dead in token of His perfect satisfaction in the work of the cross. The tomb was empty on that first Lord’s Day morning, not because the disciples had come by night and stolen the body while the soldiers slept (an unheard of proceeding), nor yet because the chief priests and their emissaries had dared to break the Roman seal upon the stone that covered the entrance to that rock hewn grave. The tomb was empty because Jesus had fulfilled His words when He declared that if they destroyed the temple of His body, He would raise it again in three days. The resurrection is attributed to the Father (Hebrews 13:20), to the Son (John 2:19-21; 10:17-18), and to the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11). The entire trinity had part in that glorious event, the supreme miracle of the ages, when He who died for our sins rose again for our justification. Joseph of Arimathea little thought of the honor that was to be his, when preparing the new tomb which was to be the dwelling-place for a few hours of the dead body of Him who is now alive forevermore.

      The Lord is risen; the Red Sea’s judgment flood

      Is passed, in Him who bought us with His blood.

      The Lord is risen: we stand beyond the doom

      Of all our sin, through Jesus’ empty tomb.

—W. P. Mackay

June 21

Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Matthew 28:18-20

The great commission to evangelize the world is not given as a whole in any one of the Gospels, but we need to take all related passages in the three Synoptics and in Acts 1 to get it in its entirety. There are different aspects of the commission which are emphasized in each place. Then, in addition, we have the Lord’s command to the eleven as given in John 20. These all agree in this: that it is our responsibility to carry the message of grace to all men everywhere, while we wait for our Lord to return, according to His promise. Matthew puts the emphasis on the kingdom—calling all men to become disciples of the Lord Jesus and proclaim their allegiance by baptism into the name of the holy trinity. Mark stresses the importance of faith on the part of those who carry the message, which was to be authenticated by “signs following.” Luke, both in the Gospel and the Acts, links the subjective with the objective—repentance on the part of the sinner, forgiveness on the part of God. John dwells on the authority of the risen Christ who commissions His servants to proclaim remission of sins to all who believe, and retention of sins to those who spurn the message.

But all alike declare the urgency and the importance of carrying the witness-testimony, the proclamation of the gospel, into all the nations of the world in the shortest possible time.

      I hear the footfalls of God’s mighty hosts

      Whom He is sending all the earth abroad;

      Like them let me be busy for His cause,

      Always and all for God.

      Full soon will come to us the harvest-time,

      The reaping of the seed that here we strawed;

      Oh, then we’ll not regret we spent earth’s spring,

      Always and all for God!

—A. B. Simpson

June 22

John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins…Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

Mark 1:4, 9

John’s baptism was unto repentance. He announced the near approach of the kingdom of God and called upon the people of Israel to get right with God that they might be ready to receive and enter into it. Those who confessed their sins were baptized (Luke 7:29). Jesus had no sins to confess; He had nothing of which to repent, yet He came to John for baptism, much to the desert preacher’s surprise (Matthew 3:13-14). But Jesus reassured him. He submitted to baptism as the divinely appointed way of declaring His interest in and identification with the godly remnant in Israel, who were waiting for His coming. His baptism was a pledge to fulfill every righteous demand of the throne of God on behalf of those who owned their guilt and took the place of repentance before Him. They were like debtors giving their notes to a creditor-acknowledging a debt they could not pay. He, by His baptism, endorsed all their notes and made Himself responsible to pay all they owed. On the cross He settled for all when He endured the baptism of judgment in our place.

      Lord Jesus, we remember

      The travail of Thy soul,

      When in Thy love’s deep pity

      The waves did o’er Thee roll.

      Baptized in death’s dark waters,

      For us Thy blood was shed,

      For us, Thou Lord of glory,

      Wast numbered with the dead.

—J. G. Deck

June 23

They came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men…When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

Mark 2:3, 5

The primary purpose of our Lord’s ministry as the Servant of Jehovah was to bring people into right relationship with God. What availed it if the sick were healed of physical ailments but continued on in their sins, unrepentant and unbelieving? The paralytic condition of the man who was saved and healed pictures the real state of men generally—“without strength” (Romans 5:6), and therefore unable to deliver themselves from the dire results of their sins. But Jesus came not to help men save themselves, but to deliver them Himself from their lost estate. It is not when we have done our best that His grace comes in to make up full weight, as it were. But when we realize that we are utterly helpless and look to Him alone for salvation, He does for us what no one else could do.

It is all of grace through faith, that the glory might be His alone. The faith of the four men who brought their paralytic friend to Jesus is a beautiful example of fellowship in the glad service of bringing others to Christ. But he too believed, and so the faith of all five was rewarded.

      Forgiveness! ‘twas a joyful sound

      To guilty sinners doomed to die:

      We’d publish it the world around,

      And gladly shout it through the sky.

      ‘Twas the rich gift of love divine;

      ‘Tis full effacing ev’ry crime;

      Unbounded shall its glories shine,

      And know no change by changing time.


June 24

Who can forgive sins but God alone?…the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.

Mark 2:7, 10

No clearer proof could be given of the deity of our Lord than we find here in His attitude toward this paralytic man. His critics were right when they exclaimed, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” What they did not realize was that God incarnate was in their midst. He who had become in grace the Son of man still had all the divine prerogatives. He had authority, even while sojourning on earth, to forgive sins.

Some time ago a well-known liberal preacher, who denies the Godhead of the Son, said to me, “I am not afraid of Jesus Christ. I can trust Him to deal faithfully with my case.” I replied, “Why should you fear Him? Why do you not say, ‘I am not afraid of Buddha, or of Mohammed?’ If Jesus is only a man, even though the best of men, you do not have to stand before Him for judgment. It is to God all men must give account.”

      We may not climb the heavenly steeps

      To bring the Lord Christ down;

      In vain we search the lowest deeps,

      For Him no depths can drown.

      But warm, sweet, tender, even yet,

      A present help is He;

      And faith has still its Olivet,

      And love its Galilee.

      The healing of the seamless dress

      Is by our beds of pain;

      We touch Him in life’s throng and press,

      And we are whole again.

—J. G. Whittier

June 25

Jesus…said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Mark 2:17

Men are not sinners because they sin. They sin because they are sinners. Therefore the sin question must be settled first of all before there can be a new order of society which will answer to the mind of God. Nor are men divided by the Lord into classes of little sinners and great sinners, but, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23); therefore all need the same salvation.

Religious forms and ceremonies are powerless to effect the salvation of the soul. The new robe of righteousness is offered in place of the filthy rags of self-righteousness (Isaiah 64:6; 61:10). No patching-up process will do. The new wine of the gospel received into the believing heart will give new power in the life. Between salvation by grace and attempted salvation by human effort there can be no compromise.

      I need Thee, precious Jesus!

      For I am full of sin;

      My soul is dark and guilty,

      My heart is dead within.

      I need the cleansing fountain

      Where I can always flee,

      The blood of Christ most precious,

      The sinner’s perfect plea.

      I need Thee, blessed Jesus!

      For I am very poor;

      A stranger and a pilgrim,

      I have no earthly store;

      I need the love of Jesus

      To cheer me on my way,

      To guide my doubting footsteps,

      To be my strength and stay.

      I need Thee, blessed Jesus!

      And hope to see Thee soon,

      Encircled with the rainbow,

      And seated on Thy throne:

      There with Thy blood-bought children,

      My joy shall ever be

      To sing Thy praise, Lord Jesus,

      To gaze, my Lord, on Thee!

—Frederick Whitfield

June 26

And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”

Mark 2:27-28

It was God who, in the goodness of His heart, designated one day in seven as a season of rest for His people. But the advocates of both license and legality perverted this expression of His loving-kindness to their own spiritual undoing. In the name of liberty the sabbath was used by the openly ungodly as a day of careless pleasure-seeking or of personal gain (Nehemiah 13:15). On the other hand, the self-righteous hedged the holy day about with numberless regulations of their own devising that made the observance of it far more of a burden than a rest. These traditions of the elders, which were fiercely contended for and which made the Word of God of none effect, were looked upon as the very quintessence of orthodoxy. He who dared to set them to one side was branded as a dangerous heretic.

It was inevitable that Jesus would come into conflict with the religious leaders on this question, and in the portion now before us we have two such Instances. In each case it was grace clashing with legality. Grace is warm, compassionate, interested more in men than in ordinances, however good and precious in themselves. Legality is cold, exacting, and far more concerned about punctilious obedience to its demands than about the needs of men and their deliverance from bondage and sin.

The same two principles are still in active opposition, and will be until we come to the unity of the faith when our Lord returns and gathers all His own around Himself, to enter into that eternal sabbath-keeping which remains for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9).

      No curse of law, in Thee was sov’reign grace,

      And now what glory in Thine unvailed face!

      Thou didst attract the wretched and the weak,

      Thy joy the wand’rers and the lost to seek.

—G. W. Frazer

June 27

There met Him…a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains.

Mark 5:2-3

How often we have heard some poor derelict of a man, overcome by sin and lost to all sense of decency, described as a “good-for-nothing.” But it is for such as him, as for all others, that Christ Jesus came into the world. To Him all men, while lost and ruined in themselves, are good for something, because of what His grace can do for them. George Whitefield used to say that “Jesus will take in the Devil’s castaways.” Lady Huntingdon objected to this expression until one of Whitefield’s converts told her of his own redemption from the lowest strata of degraded society. Then she realized the glorious truth embodied in the homely language of the great field-preacher.

Surely, if any man were utterly good for nothing, it was the poor, demon-possessed wretch who had his dwelling among the foul caves of the dead! But he is only a picture of many men as God sees them under Satan’s power—“hateful and hating one another.” Christ put a new value on men. No matter how wicked and godless, nor how perverted their instincts, they were potential saints for whom He gave Himself. He was able then, as He is able now, to give complete deliverance and to change them by His grace.

      Sinners Jesus will receive,

      Sound the word of grace to all

      Who the heavenly pathway leave,

      All who linger, all who fall.

      Sing it o’er and o’er again,

      Christ receiveth sinful men.

June 28

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.

Mark 6:4-5

How strange it seems at first to read that “He could do no mighty work there,” and that because of their unbelief. There is a sense in which man’s lack of faith shackles divine omnipotence. God has chosen to do for those who believe what, in the very nature of things, He cannot do consistently for those who spurn His Word. The people of Nazareth shut the door of blessing in their own faces by refusing to trust the carpenter as the Anointed of Jehovah. His very lowliness proved a stumbling block to their pride. His holiness was a rebuke to their carnality, and by rejecting His testimony they put up a barrier between Paradise and themselves. “With the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). Had they been humble enough to sit at His feet as learners, what lessons of grace and power would have been unfolded to them, and what mighty works would have been wrought in their midst! But they were so self-contented and self-satisfied that His message found no response in their unbelieving hearts, and so they lost the greatest opportunity that they would ever know.

      What will it profit, when life here is o’er

      Though earth’s fleeting love has been mine,

      If, seeking its gifts—I fail to secure

      The riches of God’s love divine?

      What will it profit? My soul, stop and think!

      What balance that day will declare!

      Life’s record laid bare, will gain turn to loss,

      And leave me at last to despair!

—Grace E. Troy

June 29

When He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. So they all ate and were filled.

Mark 6:41-42

When God brought His people of old out of Egypt, He sustained them in the wilderness during their forty years’ sojourn, providing bread from Heaven. It was therefore quite in keeping with His character as Jehovah’s Servant that our Lord should minister to the physical needs of men while here on earth. To question the reality of the miracle and to seek to account for it on merely natural grounds is to discount or even deny His divine power and authority. If we accept the truth of the divinity of Christ and acknowledge His true deity, we need not be concerned about explaining the su-pernaturalness of His works. In multiplying the loaves and fish He was but doing in a few moments of time what He is constantly doing in the seas and the grain fields of the world. This miracle was no more difficult for Him than the daily wonder of propagation of vegetable and animal life from infinitesimal seed. When the Creator and Sustainer of this diversified universe walked among men, it was to be expected that mighty works would be demonstrated through Him (see Matthew 14:2). It was in keeping too with His Messiahship that He should satisfy the poor with bread (Psalm 132:15).

      I look to Thee in ev’ry need,

      And never look in vain;

      I feel Thy strong and tender love,

      And all is well again;

      The thought of Thee is mightier far

      Than sin and pain and sorrow are.

      Discouraged in the work of life,

      Disheartened by its load.

      Shamed by its failures or its fears,

      I sink beside the road;

      But let me only think of Thee,

      And then new heart springs up in me.

—Samuel Longfellow

June 30

In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men…making the word of God of no effect through [their] tradition.

Mark 7:7, 13

Man is ever prone to suppose that formal religious observances will be acceptable to God as a means of procuring the divine favor. But religion as such has no saving value. If forms and ceremonies could purchase a place in Heaven, there would have been no need for Christ’s redemptive work. And even on the part of those already regenerated, the only thing that gives value to outward observances is a right state of heart before God, who desires truth in the inward parts (Psalm 51:6). He has said, “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). Again and again He sought to impress upon Israel the importance of reality in their approach to Him (Deuteronomy 10:12; Isaiah 57:15; Micah 6:8). Yet they were persistently substituting the outward for the inward, supposing that God would be satisfied by sacramental observances, when all the time He was calling for repentance from dead works and a living faith In His promises.

Many today make the same mistake, a mistake fraught with sad and fearful consequences, for it involves the rejection of the only way of life and salvation and the substitution of “a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

      One Priest alone can pardon me,

      Or bid me “Go in peace;”

      Can breathe that word “Absolvo te,”1

      And make these heart-throbs cease:

      My soul has heard His priestly voice;

      It said. “I bore thy sins—Rejoice!”

1“Absolvo te” (I absolve thee) are the words used by the Catholic priest when he assumes the Divine prerogative of forgiving sins.