Sunday, December 05, 2010

Devotional Time

Mark 1:35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

35 Καὶ πρωῒ ἔννυχα λίαν ἀναστὰς ἐξῆλθεν καὶ ἀπῆλθεν εἰς ἔρημον τόπον κἀκεῖ προσηύχετο.

This is a verse that I have had in my email signature because I think that it underscores something that is vital to Christian living.  Today is the first time that I really looked deeply at the Greek.  I think that is because last time I read this I went through it pretty quickly since it is such a familiar verse.

The phrase πρωῒ ἔννυχα λίαν ἀναστὰς does not translate literally into English very well.  The word πρωῒ means "morning," but the word ἔννυχα means "night."  However, it also can be used as a modifier.  The word λίαν means "greatly," so this adds force to a modifier.  The word ἀναστὰς  is an aorist active participle in the nominative case.  The ESV captures the overall sense of this very well.  Basically, what we get is Jesus getting up at what they call "oh-dark-thirty" in the military.  He was awake to see the sky turn from black to deep purple to deep blue to blue.  He heard the first birds chirping.  You get the idea.

This verse starts with Καὶ, so we need to ask what this is tied to.  The previous verse describes His healing and exorcism ministry.  He was extremely busy healing people and casting out demons.  This was His response.  He got up very early in the morning to pray.  He didn't feel like He owed Himself a good lie-in.  He did take some time to Himself, but not to play video games, watch TV, surf porn, or drink Himself into oblivion.  Rather, He sacrificed sleep to spend time with the Father before the pressures of the day started up.

How do we deal with the pressures of life?  Obviously I was making an illustrative point in contrasting Jesus' way with the way that I and so many others have dealt with stress.  He spent time with the Father.  He found that to be refreshing.

This of course should make us question our own practices.  Do we even consider time with the Father to be refreshing?  Do we even think it will be worthwhile to sacrifice some sleep to spend time with Him through prayer and the Word?  Or do we think it is more important to leap out of bed and start the day?  I know that I feel off-kilter if I don't have a little time to myself first-thing every morning.  How about you?


Anthony Russo said...

Thanks again for another thought-provoking post. I am surprised how many people I run into (even at seminary) who don't see the value (mandate?) in giving the Lord a portion of the morning. Yes, I feel off-kilter also if I don't. Speaking of which, my coffee is done to get off the computer and open my Bible :-) See ya!

Jason said...

What gets me are the folks who think that their study time counts as devotional time. I suppose that may be true for some, but I am suspicious of anyone who does not spend regular time in the Word. All that it communicates is that they either know God perfectly or don't care to know Him better. I don't think too many people fall into the former category, though they may think they do.

Thanks again for stopping by. May God bless you and yours this Christmas.