Jesus’ Morning Routine

On most Sundays, I publish the Sunday Lesson. They’re nothing more than an observation or an idea or a study I’m working on that has useful applications. I feel deeply blessed and deeply responsible to write this. I schedule the posts to publish at 1:35. If you miss one, let me know and I will email it to you. You can also sign up for notifications and will get an email anytime I post something. I’m up for all comments and try to respond to them all. Be forewarned that I reserve Sundays for my family. It’s a work in progress, but a goal we’re all growing into. So, if I don’t respond, I’m probably playing chess with my daughter or watching lousy TV with my wife. On an outstanding day, I might catch a couple innings of Braves baseball. With my wife, of course. It’s Sunday.


I’m tempted to write something Adventish, but think this story about the morning routine of Jesus is fitting for the coming New Year. Consider if you should follow Jesus and have a morning routine.

Go to any website or podcast spouting off about making you the best you and there will be advice about The Morning Routine. It’s sacrosanct theology among self-helpers though I’ve never once read an analysis showing that following a successful person’s routine and habits will guarantee your own success. I won’t belabor the point given our current place in history. 

This idea is the basis for most of the sacred cows of the self-help world. Want to be rich? Study how The Millionaire Next door has never spent more than seventeen cents on a meal. The same goes for habits, relationships, and faith. 

Partly because of my contrarian nature, I toy with starting a podcast called Broken and Humble just because it is so silly that every Christian thing has to be upbeat, successful, and guaranteed to get you that tri-story waterfront home. In the name of Jesus. Hallelujah!

True be told, I have a morning routine. I can’t say with certainty that it makes my day better. What I can say, is that, without it, I feel I’m a step behind and have to play catch up all day. I see in the synoptics that Jesus had one too. His routine is simple:

That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were sick with diseases of one kind or another; he also drove out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.

In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’

He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can proclaim the message there too, because that is why I came.’

As we do on Sundays, let’s pull a couple gems out of this brief passage.

  • Jesus was beat. He fought crowds all day, healing some, feeding some, and casting out devils. The passages imply that there is a block-long line out His front door. Maybe two blocks.
  • He left the house. To be alone and away from the crowds and the needs of the crowds and those pesky disciples who never seem to understand.
  • In the morning, long before dawn…  We see Jesus awake and engaged with the Father, praying over His day and purpose. He didn’t hop out of bed ten minutes early to read His devotional before charging off to work. 
  • He found a lonely place. He escapes the eye and needs of followers and the crowd. One commentator says, rightly I think, that a man can give nothing unless he first receives it. Here Jesus goes off to receive. How different this is from today’s celebrities or Christian writers. We post our doings on Instagram and weigh in on every conceivable controversy on Twitter. We run from lonely places and seek out places where we are most visible. We want to be influencers. For the Father, of course.
  • He prayed there. Why does the Lord of Hosts, the Very G of Very G, the Light of Light, need to pray? Whatever your answer, can we agree that if the Master rises early to start his day with prayer, shouldn’t that be the lowest bar for a frail and broken humanity?
  • I haven’t noticed it before, but Peter very humanly goads Jesus to return. “Everybody is looking for you.’ Isn’t this a clarion call for every one of us? How we run like a sprinter when we’re told that ‘they really need you’? Peter says the same thing to Jesus, who, after His early morning prayer, has other ideas. “Let us go elsewhere,” He says.

What was Jesus’ morning routine then? To rise before starting His day and to rest in the Father’s presence and receive communion and direction. 

Selah


By way of explanation, I label myself as an agnostic Christian. I attend a Southern Baptist church and am comfortable with Roman Catholic and Orthodox theology and all kinds of Protestant thought. For Bibles, I generally use the Jerusalem Bible, the English Standard Version, and the Amplified Bible. A favorite verse is Micah 6:8 where the prophet says: 

G has already told you what is right and what to do: do what is right, love loyalty, and walk humbly with G.