“And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever.” Matthew 8:14
Jesus had chosen Peter to be His first disciple and obviously had a special connection with him – so much so, that He often ate with Peter and his family. Yes, Peter was a married man and still he followed Christ. His mother in law lived with them.
In our world, you don’t hear much about parents living with their married children. Often that responsibility is turned over to the experts who care for the senior generation. Knowing what it’s like having both of our mothers living with us in their elder years, I can understand this too. In Peter’s case, it was expected behavior. Not only did it show respect for aging parents, but a genuine love for family. Now that we’re been subjected to social distancing, this act of family love is going to become even less available.
Jesus was often a guest at this home and undoubtedly had come to know Peter’s wife and mother in law well. As they arrived that particular day, the mom was very sick with a fever. Jesus was a compassionate Son himself and went to her and held her hand. Within a breath of time, the fever left the woman and she got up and began to serve Him. We don’t know how long she was sick or what her illness was caused by, but Jesus’ touch was enough to relieve her.
He is still “on call” as the greatest physician and healer of all time. No matter how great or small, we have a open line to Him. He not only heals bodies and minds, He will heal our troubled hearts and weary minds.
This is a story that isn’t often talked about in the Passion history, but I believe it has some really great significance. First of all, it shows Jesus’ power over sickness. It demonstrates through that simple act of touch, just how much strength was in His hands. He had the power of God and was able to do this miracle and many more because of that.
It also shows how much Jesus cares for those He loves, but He isn’t limited. His love extends to all humanity suffering the effects of sin – which eventually lead to death. His love reaches out to everyone along with His healing power.
The story also shows that Jesus approved of marriage. Peter had been blessed with a wife and family to care for and, even though his new career would take him away from them for days and months, he still had time for them.
The name of the mother-in-law is not mentioned, but it wasn’t a necessary part of the story. The act of healing relied on no action by her. It was all Jesus, His touch, His love and His power. In gratitude, the woman’s first thought was to serve the man who healed her. May we mirror her actions and be more than willing to serve God for healing us from all our iniquities.
Dear, Sweet, Jesus, you showed your power over sickness and death while you walked the earth, so I know that what lies beyond the grave is going to be amazing. While I wait for that day, strengthen me through your Word and continue to give me confidence to serve You alone. Amen!