Jesus, Peter, Andrew, James and John head out to Peter’s house for Sabbath lunch. I’m assuming that it was directly following the Sabbath teaching and miracle just mentioned by Mark because he says, “And immediately He left the synagogue and returned to the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John” (verse 29). So that is where we are going too.
Jesus was probably a frequent visitor to Peter’s house as Peter and his brother Andrew were two of Jesus’ disciples. I imagine they visited together at each other’s homes while building the relationship before Jesus directly called these four men. I’m certain Jesus was acquainted with Peter’s family, including his mother-in-law. She had probably cooked for them all on more than one occasion. Maybe even sat and listened while Jesus taught. I believe Jesus cared for her very much.
Was Peter’s mother-in-law sick when Peter and Andrew left for the synagogue that morning? Is it possible Jesus had not been present at Peter’s home that morning so didn’t have opportunity to heal her earlier? We don’t know how long she had been sick either. Did Jesus and His disciples come straight into the synagogue upon returning home from another missionary journey?
Matthew, Mark and Luke all state that Peter’s mother-in-law was in bed with a high fever. Mark and Luke state that the family members asked Jesus to heal her, while Matthew simply reports Jesus’ act of healing. All report that Jesus simply reached out and touched her hand and the fever left her. They also all remark that she got up and ministered to them.
Peter’s mother-in-law was important to Jesus. Not for what she offered Him or could do for Him, but simply because He loved her. Because He loved her, He immediately reached out and touched her, as soon as He was asked to help. He didn’t need to be talked into helping her but He did wait to be invited to do so. He saw her need and responded with love.
Peter’s mother-in-law showed her appreciation for the gift she received from Jesus. He not only broke her fever, but he healed the underlying cause of the disease AND restored her strength. She got up from her sick bed and began fixing the men a meal. She responded to Jesus’ gift of love by reciprocating it with a gift of her own love, using the talents available to her.
Jesus gave freely of Himself over and over again, simply because He saw a need and a recipient willing to ask for help. That night at Peter’s home was a prime example of this. I’m not sure if the crowd gathered because of Peter’s mother-in-law, because of the miracle in the synagogue, or because of earlier works Jesus had been doing in the region; but the people came in droves! Mark said the “whole city was gathered together at the door” (verse 33). I’m pretty sure this is a metaphor for a LOT of people. However many the actual count was, Jesus ministered to every one of them, no matter how long it took. Again, not because of what they could do for Him but simply because of His love.
Father God, thank You that You still love us that same way. You love us regardless of what we can do, what we have, or what we think we bring to the table. In truth, anything we bring to the table, You already have. We often need to realize that what we bring is actually worthless and gets in our way when we come to You. We have to strip away everything but our heart before we can truly recognize how awesome Your love for us is. Sometimes that stripping happens by choice and other times by outside forces. Being laid bare before You, and finding that Your love is still as strong as it ever was, is the most amazing healing possible. You have done this for me on more than one occasion. I wish that once was enough to really learn that lesson, but please do it again, whenever You find me in need of a refresher course. Thank You that You love me enough to put up with my “short term memory loss” on many of the lessons You have walked me through. Thank You that I don’t have to BE anything or DO anything to be loved by You. I just have to simply offer You my heart, warts and all. You take me the rest of the way from there.