On your Mark
Out of bed
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and
John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a
fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and
helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. (Mark 1:29-31,
Mark is tantalizingly brief in his account of the healing of
Peter’s mother-in-law. He doesn’t even give us her name.
It’s a mystery also as to why Jesus didn’t go to the home of
James and John. After all, they too lived in Capernaum. Why go to Simon and
Andrew’s home when the hostess is sick in bed? In fact, the third Gospel tells
us one additional detail — she had a high fever. You would expect an
exact diagnosis from the medical doctor, Luke (Luke 4:38)!
Not only was Peter’s mother-in-law raging with fever, but
Jesus doesn’t come to her home alone — He enters with a group of people
about Him, simply identified by Mark as “they went with him.”
So, what’s going on here?
I suspect a correlation between what had just happened in
the synagogue with the deliverance of the demoniac and an expectation on the
part of Jesus’ disciples that if He could exorcise an evil spirit then He might
also be able to cure a sickness.
Here is an important lesson for us in our faith journey. We
must connect the Lord’s past deeds to our present situation. So many times when
we are in an immediate crisis we forget that the Lord has helped us in the
past. When we do not remember we become filled with fear rather than faith.
I remember a time I was in “bed” — not literally with
a high fever like Peter’s mother-in-law, but proverbially with a depression
that hung on for a couple of years. I wish my cure had been as quick as this
healing, but I see a similar process that Jesus used both for me and for this
He comes to us. That’s first and foremost. He is in our
“house,” in our lives. He is not absent.
Then, He takes us by the hand. There’s a gospel chorus that
says, “He touched me.” I know personally the touch of that hand. Oh, not the
physical hand, but I do know Jesus pulled me out of the depths.
When Jesus took Peter’s mother-in-law’s hand, He didn’t just
hold it. No, He didn’t stop there. He “helped her up.” Jesus will lift you,
whether through process of time or immediacy of action. The songwriter put it
well, “He brought me out of the miry clay, He set my feet on the rock to stay.”
Mark does not say the fever left her and then she got up,
but the reverse. She got up and the fever left her. All during depression, I
would say, “What would I do today if I weren’t depressed?” And, I got out of bed
and fulfilled my duties. Over time, the “fever” left me!
The last time we see Peter’s mother-in-law she is well and
serving. That’s the whole purpose in Jesus’ work in our lives — that we
might be about the work of caring for others.
GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies
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