Sunday, November 2, 2008

Peter's Wife's Mother

"Christ healing the mother of Simon Peter" by John Bridges 

Matthew 8: 14-15
Mark 1:30-31
Luke 4: 38-39

Background:

Her story happens early in the ministry of Jesus. He had just healed a leper (Matt. 8: 2-4), and the servant of a centurion (Matt. 8: 4-13). He was traveling in Capernaum, which was a wealthy fishing city, and while there he taught in the synagogue and cast out a devil (Mark 1: 21-28). After healing her Jesus goes on to cast out more devils and calm the tempest.

Facts about her:
  • She lived in Capernaum, in the house of Peter and Andrew (his brother);
  • She was the mother of Peter's wife;
  • She was lying in bed sick with a fever;
  • Christ heard about her situation and came to her;
  • He took her by the hand and the fever left her and she arose from bed;
  • She had the faith to be healed;
  • This is one of the first recorded miracles that Christ performs;
  • She was healed before Jesus called Peter to be an apostle;
  • She ministered to those who were present, among which were Christ, Peter, James and John.
Speculations about her:
  • We don't know how long she had been ill, but it does sound like the fever was serious and that she was on the verge of death;
  • She was probably well acquainted with Jesus;
  • She may or may not have been a believer. I can't help but wonder how she felt about her son-in-law forsaking all he had to follow Jesus.
My thoughts:

The scriptures say that once she was raised from her sickbed "she ministered unto them". This probably means that she resumed her female duties of providing food, care, and support to those in the house. It is significant that the first thing she did when she was healed was to serve. She didn't run out into the street shouting that she had been healed, she didn't fall down and praise Christ, instead she began immediately to serve Him and those around her. The best way she could thank Christ for what He had done for her was to serve. I think that is a profound lesson. The Savior promised:

But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matt. 20: 26-28)

What we can learn from her:
  • Women have the faith to be healed;
  • Christ knows the sufferings of women and comes to them;
  • Christ can heal any wound, sickness or heartache women have;
  • We can show our gratitude to Jesus Christ through our service;
  • Women's work in the home is service to God;
  • There is power in touch.
Questions:
  • Why are priesthood healings given by touch?
  • How do you imagine her life was changed after this experience?

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