Jesus the Healer:
General Idea: Peter writes later in his Epistle, “cast all of your cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7),” In this passage, we begin to see the roots of Peter’s spiritual trust and formation. Jesus personally performed several miracles for Peter. Jesus enabled Peter to catch a lot of fish (Luke 5:1-11; John 21:1-8), to catch a coin in a fish (Matt. 17:24-27), to walk on water (Matt. 14:22-33), after His resurrection, helps Peter escape from prison (Acts 12), plus many more miracles. So, Peter has firsthand experience and can give us assurance that we can trust in Jesus. This passage testifies to this fact with the healing of his mother-in-law. Peter knew quite well that we can indeed cast all of our cares upon Him!
Sometimes, we forget that the disciples were real people with families, loved ones, and friends, and lived life with all of the frustrations, challenges, and options we have in important things such as relationships and life. Peter was concerned for his mother-in-law. As we can see, nothing is too hard for our Lord. He can bring physical healing. However, even if He does not do this for you, you can still rest assured in Him and put your faith, trust, and your cares upon Jesus!
1. Jesus had come into Peter’s house. Recent archeological evidences point to the fact that the house was close to the local Synagogue, just as Mark recorded (Mark 1:29).
a. It seems Peter’s father had passed on, so Peter and Andrew took over the family home. Peter’s widowed mother-in-law moved in with them. If this were not so, the passage would say the house of the father of Simon.
b. It was custom for the children to take over their parent’s house/compound when they passed on. Most extended families lived together. When a young couple got married, they moved into the husband’s parent’s home. Peter was young here, and possibly had recently married prior to encountering Jesus.
c. Peter was married as most Jewish men (1 Cor. 9:5). Celibacy was also an option for Jewish men. However, the Bible is clear that Peter was indeed married (Matt. 19:12; 1 Cor. 7:7-8,32).
d. Adult children were expected to care for their parents. Caring for the extended family was more common and essential than it is today.
e. Luke says she was too ill to speak for herself. The passage gives us the picture that we need to go before the Lord in behalf of others, to plead their case in intercession and prayer!
2. Sick with fever. Peter’s mother-in-law was grievously ill. As indicated by the surprise miracle, she skips the normal convalescence period and got up immediately to serve them, an event that takes a lot of energy.
a. God’s cures are perfect, immediate, and complete.
b. Most Jewish teachers would not have touched a woman at any time for fear of becoming unclean (Lev. 15:19), but Jesus breaks the social norms. The law refers to women who are menstruating, which would mean they had possible germs and viruses from the exposed blood.
c. It was the custom for women to prepare and serve the food, and for men to work for and obtain the food (Luke 10:40). A family works and complements one another’s skills and abilities to the common goal of meeting one another’s needs.
i. She responds in gratitude! She ministers to Christ and His people.
ii. Our service is also a reflection of our gratitude for what He has done for us.
iii. Luke mentions high fever and He rebuked the fever, possibly because he is a physician and has a medical interest (Luke 4:40-41). Also, the possibility existed that Satan was behind the illness.
3. The word got out about Peter’s mother-in-law, so people brought many sick people to Jesus. Since homes were small, they had an inner or outer courtyard where people gathered. Jesus is using the courtyard as a recovery center for the sick and affirmed (Mark 1:33).
a. Demon possessed can also mean people who were sick as the Greek ancient word meaning. Cultural and medical understandings confuse the definitions. A person with a mental disorder would be considered possessed, as Peter’s mother-in-law could have been too, with a fever. This does not discount the reality of demon possession and the work of Satan’s entourage. It is quite possible that many of the people brought to Jesus were actually demonized too.
b. Infirmities represent sin. This is a quote from Isaiah, that sin is the main sickness of humanity and the root cause of all that is wrong and evil.
i. There is a direct correlation between the physical and spiritual in Jewish traditions. Isaiah, in context, speaks of healing from the ravages of sin that traps us all (Isa. 53:5-6), as does Hosea (Hos. 14:1-4) and Peter (1 Pet. 2:24-25). Isaiah also points to the physical restoration and healings in the age of the Messiah (Isa. 33:24; 35:5-6).
ii. Jesus’ main role is to bear our sin and take our place in perfection, so He pays our price and takes our curse upon Himself. This means Jesus, in our place, takes the sin, guilt, and our infirmity because we are not able to do so.
c. Luke mentions some of the demons crying out. Satan does not cause all sicknesses, but the possibility is always there. So, be grounded in the Word and in faith to keep you on guard with His armor (Eph. 6:10-18).
i. The demons called Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, the anointed one (Luke 4:40-41)!
ii. The demons know who Christ is, do you? Do you fully know?
d. Some Rabbis and paid exorcists would seek to help such people honestly, but could also take advantage of them, just as people do today.
i. The normal way to exorcise was to manipulate the spiritual world by getting other higher demons to get rid of the lower ones, as the Pharisees accused Jesus of doing (Matt. 9:34). Other ways included offering favors, mind games, and incantations, to convince them to move on.
ii. Here, Jesus directly casts them out just with a word-- quite a shock to the local population.
iii. It is ironic that some people accused Jesus of being demon possessed (John 7:20; 8:48-52; 10:20).
4. Jesus inaugurates the Messianic era! He is making some of the benefits of the Kingdom available prior to the Cross.
a. Jesus, in His ministry, demonstrated His sovereignty over nature, including our sicknesses and spiritual oppositions.
b. Some people teach that Jesus will and must heal you if you are a true believer or have enough faith. This is not true, as He only promised total healing to come after His second coming, (Matt. 8:20-23; 1 Cor. 15. 26: Rev. 21:4). It is interesting, as the people I have observed over the years who have made such claims have died in sickness and or their close family members have. Do not tempt God (I am not saying God made them sick, just that they did get sick after teaching that on cannot get sick if one has enough faith)!
Jesus Christ is the God who cares. He paid the price of our sin therefore creating the potential for the entire human race to be saved and redeemed. He made it possible for everyone to be brought into a right relationship with God. Thus, our purpose and primary mission in life is to accept His grace and forgiveness so we can partake of His redemption and apply it to our lives for eternity (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 2:24; Rev. 3:18). It is sad that so few will make that journey, unwilling to give up their will or to be convicted. The gate we pass through is freely given but we do not just pass through it. We still have to abide, trust, and obey, to move our will into that gate. It is not a conveyer belt; it is the heart of the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ, where our sinful nature collides with His holiness, and where the cost of our sin is absorbed declaring us holy too. This is the reason we live and is the meaning in life. It is up to us to abide in the life that He gives. He makes it possible--we make it work. Christianity is not a spectator sport; we are not to be in the bleachers, but on the field, playing our hardest against the clock of time and opportunities.
1. What are you like when you are sick? How do you treat others-- especially family--when they are sick or have needs?
2. Do you have difficulty doing this? If so, why not cast all of your cares upon Him?
3. How can the fact that realizing the disciples were real people facing the same life challenges with families, frustrations, challenges, and options, help influence you?
4. What would you have felt and how would you have reacted if you were Peter?
5. When you hear about archeological evidences to prove the Bible, does this help your faith? Or, does it matter to you?
6. In Jesus time, when a young couple got married, they moved into the husband’s parent’s home. Would, or could this work out for you? Why, or why not?
7. Why do we not take care of one another today?
8. Why are families broken and live apart today?
9. Do you think your life would be better if you had grown up in an extended close-knit family, with parents, grandparents, and such, as Peter did? Why, or why not?
10. What are some of the fears we have allowed to cause us to live alone and/or apart from family?
11. How is this passage a picture that we need to go before the Lord in behalf of others to plead their case in intercession and prayer (Luke 4:38)? How much time do you spend in prayer for others (intercession)?
12. The Bible says that God’s cures are perfect, immediate, and complete. When you see someone claiming to have been healed by God or a faith healer, and they are still sick, what does that say about them? What about how our Lord is portrayed?
13. She responds in gratitude, ministering to Christ and His people. How can our service be a reflection of our gratitude for what He has done for us?
14. Does your family work to compliment one another’s skills and abilities, working towards the common goal of one another’s benefit and needs? If not, why? What would happen if they did?
15. Read Ephesians 6:10-18, there is always the possibility that Satan will go after you, so, what do you need to do?
16. The demons called Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, the anointed one (Luke 4:40-41)! How does it make you feel that demons know, yet you may have friends and family that do not?
17. Here, Jesus directly casts them out just with a word. Why would this be quite a shock to the local population?
18. How should we respond when people teach that Jesus will and must heal you if you are a true believer and have enough faith? Can this be true?
19. The demons know who Christ is. Do you? Do you fully know? How can you have more confidence in who He is in your life, so it is proclaimed to others around you, even if you do not open your mouth?
20. What is in the way of your being fully assured in Christ and His Lordship over your life so you can put your faith, trust, and cares upon Jesus! How can you then teach this to others close to you?
© 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com