Lesson 27: Healing of Peter's Mother-In-Law
Matthew 4:18-25, 8:14-17, Mark 1:29-39, Luke 4:38-44
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Welcome! This is lesson #27. It was a sabbath day in Capernaum. The same day that Jesus cast out the unclean spirit out of the man at the synagogue. This lesson begins as Jesus left the synagogue. We'll begin with Luke 4:38 and, we'll finish the chapter. Luke 4:38 beginning. Let's read. "And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him: and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also come out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ. And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee." O.K. now the sequel in Mark's account. It begins in Mark 1:29-39. Let's read. "And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever; and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into asolitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils."
Now, before we discuss this let's read from Matthew also. Beginning in Matthew 8:14. Are you ready? Four verses, Matt. 8:14-17. Let's read. "And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
Mark and Luke use this occasion to show how fast Jesus moved from one place to another and the intensity of his ministry at that point. He taught in the Synagogue undoubtedly that morning and cast out the unclean spirit, more healing late that evening and Jesus departed from Capernaum the next morning. But, FROM the synagogue that day Jesus went directly to Simon Peter's house. Mark uses the word "forthwith" to connect these two events, indicating immediately. Luke says, "he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house." Mark said "they entered into the house of Simon AND Andrew, WITH James and John." If you'll think about it, this verse does a lot of connecting up and begins to give us some perspective we have not had until now. In the book of John at the last of the first chapter, we learned that John the Baptist introduced two disciples to Jesus at Bethabara beyond Jordan. We concluded that the two disciples who lodged with Jesus that night were John and Andrew. Through them, you will remember, the next morning Jesus met Andrew's brother Simon which Jesus called Cephas or Peter meaning "A stone". (John 1:42). John also said there in v.44 that Philip, Andrew and Peter were all from Bethsaida, city # 7, which you should already have posted on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. But, here in Mark's account we learn that Peter and Andrew had a home in or near Capernaum. So, I would assume Bethsaida [the house of fish] was their hometown or ancestral town, i.e. like Joseph's ancestral hometown was Bethlehem of Judah, although Joseph lived in Nazareth of Galilee where Jesus grew up.
Now at this point, I want to go back to Matthew's account (ch 4) and read a few more verse there. Matthew said in 4:12-13 that Jesus came back into Galilee, left Nazareth and dwelt in Capernaum. We've already covered this. It was there according to Matthew's account that Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (v.17). Let's read Matthew 4:18-22. Did you find that? Matt. 4:18 beginning, let's read. "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him." O.K. those verses bring the man James, introduced by Mark in Mark 1:29, into perspective. James was a brother of John the writer of the 4th book of the N.T. These two brothers ultimately became apostles of Jesus. We learned in Mark 6:3 that Mary and Joseph had a son named James also; but that is not the James mentioned here. The first few verses in Luke ch. 5 will add a little more to this relationship; but, these men, Peter, Andrew, James and John along with Zebedee were partners in a fishing business there on the Sea of Galilee. They undoubtedly did a good business. Peter and Andrew had a home there on the shore of that freshwater lake called the Sea of Galilee and that home was AT or near the city of Capernaum. Are you getting the picture?
On that Saturday in Capernaum after Jesus cast the unclean spirit out of the man in the synagogue; Jesus left the synagogue and entered into the house of Simon and Andrew; Mark said (v.29). James and John were also with them on this occasion. Then Mark said (v.30), "Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever..." Luke said, "they BESOUGHT him [i.e. Jesus] for her." (Luke 4:38). And this seems a very natural thing to do, considering what had just happened at the synagogue. But, keep in mind these were two completely different things, i.e. fever and unclean spirits. V.39, said "he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them." Alright, Luke doesn't indicate that Jesus touched this lady; but Mark said "he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her..." Now, I don't want to drive this point into the ground; but, I want you to observe something here. Both Mark and Luke used the word "immediately" in describing the healing of this lady. It was not like modern day so-called healing that we see on television today which always starts off: send me a dollar. This fakey, money making racket today at the expense of the poor, ignorant and sick people has no resemblance whatsoever to what happened in Peter's house by the sea that Saturday in Capernaum. Jesus didn't say: If you have faith enough, lady, you'll start to commence to begin to eventually feel better. Luke, who was a physician, you will remember, said [snap], the fever left her immediately and she arose and ministered unto them. Does that sound like T.V. show biz to you? She probably hopped out of the bed and fixed their dinner. And she was taken with a "GREAT fever." And like the nobleman's son in that same city that had the fever (John 4:52), this was a measurable, observable symptom of a disease that immediately went away. It was NOT like that vague stuff palmed off on T.V. today, rheumatism, lumbago, etc., where there are no visible, measurable, observable changes in the symptoms of the patient. You don't have to be a M.D. to see that we're talking about two different things.
And, while we're talking about those outlandish claims made today; notice something else here. My Catholic friends (today) say Peter, the very same man discussed here was the first pope. Now, Peter was NOT the first pope; but that's what THEY say. Even if they could prove that, which they can't; did you notice THAT Peter had a wife? You mean a pope had a wife? That's against their religion. Not, only that, decades later; Peter took his wife with him when he traveled. I can prove it! Read the first five verses of I Cor. ch. 9. My friends, not everything religious is righteous. And the most important part of that word "righteous" is the first five letters, R-I-G-H-T. Some claims made today are NOT "R-I-G-H-T." And this same Peter said many years later, "if the RIGHTEOUS scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (I Pet. 4:18). At the household of Cornelius, many years later Peter said (Acts 10:35), "God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, AND worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." So, stick to the book and don't be taken in by all the outlandish claims made today in the religious world.
Now, back to Capernaum, the city by the sea. Let's try to finish off the chapter. Late that Saturday afternoon, "when the sun was setting," Luke said (v.40), after the fame of Jesus had gone out into every place (v.37); "all they that had any sick with divers disease brought them unto him..." Mark said, "all the city was gathered together at the door." (v.33). O.K., now pick up on something here. It was against the tradition of the Pharisees to CARRY anyone or anything on the sabbath day or to travel a long distance. But, when the sun set, behind those Galilean mountains to the west, the sabbath day ended. This gives you an insight into the way they marked and reckoned time. As soon as the sun set that evening the day changed to Sunday. That is peculiar to us; but that's the way they did it. So, when the day changed, you see, the whole city gathered together at the door of Peter and Andrew's house there by the sea-side where Jesus was staying. Matthew said (8:16) "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick." And then, as you would expect, Matthew, true to his style, points out this FULFILLED Isaiah 53:4. All three writers make the distinction between disease and unclean spirits that we talked about before. Dr. Luke observes that Jesus "laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them." And, you might notice, as we discussed before, Luke said in 4:41 that Jesus would not permit the devils to speak on any issue. And then, Luke gave a reason, "for they knew that he was Christ." As we said before this is CONSISTENT with all the teachings in the N.T. Paul told the brethren at Ephesus, "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Eph. 5:11). In other words, when we expose ourself to the devil; we give the devil an advantage. So, don't do it! James said, Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7). Matthew said Jesus "cast out the spirits with his word..." (8:16). This bring out the difference in Matthew and Luke's point of view.
Our writers didn't say, so you'll have to form your own mental image here. I suppose as Saturday faded into Sunday and the sun eased behind the mountains of Galilee to the west that evening; eventually darkness began to disperse the crowd rejoicing over those that were carried there but walked away without even crutches. Can you imagine the elation? What about the credentials of Jesus? The candles at Peter's house must have burned late that night. But, our writers skip on to next day. As that sun began to dawn on that Sunday morning and be mirrored on the lake as it peeped over the eastern horizon; Jesus was at it again! Mark, says, (v.35), "a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." What a great example! Luke says, "he departed... into a desert place." So, you might notice, here's a Bible definition of a desert place. Jesus' prayer is not recorded. But, it wasn't long until "people sought him." (Luke 4:42). Mark said, "Simon and they that were with him followed after him." In other words the crowds began to appear again. Take a look at Mark's quote in v.37, Peter and the others said, "All men seek for thee." Luke says, they "stayed him, that he should not depart from them." Undoubtedly the crowd wanted to pick up where they had left off the night before. It doesn't say that here; but LIKE in every crowd, I suppose there were many curiosity seekers and some wanted to be entertained. But, you will remember that John pointed out at the end of chapter 2; that Jesus' mission was too serious and too important for such empty-headed stuff. Look, at Jesus' answer in Luke 4:43, "I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent." So, Jesus insisted on going on into other cities. Now, there are 12 verses at the beginning of Luke ch. 5 that I would assume took place on that same Sunday, possibly in the morning, before they departed from Capernaum. We'll begin with that in our next lesson. But, I would like to end this lesson by reading the last 3 verses in Matthew ch. 4 and THUS close out the first four chapters in Matthew, the first four chapters in Luke and the first four chapters in John. You might check to see if these are all highlighted. But, while you're turning to Matthew 4:23, let me say: this is one of Matthew's broad strokes. In these verses, Matthew summarized Jesus' ministry over Galilee. Undoubtedly this was in the early months of AD 31, according to our count. So, let's read from Matthew. Beginning in v.23. Are you ready? "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan."
O.K. pretty much the same thing that Jesus did at Capernaum; he extended his ministry into the other cities of Galilee. As I said before, this is what some refer to as Jesus' GREAT GALILEAN MINISTRY. In v. 25 where we just read, Matthew said GREAT multitudes of people followed him. V.23 said Jesus was "preaching the gospel of the kingdom, AND healing..." Decapolis was a region made up of 10 cities on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. The other places are all marked on your map. So, keep a good disposition AND have a good day!