Matthew 8: My Mother-in-law Is Sick!
On one occasion, Peter’s mother-in-law got sick with a terrible fever. What can we learn from the time Jesus healed her?
Yes, I have a mother-in-law, but she is not sick, at least not while I write this article. But once the apostle Peter’s mother-in-law got sick with a terrible “fever” (vs. 14; cf. Luke 4:38). So, Peter may have informed the Lord on that occasion: “My mother-in-law is sick!” What lessons can we learn from the time Jesus healed a mother-in-law?
Jesus has the power to heal family relationships. Popular modern opinion suggests that it is almost impossible to have a good relationship with in-laws; and, although it may be true that from time to time a family conflict may arise due to hostility toward Christianity (cf. Matthew 10:35), if Jesus were the center of each family member’s life, then they could live in harmony. This mother-in-law was being cared for in the house of her son-in-law, and the text implies that she was much loved; Mark records that they told Jesus about her “at once” (1:30), and Luke adds that “they made request of Him concerning her” (4:38). In the Old Testament, we find the book of Ruth, which describes the beautiful relationship between a daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law. Christians do not need to conform to modern stereotypes, but they can enjoy a wonderful relationship with all their relatives.
Jesus has the power to heal physical illnesses. Not only did Jesus have this power, but He still does. Although He is no longer on Earth doing miracles, He still heals many by means of prayer and providence (cf. James 5:13). This short narrative in Matthew teaches that, besides providing personal medical care for our loved ones, Christians have the effective tool of prayer (Matthew 7:7). This lady’s relatives “prayed” to God through Jesus (Mark 1:30; Luke 4:38), and we also can (and should) do this for others (cf. Acts 12:5; Philippians 2:25-28). If it is between the limits of God’s will (cf. Luke 22:42), He can concede healing through prayer (cf. James 4:3).
Jesus has the power to heal spiritual illnesses. Why did Jesus heal Peter’s mother-in-law? No doubt one of the reasons was to show compassion for her and her concerned relatives. Matthew adds a main reason when declaring that this and other healings were performed the same day to fulfill the words in ancient prophecy (vs. 17; cf. Isaiah 53:4-12). Jesus was to take our infirmities, and He did so. Therefore, His ability to heal the infirmities of the body evidenced His divine power to heal the infirmities of the soul.
Today Jesus does not walk the Earth performing miracles and giving spiritual gifts (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:8), but He is still able and wants to heal family relationships, physical illnesses, and, especially, spiritual infirmities. When Peter’s mother-in-law received healing, she immediately arose and served her Healer and His disciples (Luke 4:39). Will you trust Jesus to heal your soul to immediately serve Him after being restored?