After Jesus left the synagogue with James and John, they went to Simon and Andrew’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. So he went to her bedside, took her by the hand, and helped her sit up. Then the fever left her, and she prepared a meal for them.
Let’s start with a little background. Jesus began the day in the synagogue teaching on the Sabbath, amazing people with his knowledge and authority of God’s Word. He then commands a demon to come out of a man, who incidentally names Jesus as God’s Son. Jesus and his disciples then head to one of their homes for the rest of the day. Which is where today’s reading picks up.
I love the seemingly ordinariness of what happens next here in Scripture. Jesus has spent the earlier part of the day teaching to a large number of people and then very publicly healing a man. But then he just heads home…to a familiar place, with people he is likely well acquainted with – the family of his closest followers. Jesus has probably entered this home dozens of times. By now he is like family to those who live there. There isn’t much fanfare in this healing. No crowds are mentioned to witness it. But in the privateness of Peter’s home, Jesus reaches out a hand. A fever departs and Peter’s mother in law’s response is simply to serve.
In this account, Jesus makes me think of those friends in my life who are welcome to make themselves at home and help themselves to whatever is in the fridge. Not really a guest, more like family and part of the fabric of my life. It wouldn’t be weird for them to empty the dishwasher or set the table if it needed to be done. Upon walking into the house that day, Jesus saw a need. A need of someone he had done some life with and cared for, and he lent a hand to help.
Jesus had a pretty public ministry, but he had some private ministry too. Ministry that was not observed by the crowds of people, but noted by those to whom he was closest. Ministry that resulted in grateful service because of his love and compassion and willingness to see the needs of those closest to him and then do something about them. I believe He calls us to that, too. To not live so isolated that we don’t see the people around us, but to invite people into relationship, and then, in the ordinariness of everyday life, to love and to serve one another.