You are my son, whom I dearly love. (Luke 3:22)
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law. Peter, referred to as Simon in Luke, had not yet become one of Jesus’ disciples. We don’t often think about the disciples’ families. Simon Peter was obviously married, since he had a mother-in-law. She appears to have lived in Peter’s house with Peter and his wife, which was common practice at the time. As no father-in-law is mentioned, Peter’s mother-in law was likely a widow.
When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, he found Peter’s mother-in-law sick with a fever. In the Gospel of Luke, the story says that Jesus ordered the fever to go away. The very next verse tells of the woman serving Jesus a meal. This is not an attempt to illustrate Jesus and others in the house as demanding but rather to demonstrate the immediacy and completeness of the woman’s recovery. Peter’s mother-in-law felt so much better that she was ready to get up and serve. She was grateful to Jesus for healing her, and the expression of her gratitude was service.
After Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, people with all kinds of diseases were brought to Jesus. Luke tells us that Jesus put his hands on each one of them and healed them. The Gospels contain many stories of Jesus healing people. Jesus cared about people. He cared not only for their spiritual well-being but also for their physical wellness. Healing was a way for Jesus to show his compassion for people and to show the power that was given to him by God.
When we follow Jesus’ example of how to live, we will show compassion for those around us. We do not have the power to perform miracles and heal people dramatically as Jesus did. We can still be healers, though. Opportunities to care for others and to be kind present themselves every day. As you teach the story of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law and other people, remind the children that we can follow Jesus’ example to care for others.
God chose Jesus; Jesus chose God.
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