Summary: The Absolute Divine Authority of God is seen in the Miracles of Jesus: Everything Jesus did in His earthly ministry pointed to the Cross and His payment for SIN.
“A Touch and a Word of Healing”
Today we continue in the series of miracles by Jesus which are recorded in Matthew 8-10, in which Jesus demonstrates that His Authority could only come from God. We look first at the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. This miracle happened after Jesus and His disciples left the synagogue and went to Simon Peter’s house for dinner; but on the way, Jesus found out that the mother-in-law wouldn’t be doing the cooking that day. (We are going to read this account in the three gospels that record it.)
Matthew 8: 14 When Jesus came into Peter's home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. (the root word means “fire”, “a pile of burning fuel”) 15 He touched her hand, (remember this word, “touched”? It means to “fasten or adhere to” or also to “Kindle a fire”) and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him.”
Mark 1:29 “As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand (“to have power, be powerful: a) to be chief, be master of, to rule. 2) to get possession of. a) to become master of, to obtain. b) to take hold of) and helped her up. (to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life.) The fever left her and she began to wait on them.”
Luke 4: 38 “Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering (to be pressed on every side) from a high fever, and they asked (begged) Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked (admonished) the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.”
This miracle of healing Peter’s mother-in-law is provocative in more ways than you realize; for one, Jesus performed it on the Sabbath AND He healed a woman. The Jewish prayer book (siddur) is thick with prayers and blessings: One of the morning prayers used goes like this: "Blessed are you O God, King of the Universe, who has not made me a goy [Gentile], a slave, or a woman.” Jesus ministered to all three of these categories of people.
Jesus demonstrates Godly Power to Heal
Again we see that Jesus demonstrates Godly Power. We see Him only “touch” the woman in two of these accounts, and in Luke, He no doubt touched her as well as rebuking the fever to leave. Jesus has the healing touch to demonstrate His unusual unearthly power. In Matthew, the word for “fever” and the word for “touched” both have the word “fire” in their root meaning. We have a saying which goes: “Fight fire with fire”, but there was no remedy for this high fever. This fever could only mean death, and Jesus fights the fire of fever with the power of a divine touch. In Mark when Jesus took her hand, it was to be her master, his touch was powerful, authoritative.
We looked at John 6 and Romans 8 and 9 and saw how God initiates His saving work in hearts that are opposed to Him, and here we also see how Jesus initiates and completes the healing process. He doesn’t screen the cases and see if healing is possible. He doesn’t ask a bunch of questions. He doesn’t examine her for vital signs, He simply takes her hand firmly, touches her, rebukes the fever, and she is Healed. Jesus is the one who makes the choice to heal and save the woman; she was not even aware of His presence.
Jesus does His powerful work IN and UPON those that He chooses. It was certainly part of God’s Providential Plan. He called the disciples, including Peter, Peter was married to his wife, and they lived in the same house with His mother-in-law…and Jesus came for dinner after synagogue. Jesus is able to heal completely and immediately. She had no knowledge of Jesus even BEING there, but Jesus touches her and raises her from the sleep of death into life and the results are immediate. Jesus doesn’t say drink plenty of liquids, take Tylenol, and get plenty of bed rest and let me know how you are doing in a few days: He demonstrates His immediate power to SAVE from death.
In looking at the three accounts of this miracle you see that the woman’s reaction is the same. The woman got up and began and immediately began to “wait on” Jesus and others. She probably began to cook gefilte fish, or maybe a fish that Peter brought in, bake some fresh bagels, and send James or John out for some cream cheese. The woman demonstrates an immediate response to God’s healing grace by serving Jesus and others.