Summary: The story of Peter, Peter's mother-in-law and the crown in this passage from Mark describe three different perspectives, but different needs as well. We all have needs and our greatest need is a savior.
The author Stephen W. Sorenson wrote in Discipleship Journal:
For two years, because of severe tendinitis in both wrists, I could not pick up my young daughter, carry a log, or even open a twist-off pop bottle. To make matters worse, my wife and I, with help from family and friends, were building a major addition to our home when the tendinitis developed, so I couldn’t even use a hammer. I wondered whether I would ever regain full use of my hands.
But, our remodeling went on. We installed a second-story window on one blustering evening with the help of some Christian friends and a man named Willy, a retired military musician.
Afterward, before the window crew began eating dinner, I prayed a simple prayer. Willy listened carefully and watched how the rest of us interacted. Later, as he was leaving, he said, “People don’t help each other like this anymore.”
I replied, “Sure they do!”
Willy came back to our house, day after day. He dug up our septic tank, cut diseased trees, and simply spent time with us. I sensed he understood my pain and our need. One afternoon as we walked and talked in the woods, I discovered why.
For most of his life, Willy had lived for his music, but a devastating ear problem developed, preventing him from listening to music of any kind. As a result, rather than being put off by my injury, Willy was drawn to me because of our common ground. And before we went separate ways, Willy became a Christian.
As I look back, I don’t know if I would have taken time to talk with Willy had my wrists been well. Most likely I’d have been hammering nails or running a chain saw. So “All” I could do was listen and talk. But in God’s plan that was enough. (Larson, Craig Brian & Leadership Journal, 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers & Writers, Baker: Grand Rapids, 1993. Pg.483)
We all have needs. For some, we may be like Stephen Sorenson, struggling with a medical condition, but still needing to work thorough life. Or we may be like Willy, looking for a friend that can relate to his own ailment. For others, we may need assistance with a car that won’t start and somehow we have to get to work on time. We all have our own, unique needs. But for all of us, we require a savior to lift us out of the sinful lives that we’ve all lived in.
In the Gospel lesson today, we heard the story of Jesus leaving the synagogue after a day of preaching, teaching and healing. Following such a busy day, working at establishing His ministry on earth, Jesus came to visit Simon Peter and Andrew at their home. After a long day, Jesus might have been ready to take a load off of his feet, kick back, and relax among his disciples and friends. But, the evening wasn’t so uneventful. Instead of a quiet evening, Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law, in bed, and sick with fever. Although he needed time to relax from a busy day, the needs of Peter’s mother-in-law were more pressing. But, our Gospel message today addresses more than just the needs of these two people.
Today, I’d like to look at several people’s needs from three different points of view in the gospel story. Simon Peter, Peter’s mother-in-law and the crowd that followed all had different things that they needed. But each was willing to seek out Jesus and satisfy their unique desires. Each took a moment out of their day to seek out Jesus as the great solution to their problems. Each approached their needs with a slightly different frame of mind.
Peter Had a Need
First, let’s take a look at the needs of Simon Peter.
Jesus spent the better part of the Sabbath teaching those around him. He impressed them because of His confidence, authority and knowledge. The crowds were amazed at how He spoke, what He said, and what He did. Look at what He accomplished in his ministry among the people: He chased a demon out of a man with only a word, He commanded an unclean spirit, and the spirit obeyed, He dumbfounded those around Him with His wisdom and words of authority. All these amazing things they heard Him say, and saw him perform; they didn’t understand who this man was, but they wanted to know more. They wanted to find out more about this teacher and understand the message He was delivering. Peter was also part of that group. He wanted to learn more from this rabbi who called him to be a disciple.
Peter wanted to continue his journey with Jesus, but he was also a friend of the Lord who probably wanted to help Jesus unwind after such a busy day. Simon Peter followed Him, listened intently, and knew He had a lot more to learn from this man from Galilee. So, he invited Jesus to his house to help him relax, and take care of his tired mentor, as well as learn a few more tidbits of wisdom from the master.