Summary: Epiphany 5 (B). Christ comes about us in the ordinary events of daily life. He comes to us, lifts us up, and restores us to wholeness, that we may live to serve Him and serve others.
May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in Thy sight,
O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
“First House on the Left”
In our reading from Mark, today, Jesus continues in His ministry. You will recall that He had been proclaiming, “The reign of God is at hand.” He was at the synagogue in Capernaum, and had cast an unclean spirit out of a man. Now the service is over, and Jesus and his disciples leave the synagogue. They go to the home of Simon and Andrew.
The ruins of the synagogue and of this house are still standing in Capernaum today. You can go there and stand where Jesus cast out the unclean spirit, and walk to the home of Simon and Andrew. As you leave the synagogue, to their house, it's not more than from here to the front door of our church. It’s the first house on the left. And even if our archeology is a bit off, we can see from the text that the house was not far off. Remember, this is the Sabbath day, and one could only walk as far as to the synagogue, and back. So the home is relatively close by.
Jesus comes into their home. Simon’s mother-in-law is ill. She is lying down with a great fever. The disciples tell Him of her condition. He goes in to see her. Reaching out, he takes her by the hand and lifts her up. The fever leaves her, and she gets busy being the hostess.
Jesus has performed two miracles that morning, one at the synagogue casting out the unclean spirit, the other here, healing Simon’s mother-in-law of her fever. Notice the differences between the two. In the synagogue, the miracle was occurred in a special place, set apart for God. Secondly, it happened in front of a crowd. Also, it was of an unusual nature – casting out an unclean spirit. It was an extraordinary occurrence. In contrast, this healing occurred in an ordinary place: the home of Simon and Andrew, the first house on the left. It happened in private. Whether the disciples saw Jesus raise her up, or not, the text does not say. But either way, it was a small handful of people, just the family, unlike the whole assembly of the synagogue. And this healing concerned an event of everyday life, a fever, albeit a great one. The healing confronted an ordinary trial – illness – rather than the extraordinary demonic possession.
So, what do we see in this healing miracle of Jesus? First, we see that Jesus comes to us. Jesus had been in the synagogue when he cast out the spirit. He was in a special place, a sacred place. But Jesus does not stay there. He leaves the synagogue and cmes into Simon’s home, the first house on the left. Our Savior does not stay in His temple, and demand that we find our way to God. He knows our condition. He knows that we “cannot be our own reason or strength believe or come to Him.” So He comes to us. He is Emmanuel. God with us. Simon’s mother-in-law did not have to leave the house to get to Jesus. In fact, she likely was unable to. Jesus came to her.