Summary: Jesus does not need nor want an audience in order to heal. He heals to bring people into service. He cures death to bring us to new life today.
When Jesus Touches…
This morning it was so tempting to start off with a mother-in-law joke. But, I have several problems.
First, I have been assured that it would be in very poor taste.
Second, it would be a horrible thing to make light of this woman that was reported to be sick.
Third, I have a really great relationship with my mother-in-law and I can’t dishonor that.
Let’s take a quick glance at the time line here in the first chapter of Mark.
John the Baptist came on the scene and pronounced the coming of the messiah. Jesus comes and is baptized and received an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Next, Jesus spends 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan.
Jesus starts moving through Galilee and teaching "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
When he runs into Peter and Andrew then James and John by the lake and tells them Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.
We often focus on that amazing moment of response. Wow….they left everything to follow Jesus. This small group heads off to Capernaum…..Why Capernaum?
We know it was a fishing village. It has a ½ mile long harbor. According to archeology, it was not a big city. Maybe only a few thousand people lived there in Jesus day.
But, it was on the edge of a major cross road for trade. Fertile fields nearby, the fishing industry all connected here on the North edge of the lake. The Romans placed a garrison outside of the town and they set up a tax office…where a guy named Matthew worked.
So, Capernaum was and important trade center in Galilee.
Capernaum was also the home of Simon, Andrew, James and John. When the fishermen drop their nets that day they are headed a few hundred yards maybe a mile or two….
They are headed home for the night or Sabbath. So after Jesus calls the fishermen they are not going anywhere yet. They just went up the small hill to one of their homes.
It seems that one set of brothers invites Jesus to stay over. It was the customary thing to do. And Jesus stays until the Sabbath where we know from last weeks scripture he taught in the synagogue.
From this point forward Capernaum would be Jesus home base for ministry and his mother and brothers would also live in the town at some point.
Filling in the gaps in the scripture, Jesus and his new followers meet at the synagogue and Jesus’ teaching amazes the people, he cast our a demon which further impresses the witnesses.
-- The service ends as our scripture this morning starts, it is still the Sabbath, immediately after the teaching session and Jesus and companions head off to Simon and Andrew’s home to spend the afternoon in Sabbath rest.
Basically, after church they headed off to have lunch at about 12 o’clock.
That sort of sounds familiar doesn’t it?
It seems that they were invited to Sabbath Lunch. The meal would have been prepared before sundown on Friday; because, no work was to be performed on the Sabbath.
According to authorities in history they only needed to travel around 100 yards from the Synagogue to the home.
There is a site that exists today that is thought to be the home of Simon and Andrew. The site has been identified since the time of Emperor Constantine. It has been a church and a tourist site for centuries.
Let’s listen again to what happens at lunch. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
They get to the house and we find out that Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever. We don’t know how long she has been sick. Since this illness is mentioned it might be that the situation was serious. There were several different infections spread in the water and by Mosquitoes that often caused a high fever and a slow death.
A couple of little details tell us something about the un-named mother-in-law. First, she is probably a widow and it is likely that she has no sons. It was the responsibility of the oldest son to take care of the parents in their senior years. So, Mrs. Peter (also un-named) was probably the oldest or only daughter.
The disciples have only been around Jesus for a few days at this point. They have witnessed some new teaching and an interaction with a demon.
They don’t seem to ask Jesus to do anything but; they inform him of the situation. That pops some questions into my mind.