Peter’s Mother-in-Law – Healed by his Touch
By Steph Nickel
She may not be mentioned much, but just like Peter’s mother-in-law, we need to trust the Lord and serve Him with all of our heart.
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The Leper and the Centurion
Today we’re going to talk about a woman who is rarely mentioned, but because God saw to it that Peter’s mother-in-law makes a cameo appearance in His Word, there must be things we can learn from her story.
The following are excerpts from Matthew 8:1-15:
“When he [Jesus] came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. 2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. … 5 When he [Jesus] had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him … 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said … “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. …” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. 14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever.15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him.” (ESV)
We’ve heard about this leper and others and how Jesus’s touched and healed them. This is especially significant because lepers were considered unclean and their disease communicable. The fact that Jesus touched these individuals healed not only their body but also their heart. This truth is worth more consideration and I encourage you to look into this matter further—and trust that He can heal your broken heart as well as your broken body.
We have likely also heard about this centurion and his amazing faith. Because of this man’s position and the fact that he was an officer in the hated Roman army, Jesus’s followers almost certainly hoped the Lord would send this man away. However, Jesus does not reject those who come to Him, and He was not about to do so in this case.
Although the Lord would have gone to the centurion’s home, the soldier would not hear of it. He recognized authority when He saw it, and Jesus had tremendous authority. The centurion knew He only needed to say the word and his valued servant would be restored. And that’s exactly what happened.
Again, this is a story well worth digging into and studying further. However, today, I would like to point out three ways in which Peter’s mother-in-law was just like us and why her story is worth considering.
Just like us, she needed a touch from the Great Physician.
We may not be physically sick, but we all need a touch from the Saviour, from the Great Physician. Are we heartsick like the lady in my congregation who just lost her husband to lung cancer? Are we struggling emotionally, as is the case for many at this time of year? Are we struggling with emotional illness, often made worse with all the frantic activity during the Christmas season and into the new year?
And even if we can say no to all of these questions, we are most definitely spiritually sick if we haven’t come to saving faith in Jesus. In fact, we are spiritually dead without Him.
We all need His touch.
Just as He was for her, Jesus is able to instantly drive away anything that hinders us.
While the Lord may not banish our illness, our emotional and mental health issues, our day-to-day struggles, He is all-powerful and will always do what is right and good.
As followers of the Lord Jesus, we can depend on His promise in 2 Peter 1:3: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (ESV).
Did you catch that? “All things that pertain to life and godliness.” What an amazing promise!
In the case of Peter’s mother-in-law, Jesus’s mercy and grace led Him to reach out and touch her, driving out the fever, restoring her health and strength.
Just like this woman, we ought to respond to the Lord’s work in our life by willingly serving our Healer, our Redeemer, our Saviour.
And we have the same privilege. Serving Him should be our response to His work in our life. If we consider what He has done for us, the mercies He has shown, it makes it far easier to perform even what seem menial acts of service.
Whether we’re preparing a meal for guests, teaching a Sunday School lesson, or preaching a sermon, let’s remember Colossians 3:17, which says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (ESV).
Just like Peter’s mother-in-law, may we trust the Lord to work in our lives and may we serve Him with hearts overflowing with gratitude.
Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books.
Steph is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and The Word Guild. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Steph’s goal is to nurture and inspire. She blogs at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests. She also guest posts regularly on the topics of Christian living, writing, and fitness. You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
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