Because Christ has worked such a great work in us we ought to love and serve Him with all our heart soul strength and mind. We must continue to visit and care for the sick, worship Him in the beauty of holiness, bless and praise His most Holy name. This is our reasonable duty which does not change in the hour of crises but just the opposite, the crisis creates greater opportunity for the light of the gospel to shine brightly from God’s people. When all the world runs away in fear, then the light of Christ shines most bright by those who remain steady in their service to Him and one another.
Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them. – Luke 4:38-39
Viruses from Ebola, Malaria, Flu, Bubonic Plague, and Covid-19 all include one common symptom, a fever. God often uses fevers for good in that they are our body’s way of fighting bacteria, infections, and viruses. In some occasions however, the fight is not successful and the fever grows worse. If the underlying disease is severe the fever can become very great. Such was the case the day that Jesus went into Peter’s home in Capernaum.
Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house.
Luke 4 covers a wide range of events. It begins with Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, it continues to Jesus’ reception in His hometown and home synagogue in Galilee where He unequivocally declares His purpose for coming into the world and is treated cruelly by those closest to Him. After passing through the violent mob, Jesus visited other places in Galilee, especially Capernaum, where He was well received. After teaching in the Synagogue in Capernaum and healing a demon possessed man, Jesus went to Simon Peter’s house (the first time we read of Peter in the gospel of Luke).
In these few verses we learn something about Peter. He was hospitable. He cared for His household and showed kindness to his mother-in-law. Peter worked hard as a fisherman. In contrast to what Rome would have you believe, God’s servant Peter, like many ministers and prophets of old, was married and served the Lord best as a married man. His mother-in-law lived with him and his wife or stayed with them on occasion. She was taken care of at Peter’s home. The disciples of Christ were not lazy men given to sloth and the theft of other men’s riches but hard workers who labored much in their secular vocations and were prepared to labor well in their callings for Christ.
Men, if you desire to be used of God in His kingdom as a minister, evangelist, elder, or deacon, labor well now in the world He has made. Too many men have stumbled in Kingdom ministry because they failed to learn how to serve God well in their secular callings. A lazy fisherman will be a lazy minister.
At Peter’s house there was a problem. Peter’s wife’s mother, Peter’s mother in law, was sick with a high fever.
But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her.
Luke’s account of Christ’s work in Peter’s home adds slightly more context than Matthew’s account. Matthew 8:14 says that she was “sick with a fever.” Luke the physician adds further to this description that she was sick with a “high fever.” Luke makes the point that this was no ordinary fever that one might get with the flu, at the start of a cold, or some other occasion but that this was a dangerous fever. According to one resource, doctor’s today consider a fever dangerously high as it approaches or exceeds 108 degrees.* Peter’s mother in law had a high fever so that those in the house, who likely just witnessed Jesus’ preaching and cleansing in the Synagogue, made a request to Jesus that He might heal her.
Notice the testimony from the people at the house: 1) the people believed that Jesus had the power to help and save this sick woman with the high fever; and 2) and they acted upon that belief by making a request of Jesus to heal her.
Do you have such faith in the Lord Jesus Christ today that you will pray to the Lord for the sick and believe that He can and will heal? The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). Let us pray for the sick for the Lord Jesus Christ heals the sick and it brings glory to His name when the sick are healed. As you make your petitions, be like those in Peter’s house, who boldly went to Jesus asking for the woman to be healed.
So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.
Jesus responded to the request by going to the woman with the high fever and rebuking the fever. We should note several important elements to this account:
Jesus never hid himself or separated Himself from the sick. Jesus went to the sick, even to their bedside, he spoke to them. We are in a very strange time where, like in other pandemics of history, we are being told to stay away from he sick. In many respects we are encouraged to shun the sick. They are to quarantine and nobody is to go to them, see them, touch them, or be near them. This was not the way of the Savior. He went to the sick even those with high fevers and leprosy. Christians have always been known as those who went and visited the sick for Jesus said, “I was sick and you visited me” (Matt. 25:36). Let us not forget our Savior and our faith in the present pandemic and think the perceived protection of our health and life is of greater importance than following Christ. Who by taking thought can add one inch to his height (Matt. 6:27)? Who by hiding in his home can add one hour to the days of his life? Let us be those who care for one another in the middle of the pandemic and may the Lord show this contrast to the world and exalt His name through our deeds even though they may seem to present more risk than normal (Matt. 5:16). The call of the Christian is not a call to a risk free life. May we remember to visit the sick for Jesus visited the sick.
The fever was an enemy. Jesus rebuked the fever. Sickness is the result of sin in general and sometimes can be the result of a particular sin. While sickness should remind us to repent of our particular sins, each sickness that comes upon us is not necessarily the result of a particular sin. Sickness came into the world because of sin and God’s people will get sick and do get sick and many have died and will die from sickness. In the new Heavens and the New Earth there will be no more sickness and its corresponding sorrow. There will be no more death or pain. All will be made new and we will live into eternity with our blessed Savior who rebuked the fever. Jesus rebuked His enemy the demon in Luke 4:35. Likewise Jesus rebuked the fever for it was an enemy and the result of sin in the world.
While an enemy of the Christian and of Christ, sickness is not beyond the control of the Lord. He who has all power in Heaven and in Earth, commanding even the winds and the waves to obey Him, certainly and absolutely has power over fevers and disease. The account of Jesus with Peter’s mother in law should be a great comfort and encouragement to Christian’s. We have nothing to fear. He is more powerful than all the world and all its diseases and ailments. Jesus simply rebuked the fever and it left her. “God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2). God’s power is over all things including His and our worst enemies. Fevers have no power over God.