Monday, November 1, 2010

Have you heard the one about Jesus and the Mother-in-law?

Mother-in-laws often get a bad rap. There are so many bad jokes and stories about them. It’s almost like their doomed - -constantly accused of being meddlesome, manipulative, and opinionated.  I love my mother-in-law. She is kind, loving and supportive. Plus, she makes the best brownies ever! Mother-in-laws can be a tremendous example and blessing to their extended families. The account of Peter’s mother-in-law is about one such faithful woman and a story worth telling.
After worshipping God in the synagogue one day, Jesus, Peter, Andrew, James, and John went to Peter's home to relax and eat. When they arrived, Peter's wife's mother was bedridden with a fever. Dr. Luke, using medical terms, tells us that she had a “high” fever. (Luke 4:38) This implies that the fever was very serious and perhaps even life-threatening. When the Savior heard about her condition,” he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. (Mark 1:31)  

Jesus healed many people but with this particular healing, something unique happened. Quite often, after being healed, people left Jesus to go about their renewed lives. Peter's mother-in-law, however, immediately rose and began to minister to them. The Greek word for ‘minister’ can also mean to ‘serve’. Peter’s mother-in-law teaches us that if we are truly grateful to the Lord then we will not just thank him but we will serve him. 

And her service did not stop there. Peter’s home immediately became available to Jesus and his disciples whenever they stayed in Capernaum. Mark tells us the “whole city” gathered at Peter’s door (Mark 1:33). Late into the night miracle after miracle took place. It is likely that Peter’s mother-in-law was a widow and lived in his home. I imagine that she must have done a lot of cooking and cleaning during those times. Quietly serving the Master, while she herself feasted on His words
I think about all of the times that Peter was away from his family serving the Lord. Did they suffer from the loss of Peter’s financial income? Were they afraid of persecution because they were intimate with Jesus and his disciples? Were they worried that Peter himself would never come home? This wonderful lady must have been a tremendous support to Peter’s family. Her faith, testimony and witness of Christ’s mission surely must have given them great courage. 

I am grateful God chose to give us two Mother’s. The one that gives us life and the one that helps us understand life from a new perspective. We may not always agree with our mother-in-law but I believe that most act out of love. Like Peter’s mother-in-law, they can teach us and bless us. Sometimes it’s hard for adult children to open their hearts and lives to suggestions and help from their parents. But this story teaches us that a mother-in-law’s life experience, discernment and undying love for her family can be invaluable. So here’s to Mother-in-laws everywhere and to my own whom I am truly thankful for

Church over the house where Peter's mother-in-law was said to live -Capernaum Israel

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