When Jesus came into Peter's home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. (Matthew 8:14-15 NASB)
Often times we look at healings in the scriptures and they seem so amazing, because they are, but we miss some of the more simple healings, especially this one. We cling to stories about lepers, paralytics, the blind, and others... yet when we read of Jesus healing a fever we just gloss over it. This is tragic on our parts. The reality is that every one of us will have a fever at some point, even a sever fever that leaves us bed ridden, but very few of us will ever be blind, leprous, or paralyzed. This is one of the healings in the scriptures that all people could relate to, but because it lacks a high profile disease we gloss over it.
I do not want to get into healings, how they happen, why they happen, what role faith has in them and so on... we will look into that at some point, but not this post. What should be noticed and dwelled on in this passage is why she was healed, and what her response was. Jesus came into Peter’s Mother-in-law’s house, when a guest came into the home they would be waited upon and served in some way (this should be the standard practice of any decent person even today... especially in a Christian home). In the context this passage it was the duty of Peter’s mother-in-law, whether it was Christ or anyone else came in, to wait upon them and serve them. Peter’s mother-in-law could not serve the Christ because she was bed ridden with a fever, so Christ healed her so that she could. Do you see what is happening here? Jesus performs this miracle in order that this woman would be free to serve Him. In one sense this seems awfully arrogant and even selfish, but when you know who the Christ is and recognize that service to Christ is the privilege above all privileges you will see this healing as a great grace afforded to Peter’s mother-in-law.
What is the application? The reason for healing of any magnitude is for the glory, honor, and service to Christ. We are not healed or delivered from various maladies solely, or even primarily for our own benefit, but instead for His benefit and our freedom to serve Him. To the unbeliever this is absurd, because the unbeliever desires God to be at their disposal to perform their needs. Unfortunately many within the professing Christian community will present God as though He really is at people’s disposal to meet their needs, and they do this in the name of attracting people. The unfortunate truth is that these ‘Best life now’ type leaders are not presenting the real Christ, but attempting to create a God who is palatable to the masses. So why are we healed? Why are we even saved? Why are we delivered from various trial and even temptation? One reason... to serve the Most High God. Remember God does all things for His glory, which is ultimately to our benefit as well, but the primary reason for God’s action in your life, is that you would honor and glorify Him in this world and in the world to come.
As a final aside on this passage, and don’t get too caught up in this, realize that Peter was married, which obviously is why he had a mother-in-law. The Roman Catholic Church asserts that Peter was the first of an apostolic succession of Popes. This should bring into question their requirements of celibacy for Popes, Priests, and such. If their original Pope was married, what exactly are they doing now? Do not dwell on this, but realize Peter was not a Pope, the scriptures never allude to any Popish type office in the Church, and it is doubtful that any man who actually believes the Holy Scriptures and honestly loved the Lord with any humility would even dream of assuming the role of a ‘Pope’.