(Matt 8:14-15; Mark 1:30-31; Luke 4:38-39)
Back in my single days I listened to H. Norman Wright’s sagely advice on relationships. One of the things he stressed, for those who were yet to exchange marriage vows, was the importance of having a good relationship with prospective in-laws. Not having any at the time, but seeing through the eyes of others the pitfalls of ignoring such sound counsel, I wisely (and to my eternal advantage), took his advice.All three Synoptic Gospel writers repeat an event in Jesus’ ministry concerning a mother-in-law, each in two short verses.Obviously, to this day, we don’t know her name. For two millennia this certain unnamed lady of scripture has been known only as ‘Peter’s mother-in-law.’Speaking well for Peter’s reputation as an Elder, his home enjoyed the presence of his wife’s mother.When Jesus visited, he found her unwell with a high fever. We do not know the nature of the disease that was afflicting her, but it was serious enough that she was confined to her bed. She couldn’t rise to greet her guests.Jesus, with a rebuke of the fever, and the touch of his hand, healed her. The healing was immediate and complete. Such was her new found state of health, that she rose from her sickbed and served her guests.To ensure that the point of what occurred in Peter’s home is not missed, we must stress that a miracle had taken place. Peter, his wife, his mother-in-law, and three other disciples present, became eyewitnesses to an act of God. Commentaries, sermons, and articles have teased out every possible point (real or imagined), about this incident. But the heart of the matter rests in this: We open, read, and believe the New Testament because the information therein is corroborated by faithful witnesses. Praise God for the blessing that came to Peter’s mother-in-law that day. Its never nice to be unwell. But praise God also, that 2000 years later, her sickness, and its immediate healing, remains yet another building block in an ever imposing wall of proof that cannot be ignored. Evidence that Jesus Christ, gracious and kind, is who he claims to be—God who came to earth to save man.