“And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.”
If you’ve ever suffered from a running a high temperature, you know what Peter’s mother-in-law was enduring. The burning that sends sweat running down your face while at the same time chilling you to your core. The swollen, reddened face turned and tossed restlessly this way and that way looking for rest, and finding none. Yes, if you have ever had a fever, then you know how bad she felt.
The Bible in Leviticus 26:16 calls the inflammation, “the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart:” Fanny Crosby lost her sight as the result of a fever. Luke diagnoses her as having a “great fever” (Luke 4:38). There is real danger to letting a fever ‘run its course’. Sin is much the same way, it burns, blinds, and burdens our hearts. O that we would treat our hellish sins with as much seriousness as we do a high fever!
An old adage says, “feed a cold; starve a fever,” and whether there is any truth in the proverb or not, taking nourishment is surely the last thing on your mind while shivering and sweating. Doctors now tell us that keeping fluids and electrolytes in your system are the best way to weather a bad fever. Sometimes what we feel like doing is not the best way to get better. This is true physically as well as spiritually.
1. In this poor lady’s case. the Lord didn’t touch her where she felt she was hurting most. Yes, when one part of the body suffers, they all do, but the hand is the least worry when the head is clouded with pain. It is so odd, yet so instructive that the Saviour touched her there. Sinners are usually so blinded by symptoms that we cannot see the causes of our condition. We detect a shortage in our finances, and so we work harder, longer hours to make the difference; instead of being more generous with what we have. The Lord’s ways are so superior to our ways because He will touch our hand because He offers help OUT of our condition rather than appeasing us IN our condition.
2. Any natural man would have used the situation to promote himself, but Christ didn’t take advantage of her condition. He didn’t make a lengthy ordeal of the situation- He came to heal! There was no publicity, no self-promotion, just the touch of God. If you measured the power of God by the advertisement, by the ‘professionalism’, by the facilities, or by the show, you would be severely disappointed with Jesus Christ. He didn’t gain anything from healing anyone; He simply would not do it. Aren’t you glad the Lord intervenes in your life in the private, hidden, inner struggles? No one will ever know how bad it WAS, but you and He.
3. Not only that, but He lifted her to renewed service. There is a song that says:
“Are you laid aside from service
Body worn from toil and care?”
The hand of God moves for man, so that the hand of man may move for God. Many wondered if it would be worthwhile to heal someone in her condition; after all, it was such a severe case! If Jesus judged our usefulness in our sinful state, it wouldn’t surprise me if He never healed another one of us. But it is not service that earns His touch; it is service that follows His touch. Salvation by the blood of Jesus Christ is three-fold:
- saved FROM somewhere- going to hell,
- saved FOR something- sealed and Heaven-bound, and
- saved TO someone- service to the Lord Jesus.
You and I are saved to serve. We were laid up, diseased in mind, disabled in body, and confused in heart. The touch of Jesus in my life made all the difference.