I think mothers-in-law (MIL’s) get a bad rap. Most of the time, anyway. In our situation, we live close enough to visit and help each other when it’s needed, too close to bother spending the night, and too far away pop in all the time. We live just the right distance away from the in-laws. 🙂
It’s interesting that the first person that Jesus touched (in Mark‘s & Luke‘s gospels) is Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. Mark’s and Matthew’s accounts actually mention that Jesus touched her. I think this one of the funnier healings in scripture. Let’s set this up.
Peter and Andrew are fishing partners. James and John are also fishing partners. These were uneducated men. Fishing was a way of life for them, the means of income. Capernaum was a small fishing village on the sea of Galilee.
There’s not much information on this, but I envision Peter and his wife live there in Capernaum and share their home with Peter’s mother-in-law. (Is there a father-in-law in the picture? Don’t know. I suppose not.)
Imagine living with your wife and her mother. You’re often out during the day and maybe sometimes at night, fishing, processing & selling your catches, repairing nets, etc. If Peter’s MIL is anything like mine, she’d basically be another member of the household. Carrying her own weight. Helping out where she can. In fact, she’d probably be a huge help. And getting along with her probably goes a long ways toward getting along with Mrs. Peter.
Now that she’s been gripped with a fever, the whole household feels it. She’s probably delirious, laid up in bed, sweating, cold chills, probably talking nonsense. Everyone is desperate for her relief. I’d be desperate to get back to normal.
Leading up to this, Jesus has become quite the celebrity. Casting out demons. If this portion of Matthew’s gospel is chronological, he’s given the sermon on the mount by now. Maybe by now, he’s already healed a leper and a foreign soldier’s servant. The point is he has become famous for healing people.
And now it looks like Peter and Andrew ask for a personal favor. In addition to healing these seemingly random people that come to you, can you do something for me? For my mother-in-law?
Jesus takes her hand, helps her up, and begins to wait on them.
Hey, thanks Jesus. Can I get you some iced tea?