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SWIFT HEALING AND IMMEDIATE SERVICE

‘And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15. And He touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose and ministered unto them.’—MATT. viii. 14-15.

Other accounts give a few additional points.

Mark:—

That the house was that of Peter and Andrew.

That Christ went with James and John.

That He was told of the sickness.

That He lifted her up.

Luke, physician-like, diagnoses the fever as ‘great.’ He also tells us that the sick woman’s friends besought Jesus and did not merely ‘tell’ Him of her. May we infer that to His ear the telling of His servants’ woes is a prayer for His help? He does not mention Christ’s touch, which Mark here and elsewhere delights to record, and which Matthew also specifies. He fixes attention on the all-powerful word which was the vehicle of Christ’s healing might.

Both evangelists put this miracle in its chronological order, from which it appears that it was done on the Sabbath day, which explains our verse 16, ‘when the even was come.’

I. The scene of the miracle.

The domestic privacy of the great event seems to have struck the evangelists. It stands between the narrative of Christ’s public work in the synagogue, and the story of the eager crowds who came round the doors. So it gives us a glimpse of the uniformity of that life of blessing as being the same in public and in private.

Again, it suggests the characteristic absence of all ostentation in His works. We can scarcely suppose this miracle done for the sake of showing His divinity. It was pure goodness and sympathy which moved Him.

It occurred in a household of His disciples. There, too, sorrow will come. But there, if they tell Him of it, His help will not be far away. This is one of the few miracles wrought on one of His more immediate followers. The Resurrection of Lazarus, so like this in many respects, is the only other.

This scene of the healing Christ in His disciples’ household suggests the whole subject of the effect on domestic life of Christianity, or more truly of Christ Himself. It is scarcely too much to say that the home, as many of us blessedly know, is the creation of Christ. Cana of Galilee—The household at Bethany.

II. The time.

After His long day’s toil—the unwearied mercy. On the Sabbath—the Lord of the Sabbath.

III. The person.

The woman. How Christianity embodies the true emancipation of women. They are participants in an equal gift, honoured by admission to equal service.

IV. The effect.

‘She ministered’; testimony of the completeness of the cure. Which completeness is also real in the spiritual region.

How the basis of all our service must be His healing. Ours second, not first.

How the end of His healing is our service. We are bound to render it: He desires it. How each one’s character and circumstances determine his service. How common duties may be sanctified. He accepts our service whatever it be.

The Sabbath. The services of love come before ritual observance, in Jesus and in the cured woman.

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