Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 1:29-31 bible study (August 22, 2023)
Updated: Oct 4
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. I pray that on this day you will find a meaningful way to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. This Bible study is a really good start. We all need to know that God provides opportunity after opportunity for each of us to reach out with the power of the Love of Jesus Christ so that other's lives may be brightened with Christ Light and Truth and Love. In today's brief reading we have a wealth of information which is most often dismissed in the reading of this passage about Peter's mother-in-law, and Christ's healing intervention for her. Please keep the victims of the tropical storm that blasted through southern California in your prayers.
Let's get started with our bible study with today's passage from Mark.
We already know that Jesus was in the synagogue on the Sabbath when he healed the man who was possessed by the spirits of darkness. Our Passage for today takes place immediately after Christ's healing at the worship of this community. Jesus and His disciples arrive at the home of Simon and Andrew at about noon. We know this because the Jewish day starts at 6AM, so the 6th hour would be about noon. It is interesting that they have all arrived to share in a common meal after going to worship, but there is a problem, Peter's mother-in-law is critically ill with a high fever. It is here that Jesus again ignores the routine thinking of the religious community. He healed in the midst of what we can assume was a fairly large crowd on the Sabbath. It is truly surprising that there were not more objections to Jesus having done that, but perhaps we can understand it because Jesus has done something that no one else has been able to do! However, Jesus is now in a much smaller gathering, mostly His disciples. In the intimate setting of a disciple's home, Jesus once again brings His Power to bear to heal Peter's mother-in-law. The disciples are already coming to Jesus over common problems which they are facing. They are learning to depend on Jesus. Perhaps the most amazing part of this passage is that immediately after her healing by Jesus, Peter's mother-in-law gets up and serves the Sabbath meal. (It is a good thing to understand how a cure for this fever would have moved forward if she had been healed in the current traditional way. A braid of her hair, detached, would have a knife made of only iron tied to it, and then attached to a thorn bush. That would be done three days in a row to effect healing. (Exodus 3:2-5)" Is it any wonder, that in healing, Jesus would offer something so different and effective that it would put on display the ridiculous nature of the medicine of the time. He would do the same thing with the rules for living in obedience to the decalogue too, simplifying the Law to Loving God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and the other, to Love your neighbor like you love your self. Jesus would bring his healing numbers of times which would display the power of God's Truth and Light for His children.
In Peter's mother-in-law we find a great analogy for what we are called to. In our Baptisms, In Holy Communion, in worship in its many forms, we are constantly being restored to the fullness of God's righteousness through the sacrificial acts of our Lord Jesus Christ! In our lives this in-breaking is available for us every day, and by the very same power with which Jesus healed the woman in this passage, in order that, as this woman does, we may be called to serve our Lord and Master with our very lives, not worrying about what the world may think, she's working on the Sabbath to serve Jesus and His disciples, actively ignoring the Jewish guides for how to keep God's law. She got it right! Once healed (forgiven) by Christ, our thanksgiving must be in the shape of service to the Truth of God's love for all people, renewing and offering Christ's hope for perhaps the first time to those who have yet to hear or understand this life-changing gift. On this past Sunday I preached about Christ Spirit, His Wisdom, who is with you and me all of the time through our Baptisms and the Holy Meal of our Lord. With the support of her family, Peter's mother-in-law, got up and served them all with thanksgiving for her healing. My question is this, Who will get to experience your thanksgiving?" We all need to live with this thanksgiving on our lips, in our hearts, and in the very strength of our bodies.
I forgot to indicate for you how this passage appears in other Gospels. It is of course in Mark 1:29-31, also in Matthew 8:14-15, and Luke 4:38-39. This story of Christ's healing is not a part of the Gospel of John.
Next Monday we will continue in chapter one of Mark verses 32-39.