Lent – Day 10: Saturday, 27 February
38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.
40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of illness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.
At this synagogue in Capernaum, which was a day’s walk from Nazareth, Jesus had been confronted by a man suffering from mental illness –at least, that’s how some might interpret the man’s condition, but who would rebuke a condition? Read the account for yourself.
And now Jesus rebukes a fever. Luke tells us that she was suffering from a high fever, not just a slight temperature. This might be treated with drugs these days, and we have emergency facilities for those whose lives may be in danger.
Simon’s mother-in-law was in a precarious situation. It could have been fatal. Jesus speaks, and the fever leaves her body. My Dad’s recovery from an appendix removal when I was young involved a couple of weeks at a convalescent home, and no physical exertion for a long time after. These days you could be lifting heavy weights again after two weeks, if that’s your thing. Our lady was up and serving immediately.
Jesus’ method was to talk to the fever itself. Luke describes the fever leaving her, as if it had been given marching orders. Surely that sort of thing doesn’t happen these days, does it?
It doesn’t stop there. After the incident in the synagogue the news swept round the area. At the end of the same day, there were crowds outside the door. Jesus again rebukes what we might call mental disorders and heals the sick, all of them.
Is Luke’s account (vv.38-39) true?
Was this a healing?
What was Jesus rebuking?
Father God, there are elements in the healing work of Jesus that sound strange to my modern ears. Lord Jesus, keep me close to you so that I may understand your healing ways. Holy Spirit, enable me to understand more of the spiritual battles that go on in people’s lives. Amen.