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6. Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-law


A. Passage Selected: Mark 1:29-34

Also in Luke 4:38-39 and Matt 8:14-15

B. Progression Stated: Biographical

C. Presentation Summarized:

1. Context 1:29

In Capernaum on the Sabbath. Tradition says that Peter’s house was only about 100 yards from the synagogue. They have a church built on the spot. But part of the site location problem in Israel is that Constantine’s mother-in-law came through Israel around 300 AD and had churches built on various spots to represent this or that event from the NT. It is highly debated as how accurate she was.

There are two mothers-in-law in the Bible who don’t have the typical mothers-in-law relationships. Naomi and Peter’s mother.

2. Content 1:30-31
a. The woman with a high fever (30)

Luke points out that the fever was high. He wants you to know that it is serious. It is even more serious for an adult to have a high fever than for a child.

The disciples speak to Jesus about her fever. Here we see their intercession for her.

b. The woman healed (31a)

In Mark we see that Jesus took her hand. This is the helping hand of the servant.

Matthew says “when he touched her hand...” Why the difference? Matthew is writing to a Jewish audience. If a Jew touched a sick person, it would make them unclean. Jesus can touch sick people without becoming unclean because his touch heals them.

In Luke we see Jesus’ bedside manner - “He bent over her...”

This may be pure speculation as to the reasons for the differences between the different authors, but it is interesting to see how the different writers emphasized different things for their audiences. If you asked the question, “Did he touch her, Did he bend over her, Did he grab her hand and help her up?” The answer is yes to all of them. It is not hard to harmonize.

Luke mentions that Jesus rebuked the fever.

c. The woman helping (31b)

Not just the absence of disease, but the restoration of strength. If you ever watch some of these miracle worship services on TV, the people that are healed sort of shuffle off the stage.

She served them. In the gospel of Mark, serving is a sign of greatness. So we see a little bit about her character. It is interesting that only angels and women served Jesus in the gospels.

3. Context 1:32-34

Once the Sabbath was over, the people flocked to Jesus with their sick and demon possessed to have Him heal them.. They had to wait until the Sabbath was over so that they didn’t violate the Pharisees’ rules about carrying burdens on the Sabbath. Again we see that the Pharisees rules were more of a burden to the people than a fulfillment of the original intent of the Sabbath which was to provide rest. What better way to rest than to go be healed by Jesus. But the people had to wait. To the pharisees rules were more important than people.

Vs 35 After a very full day of ministry, Jesus gets up early the next morning to spend time with the Father. I know the human tendency after a full day of ministry is to sleep in the next day. I think this illustrates that Jesus’ strength came from the Father.


  • We now learn that Jesus has the authority to heal disease. Why is that important? Cf. Isa 35:5-6; 53:4-5. Isaiah predicts that the Messiah would heal. So, these events further identify Jesus as the Messiah.
  • Jesus is not someone who majors in fixing bad backs or leg lengthenings. He can heal all manner of diseases. Notice also that they aren’t performed on a platform. It took place in her bedroom probably, out of sight of the crowds.
  • Is sickness always the result of sin? No. There is nothing in the passage about sin she needs to confess.

    Five reasons for sickness:

  • It may be the result of sin 1Cor 11:
  • It may be the result of demonic activity
  • It may be to teach maturity or humility. 1 Pet 4:1 to purify us. Like the refiner’s fire.
  • It may be to simply demonstrate the power and glory of God. John 9:


  • We see the importance of intercession. Others become the channel of blessing for someone else.
  • While there are times to get away, ministry sometimes needs to be done when I’m tired. Jesus had just been teaching in the synagogue and they’ve gone home to eat and rest.
  • Serving should be the natural response of gratitude for the work of God in our lives. She got up and immediately began to wait on them. Luke and Mark both point this out. Luke points it out because as a doctor, he wants to emphasize the completeness of the healing. Mark points it out because it fits his theme of serving.
  • Being a follower of Jesus does not exempt your family from sickness.
  • Sickness can be used to teach us what to do with our health. There are times when I’ve been in bed with a bad back or pinched nerve in my neck or last month with my broken ribs and it motivates me with what I want to do when I’m healthy.
  • Related Topics: Miracles

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