The third healing in Matthew chapter 8 is that of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. Jesus was most likely planning to stay at the house but Simon’s mother-in-law was unwell. As soon as Jesus arrived He saw her and reached out to touch and heal her. She was immediately healed and began to serve them!
A number of aspects of this story are interesting. Firstly, her healing was instantaneous and complete. This wasn’t a healing where she was encouraged to ‘go back to bed and see how you feel in the morning.’ There is no doubt that sometimes healing appears to take place over a period of time. However, as we read this chapter we are struck with the fact that the leper was told to go straight to the priest implying immediate healing and we are told that the centurion’s servant was healed ‘at that very moment’ (v13). And now, in this third account, Simon’s mother-in-law was well enough to serve a meal on the same day. God is able to heal instantly! We need to remember this as we pray for people to be healed.
Secondly, I love the way that her healing opened the door (literally!) for many others to be healed. After being healed, Simon’s mother-in-law served a meal to Jesus and His disciples, as well as the other family members in the home. That’s a lot of mouths to feed when you’ve been ‘lying sick in bed with a fever’ (v14). Then, once Jesus was refreshed and evening fell (v16), many people were brought to the house to be healed. The word clearly got out into the town: ‘Jesus has healed Simon’s mother-in-law and is staying over, so come and get healed, everyone!’ And many came! And Jesus ‘healed all who were ill’ (v16).
I think that this account teaches us something important about the effects of encountering Jesus. When we encounter Jesus it is definitely for our benefit. We are always changed when we meet Him.
But it is not for our benefit only. This account is an example of a lady being healed in order that that she could serve others, in this case by offering food and hospitality. This, in turn, opened a door so that others could also be healed as others came to meet Jesus.
Ephesians 2:10 says, ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.’ I think that Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law so that she could be well again. But she was also healed in order that she could serve Jesus and so that He could continue His ministry of bringing healing to many others. Simon’s mother-in-law encountered Jesus in order to be able to serve Him.
Have you encountered Jesus? Then how are you serving Him and what are the good works He has called you to do?