Yesterday, I had the privilege and joy of preaching Matthew 8:14-17…
And when Jesus entered Peter ‘s house, he saw his mother- in- law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “ He took our illnesses and bore our diseases. (ESV)
Our focus was on 2 aspects of the text: 1) Christ building the apostolic witness (vv.14-15); and 2) Christ fulfilling the prophetic Word (vv.16-17). When speaking of building the apostolic witness, which we know to be the New Testament writings, we emphasized the point that the Scriptures bear witness to the person and work of Christ, particularly related to redemption. This means that every single miraculous act is like a springboard to show us the authority of Christ to save those who believe. Peter bore witness to this in 2 Peter 1:16-21 and John did the same in 1 John 1:1-4.
Now, in the Matthew 8 account itself we see Peter’s mother-in-law (yes, Peter was married) healed of some illness. We don’t know it’s extent, nature, or natural outcome. What we do know is that she responded immediately to Christ’s touch by rising and serving. This is similar to Peter’s response when first called as a disciple in Matthew 4, and it should be our most natural response to have been born again.
Every healing in Scripture shows Christ’s ability to remove sin, the ultimate terminal disease. We, those born again, are mercifully granted grace through the gift of faith, and His Word alone is needed to “heal” us of our sin-illness. Our response should be as simple as Peter’s mother-in-law…rise & serve.
As I stated at the conclusion of the service yesterday, your rising and serving is evidential fruit of having been truly born again. You are not the great physician and you cannot heal yourself. But once healed, you can get off the mat and do the will of God. You won’t be perfect, and He may not heal you of your temporal, physical maladies, but He has saved you and is preparing a place for you to eternally reside, without pain, a shed tear, and full of joy in His all-sufficient presence. So, rise and serve!
I don’t know what rising and serving looks like for you today. My guess is, for all of us, it looks a bit more like the Sermon on the Mount. Spending time alone with your Healer/Savior, Jesus Christ is a good start. Be reminded of just what has been graciously accomplished for you by Him and know Him better. Once you enter the fray of humanity, look for ways to build up the church and evangelize the lost. These are pretty much the only two types of people you’ll encounter today. We are far to passive in this. I don’t see the woman rising and serving with reluctance, rather eagerly with joy.
Look, keep it simple. You will be better served in the long run to begin small and continue to grow, than to “go big” and wind up flailing to be consistent. You have been made spiritually whole. 2 Peter 1:3 says you lack nothing you need to rise and serve well.
I pray that you will encounter Christ today, and know His healing touch if you haven’t already. I pray that, like the woman, you would respond very simply and immediately…rise and serve.