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 sickness, 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. -Luke 4:38-41
Jesus had been teaching at the synagogue in Capernaum, and he went to the home of Simon Peter. Simon’s own mother-in-law was sick with a high fever, so Jesus healed her. The people must have been amazed to see that she was not just better, but completely healed, as she got up and began to wait on Jesus and the disciples. As evening grew to a close, the residents of Capernaum continued to bring their sick and demon-possessed friends and family to Jesus at Peter’s home. Jesus laid hands on each one and healed each one.
This happened early in Jesus’ ministry. It was meant as a powerful sign about Jesus. He came to help, to heal, to restore. His actions brought peace and happiness to the community. He was welcomed nearly everywhere as a great blessing to the community.
These signs were intended to point people forward. What would Jesus do next? Was his ministry fulfilled in merely healing the sick and possessed? No, these miracles would lead to even greater miracles, and, finally, to the greatest miracle of all- Jesus’ death and resurrection for the salvation of all mankind.
These signs fought against the popular misconceptions about who, or what, the Messiah ought to be. In the popular mind, the Messiah would come to bring political independence and economic prosperity as well as religious reform. Many would leave Jesus when he did not show signs of moving in that direction. But many were drawn to keep following him. The healer of the body is also the healer of the eternal soul. The one who can command sickness to go also has power to command sin to be forgiven and sinners to be declared righteous.
These signs still lead us today. They inspire us to see the great love and compassion of Jesus toward suffering people. They compel us to want to learn more about him. They lead us into his greatest miracle for us, in which we believe, and trust, and have eternal life.
Thank you, Jesus, for showing us clearly why you came down from heaven to earth. Thank you for showing us your compassion for sinners. Thank you for demonstrating your mercy and grace and peace. Keep us always in the true faith. Do not let us chase after worldly conceptions of what you ought to be or how you ought to behave. Fix our eyes on your cross and all that you did to pay for our sins and open to us eternal life. Amen.