Thursday, September 27, 2012
Dear brothers and sisters,
For today’s good news I’m going back to Matthew 8:14-17:
Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him. When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet: “He took away all our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
This passage follows the healing of the leper in the synagogue and the centurion’s servant on his way to Peter’s home to rest. With the appearance of two stars in the evening sky the sabbath came to an end that day. People throughout Capernaum brought their sick to Jesus. It’s like he went into overdrive to cure them and cast out the demons.
We are not told of the responses of the many who came and were cured or those who witnessed his power. However, Matthew makes a point of telling us that Peter’s mother-in-law waited upon Jesus the moment the fever left her. There could be no more heartfelt way of showing her gratitude than to serve, to minister to his unspoken needs. So many of the other stories of healing end with the cured running off to tell others. But his woman turned instinctively to Jesus, to remain near to him, to be in communion with him for even a brief time.
The quote here from Isaiah actually reads, “Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured.” Jesus then and now takes upon himself our sufferings, that is, he suffers with us. His heart could not rest until all those in need of his compassion had been touched. That is the great heart of God who suffers with us. I am never alone even in the depths of pain or grief, of physical or emotional torment. I have always admired those people who are joyful and thankful to God even in the face of debilitating illness. It’s so obvious to me that they have been touched by God, that they have been lifted up by His spirit. Instinctively they turn to Him in gratitude and serve Him in any way they can, often ministering to the hearts of those who come to visit them. They become a conduit of His healing for them by their spirit of gratitude, of joy.
I am reminded of a time nearly thirty years ago when we had lost our prematurely born son. We were at the wake and a friend came up to me crying and telling me how sorry she was. I wiped away her tears with my thumb, embraced her, and told her it was okay. Meaning that I was at peace; I was grateful for God’s love and strangely felt a kind of joy. That’s how I show my gratitude to God for His compassion, for His healing, by ministering to others particularly those who are suffering. That is waiting on Jesus. That is the kingdom of God.