-The story of the untold story-
Dear friends od the Adventist Defense League,
Among the many beautiful stories of the New Testament, we have the lovely detail of a women who began to experience one of the worst times of her life. Her dreams and expectations, with hopes of one day realizing them, seemed to now slowly fade away. Her thoughts upon that bed were of the most frightening ones. What will she do now? She has so much more she wants to accomplish in her life, but now it seems nearly impossible. This sickness has taken hold of her very being, and in her mind she feels the need of a savior. But who? Who will find time to visit this poor old women to comfort her in her time of need? Who will spend the time she desires to talk sweet words of love and comfort into her ears, and encourage her to stand firm in her faith? Amidst her agony, and as she looks around… she is lonely. No one is home. She can only stare at the ceiling of her room, and wait until this terrible sickness has done its job. Who was this woman? It’s a women you least hear spoken of in the scriptures. Her story is least mentioned in sermons. But her story is one of the most impacting ones found in the Holy Bible. It is the story of Simon’s mother-in-law.
Turn with me to the book of Mark, chapter 1, beginning in verse 29. Notice, before we enter into this passage, that the savior, Jesus Christ, is not here at the moment. He began his ministry elsewhere, recruiting his beloved disciples, men of poor and humble statues. He entered into a synagogue, were he would meet violent opposition to his words. Here, he healed a man. The account says, “And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, saying, ‘Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God” – verses 23-24. Many speak about the demon possessed man who had a spirit called Legion, whom Jesus healed. This man though, also had many spirits, for the spirit speaking referred to himself as “us.” At the very moment Jesus’ holy presence entered the synagogue where this sin stricken man was found and taught the people… at that very moment that spirit cried out, “Let us alone!” Who was this man who can stir up the very spirits? This man was Jesus, and with one command, the spirits departed from the man, and he layed healed of his sickness. Could this same man heal Simon’s mother-in-law also? His fame quickly scattered through out the land of Galilee. Something happened when this man entered that sin stricken synagogue. Jesus, a bold and courageous man, entered into the problem, and solved it. How many of us would dare enter into where the problem resides in order to help solve that problem? The thought is unimaginable for us. The very sound of a demon possessed person sends cold down our spine. But where that problem was… where that sin was… where that sickness called SIN was, there he entered, and there he healed. Could this man possibly do the same for others who are also sick with sin? That man whom Jesus healed was probably sick for a very long time because of the multiple spirits that were within him. What sin caused this man to end up like this? What was he really in need of? Healing… but from what? Just healing from his physical sickness? Or also healing from his spiritual sickness, which caused him to end up the way he did? This man need more then healing, he needed a healer.
Jesus now leaves the synagogue. He entered into it when it was most stricken with sickness, but he doesn’t stop there. No, Jesus is interested in more then one sheep. He has come to gather in all his lost sheep, and it is amazing how he does this one by one, with a personal touch in each case. Such is also the case in verses 29-30. Notice the verses:
(29) And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
(30) But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.
Notice that if you read verse 16, you will find that Simon and Andrew were fishing. They then followed Jesus into that synagogue. James and John also were with them. Who was in that house? Only Simon’s mother-in-law, lonely, and afraid, suffering from an unnamed sickness that had her nearly paralyzed upon her bed. How severe was her sickness? All we know, from the greek word translated “fever” is that is was pretty extreme, for it literally means “inflamed.’ So bad, that verse 31 hints to the fact that she was unable to move up from her bad on her on. But then came this man. She had probably heard of this man. “This must be he who healed that spirit possessed man?” she probably thought. “Could he do the same with me?”
Verse 29 again shows how Jesus enters where the problem resides. It reads… “they entered into the house…” He knew what he would find there. Being the Son of the living God, he knew exactly what he was about to face. But he was more interested in something else, and this is made evident by how he approached the problem. Read with me verse 31:
(31) And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.
Let us analyze each occurrence that took place. It reads that “he came…” Has Jesus come into your life yet? It reads, “and he took her by…” the ear? The neck? There is something special about grabbing someone by the hands, isn’t there? Do you know why most men find themselves putting the women on the opposite side of the street and holding her hand there when walking down a sidewalk? Well in the early years of this country, the streets were made in an almost bent type of way, where when it rained, the water accumulated on both sides of the street. These puddles, when ran over by a passing vehicle, would splash on the sidewalk. And of the poor lady walking by at that moment! So the men found it well mannered to place her on the other side. This act, along with holding her hand, symbolized protection, appreciation, and comfort. Jesus, when he grabbed this woman by the hand, at the moment she felt unsafe, he told her with this that she was safe. At the moment she felt worthless, he told her with this that she was somebody. At the moment when she felt alone… he encouraged her with this simple act to not fear, for the comforter has arrived. But that wasn’t the only thing our Lord did for her, he also, “lifted her up.” Why did she need to be lifted up? Because she couldn’t lift herself up! She felt in her time of trouble a weakness that made her almost give up. She couldn’t move. She could stand. She could do her daily task of cleaning or cooking. So Jesus entered into her problem… into the time she was at her worst state, and told her with this one act of lifting her as he tells us all, “my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2Co. 12:9). All these simple but impacting acts of Jesus upon this women means but one thing: he wants to get personal with us as he did with her. She had a personal impact with the savior. Besides healing her physically, Jesus invited her to have a relationship with him. He saw in her eyes the need for someone to heal her, not just of her disease, but to also heal her inwardly. She needed forgiveness, love, peace. And he saw all this… before he entered into her sin stricken home.
Toward the end of this verse, we read, “and she ministered unto them.” Now her joy has come. Now she is alive and healthy. Now she is ready to begin her household chores once more. Yet her first act as a newly wed, now married to Jesus her savior, she “ministers unto him.” It is one thing to be healed of a sickness, and it is another to be healed from a sickness and now begin a life of appreciation for he who healed you. When the deaf and mute stricken man was healed of his sickness, although he was told to not publish the news, he could hold himself. He spread the word quickly. When a leprous man was healed of his leprosy, immediately the news flashed throughout the land. As soon as she was healed, she ministered unto him. She began to work for him, serving him, comforting him, because now she has a personal relationship with him. When we come to Christ with an open heart, we will freely receive him. He will not only come into our home’s, our home being our sin stricken bodies, he will come in and be a physician to first, and I emphasis this… first heal us spiritually, and then physically, as was in her case. And when he heals us, and forgives us of our many trespasses, and restores with us a personal relationship with him, he puts within our hearts the desire to please him. It comes to the point where we “want” to serve him, because of how thankful we are of his friendship and companionship.
Let us now, before entering the next verse, pause for a moment and reflect on what Jesus really went through on that cross. Did Simon’s mother-in-law suffer as he did? Have you suffered as he did? Many of complain at the moments in our lives when we feel we can not continue on any more. We question God, as probably she did. We worry and fear, and we desire sweet release from this terrible time of trouble as she did. We want a companion, a friend, someone to be there for us at this awful moment. We feel that just because Jesus left to heaven he will now comfort us now as he did to those alive when he was here upon the earth. But we forget that his arms of salvation and healing were opened once for all time that day she he was crucified for us. As each nail held him upon that cross, he invited all, past present and yes… future (you and me) to approach him in hug. The terrible pains he went through for us, simply because he loves us and so that we can live, is unthinkable. When they wiped Jesus in the torturing cell, the Romans had the habit of wiping also the legs of their victims so that they would become nearly crippled. And I can only imagine, that Satan thought to himself at that moment, “do you want to heal those crippled, well take this, and now you become crippled.” Or when upon his holy brow a crown of thorns was forced upon it. These thorns, being possibly about 3 to 4 inches in length, punctured the veins surrounding his head. One of these veins was the optic nerve that, when damaged, can cause severe headache and near blindness. Jesus, being crippled and nearly blind, could not even make it in his weakness to the place of the cross. He fell, and the cross landed upon him. A man had to carry the cross for him. And I can only imagine the enemy, once again saying, “Ah Jesus, you want to heal those whom I have caused to be blind almost all their lives, well here, now you be blind!” And one day, before this terrible scene, Jesus stood in front of a tomb covered by a giant rock and yelled out, “Lazarus, come forth!” And Lazarus came forth out of that tomb, alive! And as Jesus layed upon that cross, paying the penalty we deserved, the penalty I deserved, gasping for some air, and longing for some water to release him at least a little bit from this time of anguish, the enemy must have been thinking… “Do you want to give life to those who have died? Do you want to heal and give life to all those whom I have captured with sin in my grip of death? Do you want to resurrect those who are now dead… well here… now you die…” And Jesus died… for you… and for me.
Did Simon’s mother-in-law suffer the way our Lord has? Have you suffered the way he has? You are in need of healing. You have a sickness. The same sickness she had inwardly. This sickness is called “sin.” Would you allow Jesus to heal you of this sickness? Don’t worry about the people in your life who might now think differently of you, or of the darkness around you. In fact… let us return to the story of Simon’s mother-in-law, and see how this man who suffered that death on the cross steps also into darkness:
Mark 1:32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.
Many read this verse and move on, but I want you to notice something particular about this verse. It read, “at even, when the sun did set…” Isn’t this always the case? Once a believer comes to Jesus, and changes his life around, the evening comes and the sun sets. Why? Because you have been taken out from off the enemies grip. He had you where he wanted you when you were not in Christ, but now that you left he has to bring you back. But this applies to those who have never meet Christ also. Amidst this darkness in our lives, when the sun is set, when we can not see and we are all alone, lo, those diseased and possessed with devils come! Yet, notice how Jesus deals with this situation:
Mark 1:33-34 And all the city was gathered together at the door….
Stop! Before reading on, do you remember where Jesus was just before this? Well first he when to a church where there was a problem, then he went to Simons mother-in-law’s home where again there was a problem… not he steps outside into more problems. Jesus loves the problems! Take a closer look at this verse. It reads that “all the city” was gathered at the door, now read the next verse:
(34) And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.
He healed many that were sick and cast out the devils out of those possessed. How could Jesus heal “all the city” without first stepping “out” of the home and entering amidst those sick individuals? Once again we find our Lord placing himself where he can perform a miracle, where he can heal all those truly seeking his help. He can… and will enter our homes, our lives, our bodies… and heal us, and bring us to have a close personal relationship with him.
Verse 33 said something important I decided to leave for last. Where did all “the city” gather to? To “the door.” The news about this man who can heal them moved them to this home. Only hearing that he was in there, yet without knowing for sure, they came closer and closer to that “door.” I can imagine the crowd waiting for him to simply open that door and step out into there darkness to help them. The lame and crippled, the blind, the mute, the poor both physically and in spirit, those troubled by evil spirits, those who can not get rid of those tormenting thoughts. How about those in need of forgiveness, those who feel lonely, those who have lost a loved one, those with unanswered questions, those with deep concern for themselves, those contemplating suicide, suffering with an addiction, dieing of cancer, depressed, afraid, feeling void, hurting. Or parents with sick children, children with no parents, prostitutes, the hungry, the confused. Are you one of those mentioned here? My friend… all you need to do is gather yourself at that door. The news has been spread, the gospel is simple… Jesus is at that door, behold, Jesus is the door:
(9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
We all have a sickness, we are all dieing slowly, but praise be to God who has given his only begotten son, to give his life a ransom for many, so that we may be healed, forgiven, and restored to God through Jesus Christ, that one day we may all sing that song of joy and gladness, and may behold the face of he who, “was wounded in the house of my friends.” -Zechariah 13:6.
God bless you.