Scripture

The Rock’s Mother-in-Law

I’ve been reading through the book of Mark, a gospel account I’ve never studied much. I always thought his was inferior to Matthew’s and Luke’s, and John’s is an altogether different approach to telling the story of Jesus. But I’ve appreciated Mark in my reading. He’s very action oriented—he’d be like Tom Clancy where John would be Nicholas Sparks.

Mark most often emphasizes the healing ministry of Jesus, not only to reveal his compassion but also his divinity. Of the people Jesus healed, you see many different responses. Usually, the one who was healed would try to tell anybody who would listen, such as a man who was demon possessed, who “began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them” (5:20).

Some would worship Jesus. Some, sadly, would ignore him. And then some would prepare him a meal.

Directly on leaving the meeting place, they came to Simon and Andrew’s house, accompanied by James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed, burning up with fever. They told Jesus. He went to her, took her hand, and raised her up. No sooner had the fever left than she was up fixing dinner for them. —Mark 1:29-31 The Message

I laughed when I read this during my devotional time. Here is Peter’s—Jesus renamed Simon to Peter, meaning “the rock”—mother-in-law who has been lying in bed with a fatally high fever and Jesus comes and helps her up so she can start making dinner for them.

After Micah, our youngest, was born, Cindy’s mother came from Arizona to visit for a couple weeks. She was a tremendous help not only with Micah but also in the kitchen. You may be aware that Cindy and I are both half-Mexican. (I wrote about this in “Searching for Rolled Tacos in Ohio.” Still searching, by the way.) Whereas my Mexican father was born in California, Cindy’s mother became an American citizen about twelve years ago.

During her visit, Mary made and froze beans and rice and tortillas, which we enjoyed long after she left. She doesn’t often sit down just to talk. I guess she’d be more like Martha than Mary (see “Trying to clean up when guests arrive early”). She, like Peter’s mother-in-law, expresses her love by serving. We could all learn a lesson here.

In serving, we can express our gratitude to the God who in his mercy healed our souls. More than just singing songs or writing a blog, how I am motivated to show God how thankful I am? Sometimes it looks like serving our brothers and sisters in Christ and other times like serving people who don’t yet know Jesus.

In what ways is Jesus calling us to get up and serve? Maybe it’s as simple as preparing a meal. It’s most likely something he has given us the ability to do. In any case, we are the woman with the fever who has been made well. Let’s get up and start rolling the dough for some tortillas.

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