January 20 | Luke 4:38-39

break-freeIt’s only two verses, but it serves as Jesus first documented healing in the book of Luke. And it is the mother-in-law of the Simon, whom we will meet very soon. I like that it starts out “after leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house”. Reading this it seemed so common to me- like church is over and now Jesus is headed over to Simon’s for lunch and some football. But he arrives with great disappointment to find that Simon’s mother-in-law has a high fever, so there will be no lunch. Jesus’ first healing is motivated by post worship lunch and football. He must heal her, which he does. And “immediately she got up and began to serve them.”

Ok, I am of course kidding, but I do find it strange that upon being healed she immediately serves them. Really? Why is this? I cannot help but believe it to be more evidence of the sexist world in which the life and work of Jesus exists, and because of this I may not be too far off in my earlier analysis. This story is a peculiar one to include. It’s very specific, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. One thing I find interesting is that he doesn’t touch her. So often in the Gospels healing comes with contact with Jesus, whether it is someone touching him or him touching someone else. Maybe he’s looking at her fever and thinking, “Jeez, I don’t wanna get that!”. Probably not that. More likely it is a further display of his power and authority. It is actually more similar to his casting out of the evil spirit prior to this in that this is a gentle healing. He speaks harsh words, words of rebuke, to the fever and casts it out. Jesus is on a mission to cast out that which is evil in tis world, whether it is a spirit of evil, sickness, or, as we will see, oppressive systems. This is not Jesus “meek and mild”, this is Jesus on a mission with power and authority.

In addition to all that, this is also a set up. Luke is a good writer, remember. And like a good writer, he wants us to understand why people do the things they do. It will give us some context for Simon, who will be a significant character in a minute, and it may reveal for us, why (unlike in Mark and Matthew do) Jesus was compelling enough to leave one’s nets behind and follow him. Regardless, this is Jesus’ first documented healing in Luke. It won’t be his last. After proclaiming being a liberator, a healer, and a savior Jesus has done just that. He has cast out a demon, he has healed the sick, and he’s only just beginning. Word is spreading…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s