And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. Mark 1:29-31
Women are not supposed to get sick. We are the healers, the bad-aid appliers, the Doctor Moms. We are the ones that in spite of fever, sniffles or stomach viruses, still fix school lunches, find socks and clean up after the pet. We do four loads of laundry, go to the store, balance the checkbook and make sure the bills are paid on time while we go through another box of Kleenex and down the cough syrup. We never get sick.
Jesus entered the house of his new followers. He had just the day before made them fishers of men. Today they had listened while he taught in the synagogue with unheard of authority, and even healed a member of the congregation in the process. As was custom, they headed home for rest and food after worship, just as many families do today. Lo and behold, the house was a wreck. Breakfast dishes yet to be done. Bed pallets unmade and not yet put away. Sweeping of the dirt floor not done. Dust on the furniture, the table cluttered with Simon’s fishing nets he had been trying to mend. No savory aromas of the noonday meal simmering on the stove. Pots and pans ice cold. Simon’s mother-in-law had fallen ill.
How embarrassing. Bring this wonderful prophet and obviously important man of God to your house and it is in shambles. What must Jesus think? Can’t you see Simon’s chest fall and his face redden? And his poor mother-in-law. Bring home a guest unannounced and uninvited today of all days? She may have just thought she was sick before. Now she is sick at heart as well.
But here is how I picture what the story doesn’t tell us. Jesus wades through the clutter, ignores the cold pots on the yet to be lit stove, slides the nets out of the way, kneels down and touches the mother-in-law. Immediately, her fever leaves her and she rise to do what it her privilege and duty. She begins to serve her guests in the manner of their culture. I imagine Jesus might have even called Simon outside for a bit to allow the woman to save face and to give her time to tidy up and get supper going. “Simon, show me your boat again. I’ m not quite hungry yet, are you? Maybe in an hour or so. . .” He lays his hand across Simon’s shoulder and ushers him back out the door, turns His head and winks at the mother-in-law.
If this happened today, perhaps Jesus would be the one cooking and cleaning even after the fever left her. He might have even goaded the guys to pitch in and lend a hand. But our culture is different. I surmise in first century Galilee that would have not been the right thing to do. That would have hurt and embarrassed the woman even more.
The point is this. When our lives are a mess and we feel sick- either physically or sick at heart, it is alright to invite Jesus in. Our lives do not have to be in perfect order and pristine to receive Christ. He knows the situation, there is no need to shove it under the rugs. Allow Him to heal you so you can get back up and serve Him. He is there to encourage, lift you up and get you back on your feet doing what it is that you are supposed to be doing for Him and everyone else. The next time the clutter closes in on you and you feel overwhelmed or just do not have the strength to deal with it all, invite Jesus in.