We stood at the entrance of the synagogue in Capernaum and gazed out at the ruins of the village stretched before us. The remaining stones gave a clear outline of houses, rooms, common areas.
“Where’s Peter’s house?” someone asked.
“You’re looking at it,” our guide explained. “Under the modern building ahead. It was built over-lying the site to protect it.”
Peter’s house, where his wife’s mother lay dying, was only a few feet away from the door of the synagogue. I stared at the site and pondered what it must’ve been like that day…
Mrs. Peter was probably at her mother’s side, desperate with worry. She probably dipped soft cloths in cool water and made compresses (or what my family calls suffering rags) for her mama’s head and body because in those days there was neither acetaminophen nor aspirin. Maybe someone made an herbal tea or a medicinal ungent. A few of the other women likely hovered nearby, ready to assist or weep and wail as the situation unfolded.
Why depend on ourselves when Jesus is near?
Help was only a few steps away, but their hope was in nothing more powerful than a bowl of water, a damp cloth, and some weak tea.
Peter was inside with Jesus who was widely known for doing miracles of healing. The men stood in the synagogue and listened to Jesus read from the Torah while Peter’s mother-in-law’s condition worsened. By the time the men left the service, she was near death.
Someone “spoke to Him about her” in an act of faith and immediately Jesus went to Peter’s mother-in-law. (I’ve always believed the faith-asker was Peter.) Jesus didn’t wait for someone to wash His feet, serve Him tea, or offer him a snack. Instead, He went to her, reached out His hand, and drew her up. By the time she reached a sitting position, her fever was gone.
That good woman didn’t waste a moment lounging around. She didn’t rest and recover. Instead, she rose up from her bed, healed, and began to serve her Healer.
It’s still possible to experience the healing touch of God.
I want to be like Peter’s mother-in-law, to experience the touch of Christ, receive healing, and immediately serve. I’m afraid, however, that I’m more like the women with the damp cloths, desperately making compresses to lower fever when healing of the disease is available for the asking.
Jesus is not the problem.
Friends, we serve a wonder-working, immediately-acting Lord who hears and responds. He cares about us. If we pray in faith, He will hear and respond. God may not do exactly what we asked, but He will never do nothing.
The problem lies not with Jesus but with us. All too often, we place our faith in what we can do to help ourselves. The adage, “God helps those who help themselves” is not Scriptural. God helps those who put their trust in Him.
Today, let’s give up our suffering rags and our dependence upon ourselves, put our faith in the One who can handle every difficulty, and bring our needs to the One who stands ready to hear and help all who call on His name.
“And immediately after they had come out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick in bed with a fever, and immediately they spoke to Him about her, and He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them…Mark 1: 29-31 nasb
When the question of healing is raised, it’s always accompanied by more questions:
- Does God still heal instantly and miraculously? Yes. He does.
- Did Jesus heal everyone who was sick? No. Scripture tells us He healed the people who asked for healing, but indicates He did not heal everyone in a town nor every sick person He saw.
- What does it mean if I’m not healed when I pray? Healing can be accomplished in many ways. Sometimes it’s instantly. Sometimes medical treatments or a lifestyle change are required. There are times when sickness is allowed to continue in order to accomplish the purposes of God. In heaven, there is no sickness. All those who are disciples of Jesus are healed, either in this life or in eternity
- .Why ask for a miracle if I don’t know what God will do? Not everyone receives the miracle they want, but you don’t receive a miracle at all if you don’t ask. We don’t have because we don’t ask.
James 4:2-3 gives us a few reasons for seemingly unanswered prayersr…
- We don’t ask. If we need to be healed, we should ask for healing in the name of Jesus.
- Wrong motives.
- Asking amiss. If we have an illness caused by an action, habit, or addiction we need to ask for deliverance from our the addiction first.
It would be easy to assume God requires a special asker or a special way of asking before He will do a miracle but nothing in Scripture supports this. Our Father loves us and He expects us to take our needs to Him.
If a perfect “ask” won’t get a miracle, what will?
- Submit to God. (James 4:7)
- Resist the devil. (James 4:7)
- Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
- Humble yourself before God. (James 4:10)
- If you’re suffering, pray. (James 5:13)
- If sick, call for the elders to anoint you and pray for healing. (James 5:14)
- Confess your sins and pray for one another. (James 5:15)
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