Step 2: Through Jesus Christ and His power to heal and restore I can be helped. I believe only He can help me recover!
Peter writes later in his Epistle, "cast all of your cares upon Him." (1 Peter 5:7) In this passage, we begin to see the roots of Peter's spiritual trust and formation. Jesus personally performed several miracles for Peter. Jesus enabled Peter to catch a lot of fish (Luke 5:1-11; John 21:1-8), to catch a coin in a fish (Matt. 17:24-27), to walk on water (Matt. 14:22-33), and after His resurrection, helped Peter escape from prison (Acts 12), plus many more miracles. So, Peter has firsthand experience and can give us assurance that we can trust in Jesus. This passage testifies to this fact with the healing of his mother-in-Law. Peter knew quite well that we could indeed cast all of our cares upon Him!
Sometimes, we forget that the disciples were real people with real problems with families, loved ones, and friends, and lived life with all of the frustrations, challenges, and options we have in important things such as relationships and life. I do not know if any of them faced the issue you have, or had issues in dependency or addiction. But as humans, we all face these on some level and we know that Jesus heals and restores us. In this passage, Peter was concerned for his mother-in-law. As we can see, nothing is too hard for our Lord. He can bring physical healing. He can bring recovery to you too! However, even if He does not do this for you right away, you can still rest assured that in Him, as you put your faith, trust, and your cares upon Jesus, you will overcome your battle!
· It was customary for the children to take over their parent's house/compound when they passed on. Most extended families lived together. When a young couple got married, they moved into the husband's parent's home. Peter was young here, and possibly had recently married prior to encountering Jesus.
· Peter was married, as were most Jewish men (1 Cor. 9:5). Celibacy was also an option for Jewish men. However, the Bible is clear that Peter was indeed married (Matt. 19:12; 1 Cor. 7:7-8, 32).
· Adult children were expected to care for their parents. Caring for the extended family was more common and essential then than it is today. Luke says she was too ill to speak for herself. The passage gives us the picture that we need to go before the Lord in behalf of others, to plead their case in intercession and prayer!
· Sick with fever. Peter's mother-in-law was grievously ill. As indicated by the surprise miracle, she skips the normal convalescence period, getting up immediately to serve them, an event that took a lot of energy.
· God's cures are perfect, immediate, and complete.
· Most Jewish teachers would not have touched a woman at any time for fear of becoming unclean (Lev. 15:19), but Jesus broke the social norms. The Law refers to women who are menstruating, which would mean they had possible germs and viruses from the exposed blood.
· Then, it was the custom for men to work for and obtain the food, and then for the women to prepare and serve the food (Luke 10:40). A family works and complements one another's skills and abilities to the common goal of meeting one another's needs.
· She responds in gratitude! She ministers to Christ and His people. Our willingness to recover from whatever dependency or addiction we face is also a reflection of our gratitude for what He has done for us.
· Luke mentions high fever and He rebuked the fever, possibly because he is a physician and has a medical interest (Luke 4:40-41). Also, the possibility existed that Satan was behind the illness.
· The word got out about Peter's mother-in-law, so people brought many sick people to Jesus. Since homes were small, they had an inner or outer courtyard where people gathered. Jesus is using the courtyard as a recovery center for the sick and affirmed (Mark 1:33).
· Demon possessed can also mean people who were sick as the Greek ancient word meaning. Cultural and medical understandings confuse the definitions. A person with a mental disorder would be considered possessed; Peter's mother-in-law could have been too, with a fever. This does not discount the reality of demon possession and the work of Satan's entourage on your problems or at least escalating them. It is quite possible that many of the people brought to Jesus were actually demonized too. Satan does not cause all sicknesses, but the possibility is always there. So, be grounded in the Word and in faith to always be on guard with His armor (Eph. 6:10-18).
· Infirmities represent sin and the ravages of sin that traps us all, such as anything that causes us to be in addiction or dependency. This is a quote from Isaiah, that sin is the main sickness of humanity and the root cause of all that is wrong and evil (Isa. 53:5-6; Hosea 14:1-4; 1 Pet. 2:24-25). Isaiah also points to the physical restoration and healings in the age of the Messiah (Isa. 33:24; 35:5-6).
· Jesus' main role is, in His perfection, to bear our sin and take our place, so He pays our price and takes our curse upon Himself. This means Jesus, in our place, takes the sin, guilt, and our infirmity, thus he takes our dependency and addiction because we are not able to do so!
· The demons know who Christ is; do you? Do you fully know?
· Jesus inaugurates the Messianic era! He is making some of the benefits of the Kingdom available prior to the Cross. Jesus, in His ministry, demonstrated His sovereignty over nature, including our sicknesses and spiritual oppositions.
· Some people teach that Jesus will and must heal you if you are a true believer or have enough faith. This is not true, as He only promised total healing to come after His second coming (Matt. 8:20-23; 1 Cor. 15. 26: Rev. 21:4). It is interesting, as the people I have observed over the years who have made such claims have died in sickness and/or their close family members have. Do not tempt God (I am not saying God made them sick, just that they did get sick after teaching that one cannot get sick if one has enough faith)!
Jesus Christ is the God who cares. He paid the price of our sin, therefore creating the potential for the entire human race to be saved and redeemed. He made it possible for everyone to be brought into a right relationship with God. And he made is possible for you to be restored and healed. Thus, our purpose and primary mission in life is to accept His grace and forgiveness so we can partake of His redemption and apply it to our lives for eternity (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 2:24; Rev. 3:18). It is sad that so few will make that journey, unwilling to give up their will or to be convicted. The gate we pass through is freely given but we do not just pass through it. We still have to abide, trust, and obey, to move our will into that gate. It is not a conveyer belt; it is the heart of the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ, where our sinful nature collides with His holiness, and where the cost of our sin is absorbed, declaring us holy too. This is the reason we live and is the meaning in life. It is up to us to abide in the life that He gives. He makes it possible-we make it work. Christianity is not a spectator sport; we are not to be in the bleachers, but on the field, playing our hardest against the clock of time and opportunities.
1. What are you like when you are sick? How do you treat others-especially family-when they are sick or have needs?
2. What would it mean to you to be healed from your addiction and or past hurts? What are you willing to do about it?
3. Do you realize that God is all knowing and all-powerful? How does this help you to trust Him even in your situation?
4. What does it take for you to have assurance in your faith and God's ability and willingness to help you?
5. Do you believe that He is the only One who can help you recover? Do you have difficulty doing this? If so, why not cast all of your cares upon Him? How can you do so?
6. How can the fact that realizing the disciples were real people facing the same life challenges with families, frustrations, challenges, and options, help influence you?
7. What would you have felt and how would you have reacted if you were Peter?
8. Why do we not take care of one another today? Why are families broken and living apart today?
9. Do you think your life would be better if you had grown up in an extended close-knit family, with parents, grandparents, and such, as Peter did? Why, or why not?
10. What are some of the fears we have allowed to cause us to live alone and/or apart from family?
11. If you have been abused or hurt, what can you do and what do you need to do to go on and become healthy?
12. How is this passage a picture that we need to go before the Lord in behalf of others to plead their case in intercession and prayer (Luke 4:38)? How much time do you spend in prayer for others (intercession)?
13. The Bible says that God's cures are perfect, immediate, and complete. When you see someone claiming to have been healed by God or a faith healer, and they are still sick, what does that say about them? What about how our Lord is portrayed?
14. She responds in gratitude, ministering to Christ and His people. How can our service be a reflection of our gratitude for what He has done for us?
15. Does your family work to compliment one another's skills and abilities, working towards the common goal of one another's benefit and needs? If not, why? What would happen if they did?
16. Read Ephesians 6:10-18. There is always the possibility that Satan will go after you, so, what do you need to do?
17. God is not done with you yet; he still has a plan. Do you want to know what it is? How can you embrace Him and His plan for you?
18. How should we respond when people teach that Jesus will and must heal you if you are a true believer and have enough faith? Can this be true?
19. The demons know who Christ is. Do you? Do you fully know? How can you have more confidence in who He is in your life, so it is proclaimed to others around you even if you do not open your mouth?
- What needs to happen for you to fully realize and accept that through Jesus Christ you have His power to be in a healing process and in recovery?
21. What is in the way of your being fully assured in Christ and His Lordship over your life so you can put your faith, trust, and cares upon Jesus? How can you then teach this to others close to you?
Mediate on these passages for the next week or more: Psalm 139; Isa. 40:29; Jer. 29:11; Matt. 7:7-11; John 3:16-18; 14:1-3
© 1990, 2003, 2008, Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org