devotion 12-1-14

Good Morning! And may your Advent be blessed!

Luke 4.38-41

38 After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. 39Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.

40 As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. 41Demons also came out of many, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah.*

There are ruins of many little homes in Capernaum; they were built of black basalt rock, simply piled up. they were small, one or two rooms at most. One in particular, however, had been surrounded by a church – in the first century, a circular building had been built right around the little house. Today, a chapel has been built above that, elevated on stilts, and with a glass floor so that you can look down into those ruins. That little house, so revered since the very beginnings of the church, is believed to be the house where Simon Peter lived, where Jesus healed his mother-in-law. It is a short distance from the ruins of the synagogue.

It was to this little rock house, or hut, that Jesus came after casting out demons in the synagogue. But when he and Simon arrived there, they found that Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. In those days before antibiotics, people very often died of infections, which produced fevers. We see something of that today, with the ebola epidemic. So, Simon’s mother was not just ill, she was in danger of losing her life. And Jesus went to her, and “rebuked” the fever – now that has to seem a little strange, when you think about it! He scolded the fever! And told it to leave her! And what is even more strange, it did. And Simon’s mother immediately got up and served them. I have heard this passage miss-used, to say that she represents true womanhood, getting up from her sick-bed to serve her guests. Let us say that she represents Christians – her desire was to serve the Lord, and to be hospitable. Hospitality was highly valued in the first century Jewish culture, by both men and women.

In verses 31 and on, in Chapter 4, then, Jesus has been teaching, casting out demons, and healing – and we will see these things throughout his ministry as we read Luke’s gospel.

Remember, this was a Sabbath day – it was not until sunset that people were able to move around the little town with freedom, going about usual activities. And as the sun was setting, they began to bring all their sick and those possessed by evil demons to Jesus, and he put his hands on them and cured them. When the demons were cast out, they wanted to shout, “You are the Son of God!” but he did not allow them to speak! Again, Jesus had authority – even over the demons. This is another thread throughout Luke’s gospel. Jesus did not want them to speak because they knew he was the Messiah, and he wanted people to come to that understanding on their own, not through the word of evil. The end does not justify the means! The footnote at the “Messiah” says, “or Christ”.

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