By W. T. P. Wolston (adapted from “Simon Peter – His Life And Letters”)
The Lord enters Peter’s house at a most opportune time (Mk. 1:29-31). He comes out of the synagogue where He had just been casting an unclean spirit out of a man, and forthwith (a characteristic word of Mark’s gospel, meaning immediately or without delay) He goes to Peter’s house. “Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever” and they tell Him about her. It was most natural that they should tell the Lord of the sick woman, and He heals her with a word.
Now it has often been taught that a man must remain unmarried in order to fully follow the Lord; but here we learn that Simon was a married man, and he was a man who had affections large enough to take in his wife’s mother, not only into his heart but into his house. We live in a day when mothers-in-law are often overlooked or viewed with contempt. But not so here – and God has not recorded this in the pages of His Word for nothing!
I have no doubt Peter’s wife was very upset that day. Her mother, possibly (for we do not read of children) the dearest object save her husband that she had in the world, lay sick of a fever. Luke 4:38 (KJV) says, she was “taken with a great fever.” But Jesus “stood over her, and rebuked the fever, and it left her;” and He “took her by the hand, and lifted her up,” and “she ministered unto them” (v.39, Mk. 1:31), instead of being ministered to. She became useful, a mother-in-law that served others.
Do you think it was by chance that the Lord went there that day? I believe not. If we go back a few days in Peter’s history we remember that he had given up all to follow the Lord. Having abandoned his earthly calling so to do, it is quite possible that his wife might have felt somewhat anxious as to ways and means, and may have thought if she did not say, “How are we now to be cared for and supported?” The Lord comes into her house – her home; takes her mother by the hand, and heals her with a word. As the loving daughter sees her mother healed and restored, she must have felt quite assured as to the wisdom of her husband’s action in fully following the Lord. And I do not doubt that before Peter left again to accompany his Master in His labors, he got a word of this sort from his wife, “You follow Him fully, Simon; I see well you are on the right track; He has the heart and the power to care for us in all things.”
This scene is so like the Lord. He ever loves to put His servants at rest at home, as well as to set them free to follow Him. It is sweet to think that He has His eye on the often-solitary wife at home, with her cares and burdens, while the husband, called to labor in public, is frequently and necessarily away. You who may feel alone, notice how the Lord thinks of you!
Passing on now to the third chapter of Mark, we find the special call which Peter received from the Lord. After a night spent in prayer (see Luke 6:12), the Lord selected those who should be His companions in His pilgrim pathway here. We read, “He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him” (Mk. 3:14). I know nothing more blessed than that!
People think it is a wonderful thing to be saved, to escape the damnation of hell – a wonderful thing to go to heaven; and it is. But to go to heaven in Scripture is always to be with a Person. “Absent from the body, present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8) and “to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Phil. 1:23) is the language of Scripture.
To be with Him, to enjoy companionship with the Lord Jesus Christ is what God calls us to; and here these men, in a very special way, were called to be with Him. Have you been called to be with Him, my reader? You are not called to be an apostle as these men were, but the eternity of a Christian is to be with Jesus!