Jesus’s Authority over Disease | Mark 1:29–32
“And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.”
We’re tracking Jesus and His disciples on this long Sabbath day, and here we learn about Peter and Andrew’s home life. This has been their dwelling since they followed Jesus north to Capernaum (cf. John 1:44). Peter’s mother-in-law also lives with them, which means that Peter was married, and possibly also Andrew (cf. 1 Cor 9:5). As an aside, a fifth-century church was constructed over the supposed residence of Peter, based on second-century graffiti, and excavations have uncovered a residence there.
She was bed-ridden, so it appears that the condition was serious. Luke the physician notes that she had a “high fever” (Lk 4:38), so they informed Jesus. They had just seen Him cast out a demon, and they had already seen Him in action in Judea (Jn 2:13–4:4). Could He also heal disease?
Indeed, He doesn’t even speak and raises her up. He didn’t even need to make contact, for when Jesus healed the centurion’s servant in Luke 7, He wasn’t even within proximity to that person. Even so, there’s a level of care as He takes her by the hand.
What a contrast to modern preachers who boast that they can heal like Jesus! He didn’t need her to exercise faith in Him—for her high fever may not have even afforded her a moment’s clarity of thought. He doesn’t need her to rest or to give her repeated treatments—she is healed so completely that she immediately gets up and serves them! So amazing was this that the people of Capernaum knew of this sickness and, once they knew what Jesus did, they brought their sick for the same treatment (v. 32).
Christ has authority over the physical realm. This doesn’t mean that He will heal every disease right now, especially if He has other plans. However, He will provide ultimate healing in the resurrection. Mark uses this term to also speak of both of Christ’s resurrection and the resurrection of the dead (6:14, 16; 12:26; 14:28; 16:6). Don’t trust charlatans with false promises of miraculous healing—trust in the Lord of all the earth.