Did you know that Peter was married? I sure didn’t! Until I started researching for this series, I had assumed that all of the disciples were bachelors. This adds a whole new dimension of complexity to their decision to leave everything they had to follow Jesus. It’s a lot harder to have a nomadic and adventure-filled life when you have a family waiting for you back home.
But this month we’re focusing on the female disciples of Jesus, so we’ll get back to Peter and the rest of the guys another time.
The story of Peter’s mother-in-law is one of those that I’ve looked over many, many times mostly because of where it is located in the Gospel narrative. It’s directly after Jesus encourages the Centurion for his faith (Matthew 8:5-13) and before Jesus gives the crowd a reality check that he should be number one in their lives (Matthew 8:18-22). It’s only a few verses, but I think they can be incredibly profound if we choose to sit with them for a few moments.
“When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases.”” Matthew 8:14-17 (NIV)
I tend to focus on the compassion of Jesus when it is poured out onto large crowds of people, like when he fed the 5,000. I usually forget about the love and compassion of Jesus in these small moments. But this short story reminds us of just how much Jesus cares for each one of us. Peter’s mother-in-law wasn’t on her death bed or already dead, she simply had a fever and yet that wasn’t too small or insignificant for him.
I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes wonder if my requests are too trivial for God. He has a whole world to care for—nearly 8 billion people—so why would I trouble him with my request? Compared to genocide, world hunger, violence, and a thousand other daily traumas that inflicted on others, my requests and my personal concerns seem small. In fact, I often beat myself up whenever I begin praying for those things in my life that are troubling me.
God isn’t frustrated or annoyed when we bring the small things of life to him.
Jesus cares about you and me just as much as he did for Peter and his mother-in-law. We don’t have to qualify or grade our concerns or requests with him—he cares about even the small things and isn’t bothered when we bring them to him.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)
I’m immensely grateful that God isn’t too busy for us and that he concerns himself with the things that trouble us because he cares for us. He is with us in the midst of our discomfort and we don’t have to shoulder our burdens alone. Sometimes, his response will be a miracle, like that of Peter’s mother-in-law, other times he meets and walks through the concern or problem with us. But, either way, he’s not too busy or big for us—let’s come to him today!
Is there any care, anxiety, concern, or trouble that you are reluctant to bring to God because of how you think he may react?
How do you practically cast your cares on him?
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