Today, we focus on two verses: Mark 1:29,30. Andrew, Peter, James and John all left the synagogue with Jesus after his teaching and the exorcism of the man with the unclean spirit. To where did they go? Simon Peter's home. Note here that Simon Peter, one of Jesus' followers, writer of two books in the New Testament, probably the source of the Gospel of Mark, had a home. He had a dwelling place. He may have had mortgage payments on the house (maybe not!). But he certainly had household chores, house repairs, house upkeep. Undoubtedly, he had home building responsibilities just like you and me.
Moreover, when they arrived, they found out that Simon Peter's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever. What does this tell us? First, Simon Peter was married! (Personally, I don't understand how Petrine succession in the papacy demands singleness. Peter himself, the one from whom all popes flow, was married!). He had a wife. Later, in one of the epistles, we see that she traveled with him as he preached the Gospel. Did he ever have marital conflict? I would think so. Did he ever have to ask her for forgiveness when he was too short with her, when he didn't listen well enough, when he was too impetuous? I would think so. He was a man just like so many of us who are married.
Plus, his mother-in-law lived with them. Was she irritating to him to him at times? Was his in-law his outlaw, as the old joke says? Did he ever wish she didn't live with them? Like many of us, Simon Peter had to care for an aging parent and/or parent-in-law!
Finally, Simon Peter's mother-in-law was sick with a fever and in bed when they arrived. Her body was like ours, vulnerable to illness. She had to go to bed. Perhaps it was a severe fever that caused all in the household great concern, just like it does us when one of our loved ones contacts a high fever and is ill in bed.
Here's my point today: the Biblical characters about whom we read were not plaster saints. They were real people like you an me. They had homes, marriages, children, in-laws and jobs, just like you and me. Therefore, when they heard the teachings of Jesus' love, forgiveness, eternal presence, hope and oversight, it was good news to their human ears just like it is ours. We can therefore put ourselves in their lives and feel what they feel. Why? Because it's what we feel when we are in their situations. When Jesus speaks to them, he is speaking to us!
It helps make the Bible come alive!
Today, believe Jesus cares for every need you have: in your home, your finances, your marriages, your family, your job. As he cared for people then, he cares for us now. He said to them, "I will never leave you or forsake you."
He says it to us today, too.