Matthew 8:14-17

On my first reading, this passage irks me. This lady was just in bed with a fever and as soon as she is well enough to get up, she’s put to work. I wonder how she feels as she begins serving. Was she slightly resentful? Annoyed? Or simply glad to be well and up on her feet again? The culture of first-century Palestine and its expectations for women is certainly different than ours today, but I can imagine that I might grumble a bit at jumping out of bed to serve instead of having more time to rest and heal after a near-death experience. 

If I can look beyond myself, though, this passage provides a reality check for my assumptions about what I deserve. Peter’s mother-in-law was healed, period. She was not healed so she could serve. She was healed. Jesus “took [her] infirmities and bore [her] diseases” (v. 17). Period. Serving is her soul’s response to being fully healed. She decides to respond this way in gratitude, and we should too. 

Jesus continues to face our demons and cure our sick souls, so
in serving others, we can bear testament to how we have been healed. The mother-in-law’s service is a testimony to Jesus’ healing acts. She was too sick to move and now she’s flying around the room serving with the pleasure of being restored. Her graceful service bears witness to her newfound healing. Could there be a better testimony that that? 

So maybe on a second reading this story is not as irksome as it first seemed to me. Perhaps it is a timely and telling account of how we should bear witness today. We cannot hoard our blessings for ourselves. We can give testament to the blessings and miracles we experience by the way we serve God and others.


How does the way in which we serve bear witness to God’s blessing? Who could you serve today? 


God who heals, help us see the ways that you have healed our sin-sick souls. Increase our desire to respond to your gracious gifts of healing by our graciously serving others. Amen.

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