Here we have the report of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law being very ill with a fever. If her fever had been a simple one, I don’t think Luke, a physician, would have bothered to record it as one of Jesus’ healings. Luke defined the fever as a high one (v38). That this woman’s fever was also reported by Matthew and Mark, supports that her fever was serious and not responding to other attempts of intervention. The New Living Translation of Luke 4:38 says “After leaving the synagogue that day, Jesus went to Simon’s home, where he found Simon’s mother-in-law very sick with a high fever. ‘Please heal her,’ everyone begged.” Note again that this was a Sabbath healing, which the Pharisees taught was forbidden because it was work. But Jesus came to fulfill the law and the law was to do good when and where good was needed.
When my daughter was four or five, she had hallucinations from a high fever. I remember Kristi giggling, saying she saw pigs on my nose. High fevers can be common in small children and they should not go untreated, but high fever in an adult is far more serious. High fever in an adult is over 104 F or a fever of 102 F for more than two days. Left untreated for an extended time, brain damage can occur. So here we have a woman in dire need of healing and Jesus provided that. “Standing at her bedside, he rebuked the fever, and it left her. And she got up at once and prepared a meal for them” (v39 NLT).
I love that extra punch the Lord gives His healings. This woman could have been deemed healed by an immediate cooling of body temperature. Perhaps she was thrashing about in misery or unable to think and speak clearly, and that went away. But verse 38 says Simon’s mother-in-law “got up at once and prepared a meal for them.” She was infused with immediate strength and clarity of mind. That is the excitement of the Lord’s healing!
There is also a lesson for us in how the healed woman responded. She served. When we receive a great blessing from the Lord, our first thought should be of service, too.
Clark’s Commentary on the Bible (see note on Matthew 8:14-17) says “as soon as Peter began to follow Christ, his family began to benefit by it” (see note on Matthew 8:14-17). Clark says “One person full of faith and prayer may be the means of drawing down innumerable blessings on his family and acquaintance.”