‘When the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.’
Mother-in-law jokes have maintained their popularity in Western culture over the years, despite questions about their appropriateness. Here, we know nothing of the nature of Simon’s relationship with his mother-in-law, but we do know that the family were sufficiently concerned about her health to ask for Jesus’ interventions. A simple eyewitness account of what happened tells the story of Jesus giving undivided attention to a very ordinary person in need, someone of no importance in the wider community. The description of him holding her hand and helping her stand speaks powerfully of the tender way he related to people then and continues to do now. The physical intimacy of touch and the invitation to trust him as he assisted her to her feed point to a God who desires to be deeply engaged with us where we are in our lives.
And he healed her. Whatever our questions over when and why God heals, there is no doubt about his supernatural intervention on occasion. The whole town gathered at Simon’s door, bringing with them those who needed that same freeing, healing touch. Imagine the scene. The Sabbath was over, the synagogues close, and they came to him without fear of the law being broken. People jostling to see and be seen, the clamour of voices, and the cries of those in need of God’s touch. Touch is a powerful thing. I can bring reassurance, well-being, and healing. Yet it can also be abusive or destructive. Many today are starved of healing touch in their lives. For instance, consider the alarming and growing numbers of older people in Western society who are so isolated that they seldom experience human contact or touch.
Do you have elderly or disabled neighbours? Is there something you could do regularly to bring God’s touch of love into their lives?