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From the editor: Simon’s wife’s mother (Mk 1.30)

J Grant

The deliverance of the demoniac at Capernaum (Mk 1.21-27) was not the first occasion on which the disciples had seen the Lord Jesus perform a miracle. When, at Cana, He changed water into wine John noted that as being the "beginning of miracles" (Jn 2.11). The same writer records, in the opening chapter of his Gospel, the first meeting of some of the disciples with the Lord. They had learned then that He had knowledge of their circumstances before they ever met him.

Capernaum was Peter’s home town. The Lord Jesus had gone into the synagogue on a Sabbath Day and the crowds listened to teaching given with authority such as they had never heard before. The time spent listening and watching the great Teacher at work was most memorable, causing those looking on to be utterly amazed, few having anything on their minds but what they were beholding.

Peter, however, had a concern, a worry. His wife’s mother was at home very ill, and this must have been causing him distress. Why had he to leave his wife behind to handle her sick mother? Peter had seen enough to believe that the Lord really would have known about this, so surely, he may have thought, He could have dealt with that first. Had He, who had revealed how much He knew about Nathanael (Jn 1.47-51), not known about Peter’s anxieties? Was it right to expect him to be at the synagogue when he had this problem at home?

How often, like Peter, we are called to serve when we have problems on our minds, domestic pressures, business anxieties, personal concerns, family cares, or financial worries. Some of these may be problems that have cast their shadow over us for years. If only we could concentrate on solving these, then we could give ourselves wholeheartedly to His service. This is the message that the Adversary seeks to impress on our minds. Commit our time and effort into dealing with these issues and later we will be free to give ourselves over to the service of the Lord Jesus. Concentrate on these, he whispers to us, and having dealt with them you will have a free mind to follow the Master and give Him your all. The "sweet, dulcet" tones of the Deceiver seem so reasonable.

But we, like Peter, must learn the lesson of that day. The service of Christ must go on, despite what worries life has. It is not that our concerns have to be ignored. We deal with them responsibly and then, having done so, we commit the issues into the hands of the Lord. The anxieties which fill our minds are to be left with Him and not be allowed to draw us back from the pathway of discipleship. Is it possible that, years later, Peter had this day in Capernaum in mind when he wrote, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you" (1 Pet 5.7). The Lord does not regard our doing so as an unwanted imposition. Too often, however, we do seek to cast our cares upon Him, but still attempt to bear the burden ourselves.

When the time is right the Lord comes to Peter’s home and immediately they tell Him of the problem. There is a time for Him to work, but the events of the earlier part of the day, when in the synagogue Peter had seen the power of Christ in action, doubtless gave him confidence to ask for His help. If he had remained at home, he would never have seen the demoniac delivered, and would not have had an experience which increased His trust in the Master.

So often we see in Peter features which we find in our own hearts: haste, and strong words that are not backed up by action. We would do well, however, to imitate his behaviour in this instance and to determine to serve in the face of adversity. Doubtless we will find this difficult to put into practice. Life will have concerns and burdens, but through them all we hear Him say, "Come ye after me" (Mk 1.17). If we obey, we can learn lessons which teach us the wisdom of casting our care upon Him.


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