How Do You Say, “Thank You?”

“And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and immediately they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.” Mark 1:29-31

Let me give you a little background setting for this account in the life of Jesus. The location of Capernaum on the Galilee was prolific with fish. Seven springs emptied into the Sea nearby, bringing warmer water. As a result, algae grew and provided perfect feeding grounds for fishermen to develop lucrative trade.

The first four disciples Jesus called to be with him were just such men. Brothers Simon and Andrew, and brothers James and John, also known as the sons of Zebedee, who Jesus later called the “Sons of Thunder.”

According to tradition, the home of Simon and Andrew actually belonged to Simon’s mother-in-law. It’s thought the brothers had worked for her fisherman husband and Simon had married the daughter, though it wasn’t mentioned whether this was before or after the death of the father.

On the Sabbath morning, the five men went to the nearby synagogue where Jesus spent the day teaching and, notably, delivering the demon-possessed man. Then they went to Simon and Andrew’s home, presumably for the evening meal.

As soon as they entered the home they told Jesus Simon’s mother-in-law was ill. If we just look at the English words, we don’t get the impact of what is happening here. She had a raging fever.

We mothers remember the despair we felt when our wee one awoke in the night—or after a nap—with blazing cheeks and 104 degree fever. By the time we’ve grown to adulthood, we feel like we’re dying with a temperature of 101. Our body’s temperature regulator has matured so our temperatures don’t spike as high as our baby’s, but the discomfort is still extreme.

The scripture tells us Jesus went right to her bedside, took her by the hand and lifted—or raised— her up. The Greek word is egeiro—to arouse from the sleep of death, or recall the dead to life. Did you think, like I did, that she was just having a sick day? She was dying. This was Huge.

Jesus helped her sit up and all symptoms left her. When we are sick and our fever breaks, it takes time for us to feel better, even more time for us to get our strength back. She was 100% whole immediately. Don’t miss it. This is radical healing—a miracle. With God everything is possible (Matthew 19:26)

We don’t always see a response from the healed person, but in this case we do. What does Simon’s mother-in-law do? She shows love and gratitude by preparing a meal for them. Now, she’s been sick for some time. Her daughter has most likely been caring for her. And it’s the end of the Sabbath. Fresh bread would not have been baked, no meat roasted, nor side dishes prepared. She said ‘thank you’ in the way she knew how. She prepared the meal for them—from scratch.

Moments after her release from near-death, she expended herself in ministering to the needs of her tired, hungry healer. He who came to serve, was himself served.

Her story convicted me about my response when Jesus does something in my life; when he answers my prayers, delivers me in some way or just lets me know he’s listening. How quickly do I praise him? Thank him? How quickly do I minister to him?

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you…O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever. “ 1 Thessalonians 5:18, 1 Chronicles 16:34

by Marilyn Allison