I've accepted a challenge. A challenge to read through the New Testament in 90 days. And I'm REALLY excited about it! Last night, I sat down to start reading Matthew 1-3 like the reading plan told me to. Now, I'm not a reader at all, so I rarely find myself so enthralled in a book that I can't put it down. But last night, that's where I was. It was like I had never heard these stories before (even though I have), and they had me on the edge of my seat. Jesus' life was incredible. I can't even begin to comprehend all He did and how perfect He was. I just wanted to keep on reading about Him!
All that to say, I read past chapter 3 all the way through chapter 8, and wouldn't you know, when I got to chapter 8, something jumped off the page and slapped me in the face! Coincidence that I kept reading??? I think not. (Isn't God so cool?) He clearly had something He wanted me to read then and there, and I found it. Take a look...
"When Jesus arrived at Peter's house, Peter's mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him." | Matthew 8:15 NLT
"By this time they were in front of Peter's house. On entering, Jesus found Peter's mother-in-law sick in bed, burning up with fever. He touched her hand and the fever was gone. No sooner was she up on her feet than she was fixing dinner for him" | Matthew 8:15 MSG
You may think this little chunk of scripture is unimportant and inapplicable to our lives today, but I challenge you to dig a little deeper. While the fact that Jesus simply touched her hand to heal her is amazing in itself, I want you to look at HER side of the story. The Bible doesn't give us a whole lot of information on Peter's mother-in-law. In fact, she only gets one sentence. But, man oh man, what she can teach us through that one sentence.
Here she is, sick in bed with a really high fever. I'm no Bible scholar or doctor, but I would venture to say that in those days, a high fever could have possibly meant she was close to death. Either way, she clearly had no energy to do anything but to stay in bed. But at the touch of Jesus' hand, she was completely healed of her sickness. WOW! AMAZING! But keep reading! What did she do immediately? She got up to serve Jesus! WOW! AMAZING! I just find it incredibly inspiring and challenging to see this woman jump out of bed and go straight to serving the Lord.
Think of how we can apply this to our lives. We all go through stuff, right? And usually when we're going through stuff, we turn to Jesus and ask Him for help. Whether that means asking for help for a few days or for a few years, we seek answers and help from Jesus because we clearly can't handle the stuff on our own. So what happens when you get your answer or your problem is fixed? What happens when you're healed or you receive a financial blessing or you finally feel free from that bondage that's been holding you down for years? I'd say most of us would say, "Thank you, Jesus!" or "Praise the Lord!" or "God, You're so good!"
And then what?
Do we leave it at that? Do we get what we want and forget about it? Do we take what we came for and walk away? I think we've made a habit of doing so. I think we live in such a fast-paced, I-want-it-now world that the minute we find what we're looking for, we do a quick celebration and move on with our lives. But Jesus deserves so much more than that. If it weren't for Him, we'd all be sinners with no saving grace. We'd all be facing an eternity in hell. We'd all be walking through life alone. Jesus did more for us in one day than we could ever repay in a lifetime. Yet he continues to love us and bless us beyond our wildest dreams, even when we least deserve it.
I just want to challenge you to never take our Savior for granted. Never fall into the trap of 'using' Jesus. Never act as if Jesus is your genie. Jesus loves you more than you could ever comprehend, and He cares about even your smallest desires. He deserves so much more praise than I think we're giving Him. I hope that you will see this story of Peter's mother-in-law and be inspired to serve Jesus with all you've got for all the incredible ways He loves you and gives to you. If nothing else, for the way He gave His own life so you could live.
The next time Jesus answers your prayer or meets your need (which will probably be some time today because He's amazing like that), don't just thank Him and forget about it. Serve Him. Worship Him. Prepare Him a meal. :)