Jesus’ Authority over Sickness

Peter’s mother-in-law was healed (Luke 4:38-39).

Continuing from yesterday’s post, Luke gives us another example of Jesus’ authority. The second time it is in the home of Simon Peter:

38Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. 40When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ (Luke 4:38-41).

Some say that Peter the apostle was never married, but here in this passage we are told that Peter did have a wife. His mother-in-law was sick. Paul the Apostle also tells us that Peter had a wife:

3This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? (Cephas is another name for Peter) 6Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living? (1 Corinthians 9:3-6)

Notice how Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, “he rebuked the fever, and it left her.” The Greek word used here for the English word ‘rebuke’ is “Epitimao,” which means to blame, censure, chide, rebuke, warn or berate. It is an abrupt, curt, and biting charge pointedly expressing disapproval, the taking to task of someone for a fault, and connotes a sharp or harsh tone (Lexical Aids to the Key Word Study Bible). Wouldn’t you wonder about Jesus talking to your mother-in-law like that? This is more than likely the first time Christ has met her. He is in Peter’s house and rebuking his mother-in-law’s sickness. Jesus would not normally speak in this kind of tone; He was speaking directly to the illness. The result? She got up totally healed and began waiting on them.

Jesus did not always address an illness or sickness in this way. I certainly would be quick to say that not every sickness has a spirit behind it. In certain countries where the demonic is openly practiced, the link between illness and spiritual practices, such as voodoo, is more common. Verse 40 states that the people brought to Jesus ALL who had various diseases, and He laid His hands on EACH ONE and healed them. Notice, too, that demons came out of many people. He had power to shut their mouths and would not permit them to speak.

The Church needs to exercise the authority of Christ for our day and age (Matthew 28:18-19).

Keith Thomas

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