Thursday 03 March 2022

Bible Book:

This was to fulfill what has been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, ‘he took our infirmities and bore our diseases.’ (v. 17)

Matthew 8:14-17 Thursday 3 March 2022

Psalm 90


We do not know much about the domestic circumstances of Jesus’ disciples but here we have a little insight into Simon Peter’s family life. We know that he must have been married (or perhaps widowed) and that he shared his home with his mother-in-law and presumably other members of the extended family. Matthew recounts a third miracle story as Jesus sees the woman is ill, touches her hand, and cures her. To modern readers, it might seem harsh (if not sexist) that she is expected to leave her sickbed in order to exercise hospitality, though it is interesting to note that the focus of her attention is on Jesus. Our psalm today (90) asks God to show mercy on us and to prosper the work of our hands (v. 17); Matthew appears to share with the Psalmist an understanding that we ask to be made whole in order that we might be the people God wants us to be.

The healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law was one of many miracles that Jesus worked and Matthew describes large numbers being brought to Jesus for healing and all their needs being met. Clearly, Jesus is now a figure of some renown and, as with the centurion’s servant in the story yesterday, it only needs a word from Jesus to set someone free from their afflictions.

One of the key themes in Matthew is the fulfilment of Scripture. In his Gospel, Matthew sets out to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah who was promised by the prophets and here he links the ministry of Jesus to the prophecy of Isaiah. Those familiar with the text that he quotes (Isaiah 53:4) would perhaps recall that it comes from one of the ‘Servant Songs’ which speak of the suffering of the one who takes away disease and carries affliction. In this moment of Jesus’ great popularity, there is already a hint of the passion to come.


To Ponder:

  • Healing the sick was clearly a key element in Jesus’ ministry and in various ways has been part of the ministry of the Church ever since. Some parts of the Church have been wary of raising expectations in this regard. What do you think?
  • Psalm 90 is a reflection on the fragility of life and health and our dependence on God. Has the recent experience of Covid-19 changed your understanding of those things?
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