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Christian Concourse
Newsletter of the Month

January 2013

 

When Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. Matthew 8:14-15

 

Dear Friends,

 

As you know, there is a standing joke in our western culture about nagging mothers-in-law. Husbands often really do have a lot of stress in their lives as a result of the honest input they get from their wife's mom, whose primary interest is naturally the welfare of her daughter. Depending on the maturity and the temperament of the husband, this can spell trouble in the home.

 

Now, knowing Peter as we do to have a strong personality, and to be impetuous, even capable of explosive violence, it would not be a long stretch for us to imagine there to be a lively contention between he and his mother-in-law. So, here she is laid out sick in bed with a fever in Peter's house, and he brings the preacher home for dinner! The atmosphere would have to be thick with tension as Peter's wife hovers over her dear mom, who may be dying. To say the least, fixing a fancy meal for Peter's pack of friends would not be high on her priority list right now. If Peter's wife is anything like some of the strong-willed ladies I'm sure we all know, just think what could unfold in the event Peter spoke one word to her about food.

 

So, what does Jesus do? He does not use the opportunity to lecture His captive audience on anger-management or hospitality. He does not do the polite thing and excuse Himself and take His disciples down to the McDonald's for a bite to eat. No, He looks directly at the problem in the home, He walks over to Peter's mother-in-law and He touches her. I take it that she was completely, immediately healed! The fever did not only subside, she was strong enough to jump up and go to work fixing supper for the Savior!

 

Here we have a beautiful picture of our relationship with Jesus. When we invite Him into our lives, He does not just come and hang out to take advantage of our hospitality. No! He sets out immediately to right the wrongs in the way we think and the error in the deeds we do. He doesn't do it with harsh guilt-trips and pointed accusations...does He? Sure there's conviction, because He puts His hand directly on the problem. But He does not condemn...He heals, He restores, He empowers...does He not? Jesus entered a home frozen and dysfunctional with sickness, and turned it into a delightful place to be. Just like He does for us when we invite Him into the home of our heart, ailing and broken as it may be.

 

"We love Him, because He first loved us" (1John 4:19). Our love for God Almighty is our response to a miraculous transformation – a deep, deep explosion of Light in the depths of our very soul – there where the Creator of the Universe has stretched out His nail-pierced hand to supernaturally heal and redeem. The fountain of what we called life in our unregenerate hearts, so selfishly petty and dull and lustfully dark and lifeless, has erupted into the joy and peace and righteousness of the true life giving Holy Spirit. Our spiritual eyes and ears are suddenly opened to grasp the true knowledge of the saving work of Christ on the Cross: His sacrifice for our sins is no longer a string of fairy tales of Christmas Carols and Easter stories. He has touched us! We have seen Him face to face! We were "as good as dead" and now we live!

 

"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us" (1John 3:16). Our life, who we are, how we think and act changes and continues to change from the second we see His tortured body nailed to the tree and hear Him cry to His Father in Heaven, "Forgive them for they know not what they do!" Imagine what conflict of emotions and questions and doubts that Peter's wife and mother-in-law were enduring. Surely they had often sat in utter amazement listening to Peter go on and on about this Rabbi from Nazareth...healing every sick person He saw and astounding all with His wisdom and love. They would certainly want to know where this "Miracle-Worker" is now in their hour of dire need. Would this Wondering Phenomenon prove to be just another of Peter's pipe dreams...another passing fad? Certainly the fever and the pain were not fantasies! Too sick to lift her body and go to Him; too blinded by disease to see her way through the crowd, all she could do was lay there paralyzed by the hopelessness of her condition. Then He touched her!

 

He "loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Revelation 1:5). All of her daughter's sympathy and care could not heal Peter's mother-in-law. But the simple touch of the Master's hand on hers was enough! All the arrogant aspirations and vain attempts at saving ourselves are useless. No amount of blood from bulls and goats and sheep and dove could cleanse one human heart. Only the precious blood of the only sinless man who ever lived, the righteous Son of God, could suffice to pay the price for our sins! And only the work of His Holy Spirit in our innermost being to open our eyes and ears to His loving Word could flood our hearts with faith in His promise of eternal life! "Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee" 2Corinthians 5:5.

 

According to the Greek dictionary, the word translated in our text as "ministering" comes directly from a word that means "to be a servant, to serve, wait upon." Jesus doesn't just talk about right and wrong, he fixes what is wrong and makes things right. And we respond with service to Him. Why? Because we really, really are thankful for the transformation He is performing in our life. Because we really, really take great joy in His delightful presence and His comforting companionship in our "home." Because we really, really believe that He is the answer to the problems in the lives of those He brings into our life. Can you imagine the party they had in Peter's house that night?!

 

As we respond to the saving grace of God's Holy Spirit in our hearts, willful service for His Kingdom's sake is a joy and we see the privilege in it. We could not lift our heads off the pillow of our sinful plight until He touched us! Now we serve Him as an honor and an act of honest gratitude!

 

This is what empowers so many of those we hear from who serve the cause of Christ in their local care facilities. Their calling to this mission field is their pleasure. They love the work the Lord has given them to do in nursing home ministry. There are thousands of them out there, not just in long-term care, but in prisons, in homeless shelters, in hospitals, in crisis-pregnancy centers, in their neighborhoods and holding the fort for their families and their friends.

 

We love to be an encouragement and a help to those who "minister" for the Lord in nursing homes! Indeed, we are honored by the privilege. And we thank each of you who help us in this service. God's got an army! All Glory to Christ our Lord!


Sincerely, Blessings to You,

Jerry and Dar

Jerry and Dar Johnson

 

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