38 After leaving the synagogue Jesus entered Simon’s house.

Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. 39Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.

It is such a curious little statement. Jesus comes to visit in Simon’s home. He finds Simon’s wife’s mother is sick, and then Luke writes, “they asked Jesus about her.”

I want to know what “they asked”.

Did they want to know if her sickness was a result of sin? Were they asking if God could heal this woman? Were they concerned to discover if faith was necessary for healing, or if could healing simply come as a sovereign act of God? Were they seeking an answer to the eternal conundrum of why some people are healed while others continue to suffer or die from their disease?

There has not been a lot of healing so far in Luke’s Gospel – just one occasion when Jesus drove a demon out of a man in the synagogue in the immediately preceding verses. So, perhaps they “asked him” if he would heal Simon’s mother-in-law as he had healed the demon-possessed man.

Whatever questions they may have had for Jesus, he does not appear to have provided any answers. He does not allow himself to be drawn into a theological squabble. Jesus simply takes decisive action – “he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.”

How often do I get caught up in protracted complicated questions, when what is called for is a decisive act of compassion?

It is tempting to sit on the sidelines analyzing, criticizing, and dissecting the theological, ethical, and moral minutiae of life without ever actually getting up and doing the obvious thing that calls to be done.

Simon’s mother-in-law, like Jesus, did not have this problem. Healed of her fever, she did not sit around wondering how the miracle had taken place. She did not waste time pondering why God had worked so powerfully in her life, while leaving so many without evident healing. Peter’s mother-in-law got up from her bed and took action.  “Immediately she got up and began to serve” the assembled gathering.

God help me to see the appropriate action called for by love and not to escape into protracted conversation and futile debate.

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