Saturday, March 20, 2010

What A Day This Has Been!

Preface: It had not been an ordinary day for Simon Peter's wife. Her mother almost died. The whole town turned out at her front door. Her initial encounter with Jesus was one she would not ever forget. She witnessed his healing hand in her own family and his unending compassion for the lowest and most unfortunate society had to offer. She kept asking herself over and over, "Who is this man?" and found herself inexplicably drawn to his goodness.

Peter's wife tells about the events of the day:

"The entire city had turned up at our house! The mass of people filling every street and pathway leading to our porch waited until the sabbath drew to a close because they felt Jesus would not help them on the sabbath. Then, as soon as the sun set, they started banging on our door, peering over our wall and even into our windows. These were individuals who were, more often than not, shunned by society and viewed by the religious leaders as unclean or unworthy, but they somehow knew Jesus would not turn them away. It was an unsettling sight to say the least. But Jesus put a reassuring hand on my shoulder, telling me not to worry as he pushed the door open and stepped into the midst of them.

"For a brief moment. I left the door open slightly to see what was going on. A desperate mother in ragged clothes thrust her dying baby into Jesus' arms, begging for help. A blind man crawled on the ground just behind her, frantically groping for the healer. Some stood patiently waiting their turn, but others were unable to contain themselves. One poor soul whose mind was completely gone, screamed and clawed his way to the front line. I nervously shut the door as Jesus patiently and lovingly healed and comforted the insistent crowd. And when he had tended to them all, he wearily came back into the house and fell asleep.

"What a day this had been! Only a few hours earlier, my mother lay restlessly confined to her bed in an upper chamber of our home. She had been stricken with a great fever. She was massively dehydrated, her lips parched, her skin burning hot to the touch. Her breathing was shallow and raspy and she drifted in and out of unconsciousness and bouts of delirium.

"After teaching in the synagogue, Jesus, accompanied by his new disciples James and John, arrived at our home. Jesus was instantly concerned after Peter, his brother Andrew and I met him at the door, filled with anxiety over my mother's condition. He climbed the stairs to her room, stood beside the bed and took her hand. Lifting her up, he commanded the fever to leave. To our amazement, she opened her eyes, and, somewhat startled and confused, glanced around the room. We all stood there, momentarily stunned, staring at her and then, when we came to our senses, gave her the biggest hug she could handle. After gathering her composure, she expressed her deepest gratitude to Jesus, then demurely excused herself, got dressed and went downstairs to do what she does best--lovingly prepare food and make a fuss over everyone!

"As we shared a meal together, we basked in the glow of mom's fresh, new radiant health and the presence of this remarkable man, spending an afternoon like no other.

"How did it happen that the great healer came to our home? My brother-in-law, Andrew, who shares our residence, was a disciple of the great John the Baptist. Weeks earlier, John the Baptist and Andrew had seen Jesus walk by. John the Baptist had just baptized Jesus the day before. He grabbed Andrew by the arm and declared: "It's him! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" Andrew then spent the day with Jesus, and afterwards couldn't wait to tell my husband Peter, and take him to meet Jesus. They were both convinced they had found the Messiah! Peter was beside himself with enthusiasm. He had always been given to impulsive behavior, but this was different. I could tell.

"And after witnessing Jesus restore my precious mother and then spend hours late into the night compassionately relieve the suffering of the neediest, I was ready to fully support Peter's desire to be his disciple. I have no doubts our mundane fisherman's existence is about to change forever and that we are in for the ride of our lives!"

Matthew 8:14-16; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41

(c) Joyce Catherwood 2010

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