Mark 1:29

This passage, which gives an account of a sabbath spent in Capernaum, shows us the manner in which many unmentioned sabbaths were spent by our Lord and his disciples. Whithersoever Jesus went we should follow him, translating into modern habits the principles which underlay his actions. Consider -

I. THE SYNAGOGUE WHICH JESUS ENTERED. Its worship, unlike that of the temple, was not specially ordained by the Mosaic code. It was the outcome of earlier and more habitual devotions, to which the tents of the patriarchs had not been strangers. Side by side with the ornate, national ritual that enshrined the spiritual truths which, as the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us, were fulfilled in the work of Jesus Christ, this more homely worship continued. Its form sometimes varied, yet it constantly ministered to the religious instruction of the people, and expressed their devotional feeling. In such services our Lord from his childhood took part, and his apostles used them for the propagation of Christian truth amongst their fellow-countrymen. As the synagogue represented the abiding religious worship of the people, we will consider what it was to our Lord and his disciples.

1. It was a place of worship. It is noteworthy that, so far as we know, Jesus Christ never neglected the ordinary worship in which the people united. If any might have found an excuse for doing so, it certainly was he. Self-sufficient in the fullness of his Divine life, he required no help from such extraneous means. With his spiritual insight he could see the formalism and unreality of many about him, and knew the terrible extent to which false teaching misrepresented the character and the ways of God. But he did not turn from the synagogue with contempt, nor did he make the place a scene of theological strife. He himself, the Sinless One, was present there amongst a sinful people, and he devoutly joined with them in prayer and praise. The remembrance of this should serve as a rebuke to those who, in our day, neglect the sanctuary. Their spirituality may be such that they can meditate profitably in their home or in the fields; their intelligence may be so great that no human teacher can help them; yet they do not surely compare with him who was the wisest Teacher and lived the loftiest life the world has ever known, and yet went into the synagogue every sabbath day, "as his custom was."

2. It was a place for teaching. During the service of the synagogue an opportunity was given to any worshipper present to speak a few words on the interpretation of the Scriptures (Acts 13:15). Of this liberty the apostles often availed themselves. In this they followed their Lord. It is stated in ver. 21 that Jesus "taught" on this sabbath, and we do not wonder that the people "were astonished at his teaching." He showed the spiritual significance of the events in Old Testament history, which were too often merely subjects of national boasting. He drew his illustrations, not from rabbinical books, but from the lake and the fields, from the housewife's employments and the merchant's trading. And as he spoke the weary found rest, the eager seekers had a revelation of God, the anxious lost their burdens, and a hush came over the assembly as if the peace of heaven was brooding there.

3. It was a place of comfort. Help and deliverance came even to the poor demoniac, whose obscene ravings and hideous shrieks disturbed the worship and, interrupted the teaching that day. He found that the synagogue was "the house of God and the gate of heaven" to his enslaved spirit. So has many a man, possessed by sin, had deliverance wrought for him where Jesus is. The disciples also knew that comfort was to be found in worship. Hence Simon Peter was there, although he had illness at home such as would detain many a Christian from public worship. What to some would be an excuse was to him a call to the house of God, as the place of rest for anxious hearts. There songs of praise may lift us up as on angels' wings, and Christian teaching may prove as the Bread of life to our hungering hearts.

II. THE HOME WHICH JESUS BLESSED - "the house of Simon and Andrew." These two brethren appear to have removed from Bethsaida, possibly because of marriage connection with the place or for their convenience as fishermen.

1. It was a home with ordinary associations. There was nothing special or distinctive about it or about others which our Lord frequented, and in which he did some of his mightiest deeds and spoke some of his most weighty words. His presence gave sanctity to domestic associations from the time of his first miracle (John 2:2) to the hour when he made himself known in the home of Emmaus (Luke 24:29). We are not to sever ourselves from them - even Peter did not (ver. 30; 1 Corinthians 9:5) - but should rather seek to recognize and welcome Jesus amidst them. It is a happy thing when there is family peace and love such as seem to have prevailed in this home. A "wife's mother" would occupy a difficult and delicate position, but such had been her wisdom and gentleness, her sympathy and constancy, that she had now the love of all, and therefore, directly Jesus entered the home, her illness and need of help prompted the urgent and united prayer he so gladly answered.

2. It was a home in lowly life. A fisherman's house - not the stately palace of a Herod. In contrast with our Lord's humility and graciousness, how paltry seems the ambition of those who would make any sacrifice to get a stately establishment or to push their way into higher social circles! A palace often hides from the world aching hearts and wasted lives, while a cottage may be the home where love and peace are constant, because Jesus is in the midst.

3. It was a home significant of higher fellowship. The Christian Church sprang rather from the homes of the people than from the temple at Jerusalem. If it had originated in the temple, sacramentalism would have found more justification than it does in the New Testament. But the temple was not frequented by the great Teacher to the extent we might have expected. His Church met in the homes of Capernaum and Bethany. The relations between his disciples were to be those of brothers and sisters, bound together, not by law, but by love. Let us, then, try to make the Church a home, and thence the voice of our gracious Master will speak with effectual power to a weary world, saying, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." - A.R.

But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever.
The Lord chose as the first of His apostles a married man, and after his election to follow the Lord he did not separate from his wife, but the Lord honours the family by sometimes dwelling in their house. St. Paul implies (1 Corinthians 9:5) that at times, at least, she accompanied St. Peter in his journeys. It appears from a very touching account given by , that they were living together when she was called to martyrdom. "They say, accordingly, that Peter, on seeing his wife led to death, rejoiced on account of her call and conveyance home, and called very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, 'Remember thou the Lord.' Such was the marriage of the blessed, and their perfect disposition towards those dearest to them."

(M. F. Sadler.)

Spiritual truth, to be clearly discerned, often needs to be embodied in the more significant language of action. Christ's miracles are like mirrors — bringing within easy view objects hard to see or quite out of sight. The famous picture of Aurora by Guido adorns the ceiling of one of the palaces of Rome. The discomfort attending the effort to look up, for the length of time required to study its beauty, is so great, that one could not adequately estimate its merit if there were no other way of viewing it. But a mirror, set up in the room so as to reflect the picture, permits the beholder to view it at his leisure with perfect ease. So the great miracle of the renewing of the soul is above our inspection, but in the mirror miracles of Jesus we have reflections, helping us to the better understanding of that spiritual work. Thus we may gain more good from them, than was imparted to those for whose special benefit they were originally wrought.

(A. H. Currier.)

We have —


1. Trouble is widespread and manifold.

2. Earthly kinships are sources both of joy and grief.

3. Domestic trouble should not detain us from God's house.

II. AN APPLICATION FOR BELIEF — "Anon they tell Him of her."

1. It was intercessory prayer.

2. We admire the simplicity of their request.

3. Nor should we overlook their promptness of suit.


1. Here is a nearer approach, Though Christ has come near to us He can come nearer yet.

2. Jesus Christ does not refrain from personal contact.

3. Christ's gracious touch elevates prostrate humanity — "He lifted her up."

IV. GRATEFUL RECOMPENSE — "She ministered unto them."

1. The recipient of Christ's grace exhibits gratitude in a practical form.

2. Unconsciously she performed good service for others.

3. Jesus Christ stoops to accept service from all.


1. The life of men is also their light. Jesus revealed to men, and to society, their needs. Probably no one knew that there was a demoniac in the synagogue, until Jesus began to teach. Men hide their deeper needs even from themselves, until the Healer comes.

2. Men's minds naturally reason from the special to the general.

3. We must observe how tolerant Christ is of human prejudices and traditional habits. The inhabitants of Capernaum would not bring their sick until the sun had set, i.e., until the Sabbath had closed. Towards human ignorance He is inexpressibly pitiful.

4. The rewards of faithful service are larger service yet. Jesus had blessed a man, a family; now He is required to bless a city. So shall it be in heaven. Fidelity shall be honoured by more responsible service — "Be thou ruler over ten cities."


VII. CHRIST IS THE HOPE OF HUMANITY, BUT THE TERROR OF DEMONS. "The whole city was gathered to Him at the door." Men are more conscious of bodily evils, than of soul malady. But the goodness that attracts men, repels demons.

(D. Davies, M. A.)

Note —

I. THE VARIETY OF THE CASES OF HEALING. Fever. Divers diseases, demoniacal possession. Leprosy. Christ had no specialty; His resources were varied; He can touch all classes of human need.

II. HOW HEALING WAS EFFECTED BY PERSONAL CONTACT — "Took her by the hand." "Put forth His hand and touched him."

III. HOW RAPIDLY THE PATIENTS WERE HEALED — "immediately." Ordinarily healing travels slowly; here as if by lightning. So in matters spiritual.

IV. HOW MANIFEST WAS THE REALITY OF THE HEALING. Peter's mother-in-law "ministered." Work of Christ in man always seen in its effects. Saul (Galatians 1:23).

(H. Thorne.)


1. They told Jesus of her. Worth while to be sick to be brought to Him.

2. Anon they told Him of her, i.e., at once.

3. They told Him of her. Often what is everybody's business is nobody's.

4. They told Him of her. Prayer is telling Jesus.


1. He came: at once, but not always at once, for good reasons.

2. He took her by the hand. Without ceremony: familiarly.

3. He lifted her up. Gospel always raises.

4. He healed her immediately. Pardon instantly ours when we grasp Christ's hand.

III. WHAT THE RESTORED WOMAN DID. Ministered. We are saved to work: by precept and example.

(J. S. Swan.)

I. SOCIAL SERVICE (ver. 31).

II. PUBLIC MINISTRY (vers. 32-34).


(J. Parker, D. D.)

Jesus had a public ministry in the synagogue; a private ministry in the domestic circle.






(J. Parker, D. D.)

If Peter was the first Pope, he set them an example in this respect which all the popes and all the clergy would have been wise to follow. Nature never injures grace. It is not desirable to be without parents in our youth, or without wife or husband in our mature life. The love of another heart is not only a quiet resting place, but a great aid to goodness; and he who loves well wife or child wilt love God better for doing so.

(R. Glover.)

I. LET US ASCERTAIN WHAT IT TEACHES CONCERNING THIS NOTED APOSTLE, SIMON PETER. "Marriage is honourable in all," "Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband."

II. WHAT DO WE KNOW OF THIS WOMAN WHO WAS CURED? But there is something to be said concerning the wife herself, and this is of special importance. There is reason to believe that she remained a most faithful companion and fellow worker with Peter, whom Paul always calls "Cephas," down to the end of her life. For in one of Paul's epistles an allusion is made to her: he says, "Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" This was written more than twenty years after Christ's resurrection, when Peter was an old man. As a comment upon the verse, adds: "Peter and Philip had children, and both took about their Wives, in order that they might act as their assistants in ministering to women at their own homes; by their means the doctrine of the Lord penetrated without scandal into the privacy of the women's apartments."

III. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THIS APOSTLE'S FAMILY? There is a beautiful little legend, altogether uninspired, which is found in the history of sacred and legendary art; there is nothing to prevent its being true, and it is certainly worth telling. The story relates that Peter had a lovely daughter, born in lawful wedlock, who accompanied him in his journey from the East. At Rome she fell sick of a grievous infirmity which deprived her of the use of her limbs. One of Simon's disciples sitting at meat with him said: "Master, how is it that thou, who healest the infirmities of others, dost not heal thy daughter Petronilla?" "It is good for her to remain sick," replied her father, perhaps thinking of the profitable discipline which the pain might bring to her. But that they all might see the power that was in the word of God, he commanded her to get up and serve them at table — which she did. Then afterwards, praying fervently, the maiden was permanently healed.

IV. It is refreshing to turn from the mere poetry of a legend to THE SERENE MAJESTY OF HISTORY. And now there is a lesson in almost every particular.

1. Was this woman sick of a great fever? Then we see how Christ is the only help, but always the sure help, in desperate cases. He is able to save bodies and souls "to the uttermost."

2. Did the disciples go and tell Jesus of her? Then we may note the advantage of faith in the Divine and sovereign Saviour. "None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good."

3. Are we told that those home friends besought the Lord in her behalf? Then we learn how necessary is fervent prayer. "For all these things will I be inquired of by the house of Israel."

4. Did our Saviour touch this woman's hand, and touch it only, for her cure? Then observe how delicate is the ministration of Divine grace in the gospel, and let us be gentle with souls.

5. Was it the interposition of other people which availed to bring this sick creature to health? Then how fine is the office of human means and instruments with God. There is really a glorious share in the work of saving souls which He permits.

6. Do we notice that this woman was also lifted up by Jesus? The miracle is a parable; God never lays a commandment on any soul which He does not aid that soul in performing for Him.

7. Did the cured woman rise at once to begin her grateful service? It is by that we know her healing was perfectly done. The good Lord never leaves body or soul half-delivered from ill.

8. Was Simon's wife's mother satisfied to minister to Jesus Christ right off and right there? Then think how much valuable time some impatient people waste in trying to find a field of work for Christ, when most likely the best task lies nearest at hand. This woman entered "the ministry" just as truly as Simon Peter did: he preached, and she served; that was ministry.

9. Were these wonderful privileges misused and perverted by Capernaum? Then let all the world know and remember that it is preeminently a dangerous thing to do, this disregard of the merciful manifestations of the Divine presence among men.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Expository Outlines.



1. That there was no parade.

2. There was no delay.

3. There was no ground for doubting its reality.

(Expository Outlines.)

I.How grace came to Peter's house.

II.What it did in Peter's house.

III.How it flowed forth from Peter's house.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)Wherever Christ comes, He comes to do good, and will be sure to pay richly for His entertainment.

(M. Henry.)

I. THE SCENE of this domestic affliction.

1. The home of a disciple.

2. The house visited by Christ.

II. THE HEALING of this domestic affliction.

1. It was done tenderly.

2. It was done immediately.

3. It was done easily.

4. It was done effectually.

III. The healing was followed by MINISTRATION.

1. It was prompted by the glad impulse of her new strength.

2. It was obligated by a remembrance of her Benefactor.

3. It was required by her relatives.

4. It was not avoided by unreal excuses.Lessons:

1. Cultivate in your homes the feeling of discipleship toward Christ.

2. Seek Christ as a constant Visitor to your home.

3. Tell Christ of all your domestic sorrows.

4. Let His healing touch be immediately followed by your active ministration.

(Joseph S. Exell, M. A.)

The afflicted should receive sympathy and succour, and return kindness and help.

(J. H. Godwin.)

By His touch He restored her immediately to health and strength. This no human physician could have done. After a fever a long convalescence ensues before health returns. But in the case of Christ's miracles, it was with diseases as with the sea. After a storm there is a swell, before the sea sinks into a calm. But Christ reduced the fury of the sea by a word to perfect calm, as He did the rage of the fever to perfect health. She arose and was ministering to Him, thus proving the cure and her own love to its Author.

(Bishop Chris. Wordsworth.)

Became a servant to them. Her work was common women's work which had simply to do with the physical wants of Christ and His disciples. There are a few women who are called by God to work publicly for Him: but for the most part the ministry of women lies in another direction. We are not to be so much like Miriam and Deborah as like Ruth and Hannah. If we cannot preach we can work for the poor as Dorcas did; we may lend our rooms for Bible readings and prayer meetings, as did Mary the mother of Mark; and like the elect lady we may bring up our children to work in the truth. We can minister to the disciples who are in our house; to ignorant servants; to the sick, and old, and lonely; to those who have few friends and whom other workers overlook. Whatever we are we may do something for Christ. Some can speak for Him, more can sing for Him, and more still can smile for Him. Willing hands will not remain long idle if wedded to thoughtful hearts and observant eyes.

(Marianne Farningham.)

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