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Mark 1:29-31: Jesus Heals Simon’s Mother in Law

Posted by adventbiblestudy on October 24, 2012


Mark 1:29-31 NLTse After Jesus left the synagogue with James and John, they went to Simon and Andrew’s home. (30) Now Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. (31) So he went to her bedside, took her by the hand, and helped her sit up. Then the fever left her, and she prepared a meal for them.

 

As a new believer I am constantly comparing each text to the previous texts, carefully looking for the similarities which teach a far deeper lesson. In Mark’s book, related texts seem to raise more questions than anything. This series of texts begins with, Jesus leaving the synagogue with James and John. A previous story ends with a different account.

 

Mark 1:19-21 NLTse A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. (20) He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men. (21) Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach.

 

According to Mark’s account, Simon and Andrew were the first disciples Jesus called. Then a little further down He called James and John. In verse 21 it appears Jesus takes all four into the synagogue. But, in verse 29 Jesus leaves with only James and John, and went to Simon and Andrew’s home. Is this just something in the translation, or is there a deeper message here?

 

One way to find out is to check other translations. I always refer back to the literal translation referred to as the KJV+ (in the Bible program I use) with all the original words translated in the exact order they were written. The numbers shown here correlate to the Strong’s Concordance numbers, which provide information about the original Greek word used and its definition. All very useful tools when studying the Bible. Hovering the mouse over the number, or clicking on it will link to the definition and other information about that word.

 

Mark 1:29 KJV+ AndG2532 forthwith,G2112 when they were comeG1831 out ofG1537 theG3588 synagogue,G4864 they enteredG2064 intoG1519 theG3588 houseG3614 of SimonG4613 andG2532 Andrew,G406 withG3326 JamesG2385andG2532 John.G2491

 

In this translation we see Jesus left the synagogue with the same four disciples. We also see Mark is very careful to continue listing their names in the same order.

 

Another detail I noticed. They went to Simon and Andrew’s home. The two brothers lived together in the same house. Mark also tells us Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They must have been a very close knit community. Not only did the two brothers live together, we now know Simon had a wife, and they brought his wife’s mother to live with them. From this we may also assume Simon and Andrew most likely lived with their parents. I can’t be certain this is common to the time and region, but I can be certain of the details shown in the Bible.

 

Some times it is good to take these details and compare them to previous texts. We see all four disciples going to Simon and Andrews house. We have already been told, Simon and Andrew, James and John worked only a short distance from one another. We know they were all fisherman. In all generations fishermen faced the same threats and challenges from the water, wind and storms. They came together during trials to help and comfort one another. Were these some of the qualities Jesus was looking for when He called them?

 

When I compare texts within this chapter I also see a sequence in Jesus’ ministry and can’t help but notice the locations. Jesus calls the first four disciples along the shores of the sea. How many lessons did Jesus teach along the same sea shores? Next Jesus moves to a synagogue to teach and heal a man possessed by an evil spirit. How many problems did Jesus face in synagogues? After that Jesus goes into a home to heal Simon’s mother-in-law from a fever. After she was healed, they ate. Look at Jesus’ ministry inside homes. He received physical food while returning spiritual.

 

It amazes me how quickly Mark can teach so many lessons using only a few words. It is as if Mark drew an outline of Jesus’ ministry in the first chapter of his book.

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