Waiting on Jesus: Matthew 8:14-17

Focus Passage: Matthew 8:14-17 (NIV)

14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“He took up our infirmities
    and bore our diseases.”

Read Matthew 8:14-17 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

One of the concepts in the Bible that I feel has been misrepresented is an idea that we can find in the event our passage focuses in on. This event is included in three of the four gospels, and every gospel writer includes it in almost the exact same way.

When Jesus and the disciples leave the synagogue and arrive at Peter’s mother-in-law’s home, they find her sick in bed with a fever. Matthew tells us, “When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.” (v. 14-15)

Mark shares about the exact same thing when He describes what happened: “Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.” (Mark 1:30-31)

Luke includes this detail as well when Jesus and the disciples arrive at the house: “Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.” (Luke 4:38-39)

All three of these gospel writers use the exact same word to describe what Peter’s mother-in-law does after being healed of her fever: She waited on them.

The idea of waiting can mean to simply stand around and do nothing, but the context for this is interpretation does not add up to how this word is being used in each gospel. Instead, another equally valid meaning to “wait” is to simply serve, like a waiter or waitress would do with those in a restaurant. This form of waiting better matches the response I believe these three gospel writers are describing.

And in this response we find a big idea: Too often, people choose to wait for God to move before they choose to act. However, instead of waiting for Him to make the first move, we may want to understand that He has already moved. He has given us breath; He has given us life; and He sent Jesus to rescue us from sin. With just these three gifts, God has already given us way more than we deserve. Since He has healed us, perhaps we should wait (i.e. serve) Him first, and let Him direct our lives from this point forward.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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