Reciprocal Ministries
Matthew 8:14-17
And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.

Here we notice two things -


1. He accepted the hospitality of Peter.

(1) This apostle resided at Capernaum, and Jesus lodged with him (cf. Matthew 17:24). Peter had a house; his Master had not one. Here the servant was above his Lord.

(2) Peter formerly resided at Bethsaida (John 1:44). Probably he removed his dwelling to be near to Jesus - to render him hospitality, and to benefit by his heavenly conversation. In changing residences Christians should not remove from the ordinances of religion. In seeking the health of the body the health of the soul must not be imperilled. Israel journeyed ever under the Sheehinah.

(3) Peter's wife's mother ministered to Jesus, or supplied him with refreshments. Jesus needed such hospitality, for his humanity was real. So are still his human sympathies.

(4) In accepting this hospitality, Jesus sanctioned marriage amongst his clergy. With what little grace do the Romanists contend for the celibacy of those who, while professing to derive infallibility from Peter, go contrary to his example (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:5)!

2. He will accept the hospitality of our hearts.

(1) Though corporeally gone into heaven, Jesus is still spiritually present with us. He sups in blessed friendship with the loyal, loving heart. He looks for a spiritual ministry to him. Temporal things are valuable as they are prompted by spiritual motives and aim at spiritual ends.

(2) We minister to Jesus when we serve his Church. The Church is the mystical Christ (cf. Romans 12:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 8:12; Galatians 3:16 with ver. 29).

(3) Individual believers are specimens of the Church and representatives of Jesus. So he takes home as to himself hospitalities, or conversely unkindnesses, shown to them (cf. Matthew 25:40, 45; Acts 9:5).

(4) We are qualified by the grace of Christ to minister to Christ. Peter was made a disciple of Jesus before Jesus accepted his hospitality. Peter's wife's mother was empowered by Jesus before she ministered to Jesus. "We give thee of thine own."

(5) Peter was a young man - for his wife's mother was an active woman - yet Peter was a senior among the apostles. They were, therefore, all young men. Youth is the period for enterprise. Those who waste their youth waste their lives.


1. He healed all manner of diseases.

(1) "The fever owned his touch, and fled." The touch of that hand intimated the tenderness of a heart that is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." It also evinced Divinity. The healing was as sudden as the touch. There was no interval of convalescence.

(2) Jesus healed Peter's wife's mother on the sabbath (cf. Mark 1:21, 29). For "it is lawful to do good on the sabbath day." But the Jews did not bring their sick until after sundown, when the sabbath ended (see Leviticus 23:32; also Matthew 12:10; Luke 13:4). He respected their prejudices, and healed them all.

2. He cast out the spirits with his word.

(1) An essential distinction is here strongly marked between the spirits "cast out" and the diseases "healed" (cf. Mark 1:34).

(2) Demoniacs were prevalent in Judaea in the time of Christ because the nation was then advanced to a height of impiety. The Jews were then also strongly addicted to magic, and invited spirits to be familiar with them.

(3) If there is anything beyond charlatanry in the spiritualism of these days it is like a revival of the necromancy denounced in the holy oracles (see Deuteronomy 18:9-12).

(4) Evil spirits have never ceased to dwell in impure affections; and they still possess the souls of the wicked as formerly they possessed their bodies.

3. These works denoted the Messiah.

(1) They were wrought in fulfilment of prophecy. The citation of Isaiah 53:4 here evinces this. But the words of the prophet also have reference to the atonement for sin, for so they are applied elsewhere (see 1 Peter 2:14).

(2) The miracles were wrought in anticipation of the atonement. For sickness is a consequence of sin. The removal of the consequence was a pledge that the Miracle-worker would remove the cause. Upon the same principle of anticipation Old Testament believers were saved by the death of Christ.

(3) The miracles of Jesus, together with the sympathy of his whole life, must be viewed as belonging to his great work of atonement, which was therefore only "finished" on the cross. So, in working his miracles, Jesus sometimes - perhaps always - "groaned in spirit, and was troubled." Both kinds of "bearing our diseases" were requisite to our great High Priest (see Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 5:1, 2). Remarkably this view is expressed in the rabbinical book of Zohar: "There is one temple which is called the temple of the sons of affliction; and when Messiah comes into that temple, and reads all the afflictions, all the griefs, and all the chastisements of Israel, which came upon them, then all of them shall come upon him; and if there were any that would lighten them off from Israel, and take them upon himself, there is no son of man that can bear the chastisements of Israel, because of the punishment of the Law, as it is said, 'Surely he hath borne our griefs,' etc."

(4) The diseases and afflictions of the body miraculously cured by Jesus are to be taken as figures of corresponding moral evils. - J.A.M.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.

WEB: When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother lying sick with a fever.

Fevers At Capernaum
Top of Page
Top of Page