We hear in Mark 1:29 today that “Jesus entered the house of Simon [Peter] and Andrew.”
A team of archaeologists have discovered this exact house in Capernaum made up of black basalt walls, within which the largest room was made into a chapel. One hundred years later an octagonal church was built over this chapel portion, which features a large Greek mosaic with glass pieces gilded in gold. The walls in the church had been plastered, re-plastered, and painted with intricate designs. Graffiti appears on the plastered walls—for example, “Lord Jesus Christ help your servant…” and “Christ have mercy.” Greek predominates, but some Syriac and Hebrew remains. There are many etchings of small crosses or, in one case, a boat. The mosaic is inscribed with a petition that asks for the intercession of St. Peter, who is referred to as “the chief and commander of the heavenly apostles.” Byzantine Christian writers commonly referred to the Apostle Peter by this title.1
The lowest level of Peter’s house was used for daily home life—lamps, coins, cooking pots, and fishhooks were found there. What portion of your house or estate can you dedicate to the Lord?
We hear today that Jesus prayed before dawn in a private, quiet setting and his disciples found him and said, «Everyone is looking for you.» Music to a co-dependent’s ears. The Greek word zetein, translated as looking, when used in Mark’s Gospel, is always associated with either an evil intention or a misguided sort of seeking. To avoid this sort of popularity, Jesus heads off to new places.
We are called to sacrifice our desires for another person’s needs, not to sacrifice our needs for another’s desires.
Once our batteries are charged, we can do service. Jesus took Simon Peter’s mother-in-law by the hand and lifted her up. She began to serve, says Mark 1:31. Some translations say, “she waited on them.”
Serving after recovering is “restored discipleship.” The verb is diekonei. It is the word from which we get the English word deacon. Whenever ministry is spoken of as being rendered directly to the Lord Jesus, it is the ministry of angels or of women. E.g., After Jesus’ temptations angels came and ministered to Him (Matt. 4:11; Mark 1:13).
Of no man is it recorded that he waited, served, or ministered to Jesus, but on two occasions it is recorded of Martha that she served Jesus; mention is made of a band of women who ministered to Him of their substance for material needs. Peter’s mother-in-law is only person who is healed by Jesus and then does something for him.
Jesus could preach because they provided.2
Note that Peter’s mother-in-law was healed on a Sabbath. Jewish women would have been particularly attentive about serving a Sabbath meal, which was the first-century equivalent of Sunday dinner. Jewish custom made the Sabbath not only a day of rest but also a day of joy, not the least reason for which was the festive meal. Christians are inclined to call to mind only the thirty-nine kinds of work forbidden on the Sabbath by the Mishna and thus to forget the fact that it was expected to be a day of delight (cf. Isa. 58:13 and Prov. 10:22, which were applied to the Sabbath. Three meals of the choicest available food were prescribed for it along with regulations as to how that food could be kept warm, since no fire could be kindled on the Sabbath.3
God restores the house of our soul (Psalm 23:3,) by making time to rest and restore in Him.
1. St. Peter’s house believed to have been found on shore of Sea of Galilee, catholicnewsagency.com. Note that some say that
Peter’s house is in lost city of Bethsaida instead of nearby Capernaum, six miles away.
2. Jeremy Myers, Jesus was a Feminist (Luke 8:1-3), blog.
3. Charles C. Ryrie, An Act of Divine Healing, Bibliotheca sacra; January 1, 1956