Week 1 | Tuesday

Week 1 | Who is Jesus?

Jesus and Simon’s Mother-in-Law

by Janet Nygren


Once again, invite the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see and ears to hear as you read today’s passage. This passage follows immediately after yesterday’s passage, where Jesus had the authority to cast an evil spirit out of a man. Illness is probably easier for us to relate to than evil spirits, but with the knowledge and resources we have for cures now, we tend to put a lot of trust into humankind’s abilities. While that is a good thing, using the gifts God has given us, we can lose sight of what illness tells us about our world–how very broken it is compared to God’s original design. As Jesus comes on the scene, think about how he views illness. How do his actions reflect who he is? What are his priorities? How is he different from, say, a mobile medical unit coming through town? Read the passage a few times to allow the details to stand out.

Read: Luke 4:38-44

38 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. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Be Curious

  • What strikes you about the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law?
  • It doesn’t take long for people to realize that Jesus has something good to offer. What about his nature draws them to him?
  • Why do you suppose Jesus silences the demons? How might knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, lead people astray at this time?
  • Jesus says he must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to other towns also (v.43). What do you think is at the heart of that good news–is it about healing or something else about his interactions with these people?


Various people in the story respond to Jesus differently: asking for help, serving with gratitude, bringing others to Jesus, trying to keep him around longer. But they are all drawn to him.
What draws you to Jesus? 
  • Do you have a story that captures an experience that drew you to him? 
  • Or perhaps there are aspects of Jesus that make you nervous, afraid to draw near precisely because he is God?


  • Take a moment to talk to Jesus. Have a conversation with him about what you really think about him. He responded to people in his day, and he can respond to you now.


All the responses of the people in this story honor Jesus for what he did in their lives.
  • If you thought of a story in your own life that drew you to Jesus, would you share it here? It is a way of honoring Jesus to acknowledge it, and share it with others. Or, if you are nervous about drawing near to Jesus, you might find others who feel the same way by sharing.


Lisa Irvinf - February 28th, 2023 at 5:16am

Last year my father in law was very ill with cancer and was nearing the end of his life. During this time I was filled with grief over knowing we would soon lose him. He and I were always the closest out of my in laws. During this time I felt an urge to go back to church. I began attending different churches online and praying daily. I grew up in a Catholic Church but when I went to college I had gotten away from attending besides holiday services. Now reflecting back I know returning to church was the work of Jesus and God in my life. I was reassured that I am never alone and that all I needed to do was turn to God. I realized He had never left me and would always be there for me.

Nick Tebordo - February 28th, 2023 at 5:36am

I am so blessed to hear the stories of my fellow pilgrims on this Lenten Journey. I saw this story in an episode of The Chosen. To be aware of all the things happening in Jesus’ life every day adds depth to his encounter with Peter’s mother-in-law. He did only what His Father told Him to do. There were many people clamoring for His attention. He went off by Himself and prayed! I find it difficult sometimes to take this quiet time. As I journey with my fellow pilgrims, I am trying to stop rushing-to be still before God and listen for His guidance. I sincerely want to do what He is blessing rather than asking Him to bless what I am doing. Thank you everyone for sharing and for listening.

David Edelstein - February 28th, 2023 at 5:54am

When I have yelled or cursed at home, I fear that I have grieved the Holy Spirit. When I have avoided approaching someone I should talk with, I fear that I have quenched the Holy Spirit. I am disappointed with myself and wonder if Jesus must be angry with me. So I am nervous about drawing near to Him.

Tom Nygren - February 28th, 2023 at 6:08am

I'm struck by the small details of Jesus' interactions: "he bent over her", "laying his hands on each one." It's very personal, very individual. He also doesn't demand anything of people before he heals them--he just has compassion on them. I'm sure the impact on each person was profound, and went beyond the immediate healing. But, as much as he clearly did care about their physical health, he had something more in mind. He didn't say "I must go to the other towns to heal more people." Rather, he wanted to tell them the good news about the kingdom. The good news is about healing our hearts, even though Jesus often also has compassion for our bodies . Whenever I hear people's stories, I am always struck by how Jesus deals with them so personally and uniquely, exactly at the point they need him. I am grateful for this in my own life too. Truly, he knows what we need better than we do ourselves.

Linda Comstock - February 28th, 2023 at 7:38am

My growing up years as a young child was quite a trial for a young child. I had lost my mom at age 15 months, lost my aunt and uncle (whom I lived with after mom passed) at around 10 and 13 yrs of age. Then lived with another aunt and uncle. That aunt passed away when I was 17. That uncle sexually abused me. Then I met my first husband who was an alcoholic and physically/emotionally abusive. My beliefs in God had never been strong growing up in the catholic church. It was just a duty to go to church. Therefore with all these other situations I grew up with...to me there was no God. That 1st husband asked me to go to church with him because he was getting baptized...whatever that meant. We had been separated and together so many times over our 16 years of marriage that I couldn't count them. Cursing and smoking off I went to his church. It was an amazing time! A movie "All the Kings Men" had been shown that night during this baptism service. It was my life story living with an alcoholic husband. When they did the alter call I nearly flew over the pew to get to the alter. I had no idea what I was doing or anything about this Jesus the movie talked about, but there I was at the alter accepting Jesus. Amazing and a miracle in my eyes.

Melody - February 28th, 2023 at 8:12am

Many of you know the story of my mom, and the cancer that disappeared after a course of treatment, after the doctors had said she was terminal regardless.

It took a while after her illness went away for her strength to return, and she's just now getting up to speed a month later. Earlier on, she had physical therapy just to be well enough to climb the stairs into her home, to walk from one room to another.

But when Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law she got up immediately and began serving! Here, his healing is completed at the moment it begins.

Janet's other question reminds me of a quote I read somewhere last week --our church can say "come as you are" all we want, but if we really want to draw people to Jesus we need to design a space specifically for them, where they will feel welcomed as individuals. It reminded me of Paul Borden's story of the church that built a slide into the children's church area. It reminded me of the story of our church serving Sunday breakfast because children were coming to Sunday School hungry a generation ago.

As Tom already said, Jesus got close to each person individually. In other passages, he asked them what they wanted from him. He made specific space for each one, and they felt welcomed and loved.

Janet Nygren - February 28th, 2023 at 8:48am

I think pretty consistently it's my need that draws me to Jesus. I'm not sick that often, but things like wisdom, perspective, confidence, loneliness, comfort, even time, are things that I have found I can't produce on my own. Over time, when Jesus keeps coming through, it leads me to trust him more, and turn to him more often, hearing more what he has to say about other things. For example, I'm a counselor. It regularly surprises me how whatever I've been reading devotionally is relevant in different ways to the various people I'm talking to during the week. It's almost odd how God orchestrates that, but it helps me to remember that he's the true counselor in the room--I'm like his intern. Another example is my schedule. I'm not the best at saying no to things. And sometimes I have things in my schedule that I shouldn't say no to. But for the last few years I have experienced God's hand over my schedule regularly--cancellations that I have no control over, but give me just the time I need to accomplish something else that is important--probably more about God's agenda, not mine. As he looks out for me in these ways, it makes me want to be better at drawing near to him for other things.




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