e) The Healing of Peter᾿s Mother-in-law (Lk 4:38-39)

Translation from the book:

Στεργίου Ν. Σάκκου, ρμηνεία στό κατά Λουκν Εαγγέλιο, τόμ. Α΄, 

ἐκδ. «ΧΡΙΣΤΙΑΝΙΚΗ ΕΛΠΙΣ» ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΗ ΑΔΕΛΦΟΤΗΤΑ, Θεσ/νίκη 2008, σσ. 197-200

(Stergios N. Sakkos [Read CV]A Commentary on the Gospel according to St. Lukevol. A', pp. 197-200)


4,38. Ἀναστὰς δὲ ἐκ τῆς συναγωγῆς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν Σίμωνος. Πενθερὰ δὲ τοῦ Σίμωνος ἦν συνεχομένη πυρετῷ μεγάλῳ, καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτὸν περὶ αὐτῆς.
4:38 And he arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they besought him for her.

  After the synagogue the Lord “entered Simon’s house”, went into Peter's house. He did not avoid visits to the houses of the disciples; St Chrysostom notes “was not ashamed to enter their huts”. Commenting on the event, the holy Father points out that Jesus honored the disciples by his visit. He moved their hearts and made them more sensitive. Moreover, he taught to all of us a lesson of humility, simplicity and tolerance.
  Peter came from Bethsaida in Galilee, an insignificant town on the east bank of the Jordan, near the point where the river emptied in the Lake Gennesaret. Before his call to the apostolic office, he had made a family of his own and lived in the neighbouring city of Capernaum with his brother Andrew (see Mk 1:29).
  “Simon” is the Hellenized form of the Hebrew "Simeon" (Acts 15:14). At that time the Greek language was very widespread in Palestine. Most of the Jews spoke Greek in addition to their mother tongue. That is why they also took Greek names (e.g., Philippos, Andreas) or Hellenized their Hebrew names (e.g. Jacob-Iakovos, Matatha-Mattheos, Mariam-Maria, Saul-Savlos). Simeon was called by the Lord "Cephas", a Hebrew word meaning Peter i.e., rock (see Mt 16:18). So, the Hebrew "Simeon the Cephas" is in Greek "Simon the Peter" (see Mt 10:2;16,17-18; Jn 1:41-43; 2 Pet 1:1).
  The expression “was ill with a high fever” is a medical term. It is found in the writings of the physicians Hippocrates and Galen. Luke the physician also uses it in the Acts of the Apostles (see 28:8). The high fever determines the severity of the illness. Galen makes a clear distinction between "high" and "low" fevers. Luke's observation that the woman suffered from a high fever indicates that her condition was serious, posing a risk of death.
  It is not mentioned who “besought him for her”, who begged the Lord for her healing. Apparently, her family and the disciples who were present - James and John, the sons of Zebedee, fellow countrymen and partners of Peter (see Mk 1:29) - begged Christ to heal her. When a sick person could not approach the Lord because of his sickness or even because of his ignorance or age, if he was not unbelieving, the Lord accepted for his sake the pleas of others. He accepted, for example, the request of a woman of Canaan for the healing of her daughter (see Mt 15:21-28).
  St Chrysostom praises Peter's "modesty". While his mother-in-law had a high fever, he did not hurry to take Jesus home, but waited to complete his teaching and heal everyone else first. His attitude showed his respect for the Master and his kindness; he did not put his own needs before those of others.

4,39. Καὶ ἐπιστὰς ἐπάνω αὐτῆς ἐπετίμησε τῷ πυρετῷ, καὶ ἀφῆκεν αὐτήν· παραχρῆμα δὲ ἀναστᾶσα διηκόνει αὐτοῖς.
4:39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her; and immediately she rose and served them.

 therapeia Jesus approached the sick woman, not to make a diagnosis, but to show his affection. The fever was rebuked and subdued, as the demon was rebuked before (see v. 35). Matthew (see 8:15) and Mark (see 1:31) note that the Lord also touched the hand of the sick woman (see comments on v. 40).
  The sick woman was healed “immediately”. In fact, “she rose and served them”. This shows that Jesus healed her right away and perfectly, so that no time was needed for recovery. St. Theophylact observes "Not only does he heal her of the disease, but he also gives her strength and power to serve them".


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