All the three Synoptic gospels describe about the miraculous healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. But it is really a thought-provoking question why nothing is mentioned about the father-in-law of Peter. Can there be any reason behind this? Or does it bring out any message?
The healing incidence of Peter’s mother-in-law
Luke says in his gospel, “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. And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her; and immediately she rose and served them.” (Luke 4:38-39) Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke narrate this healing incidence in different ways. But they do not mention about Peter’s Father-in-law. Was it left out purposely or does it convey any message?
Visit to Peter’s house in Capernaum
A team was visiting the house of Peter in Capernaum. They have a church built on the spot of Peter’s house. A guide was explaining details of the places they were visiting. Tradition says that Peter’s house was only about 100 yards from the synagogue from where Jesus and his disciples came to see Peter’s mother-in-law.
While the guide was explaining about the miracle that cured Peter’s mother-in-law, an old lady from the visiting group asked him, “Was Peter’s father-in-law also was here in this house?” An interesting question, of course! The group began to suggest their own comments on why nothing is mentioned about Peter’s mother-in-law. But the guide did not allow the discussion go on. He just said, “They didn’t mention anything about Peter’s father-in-law because he was not sick!” His mother-in-law was mentioned because she was seriously ill.
Necessity to mention
Lazar is mentioned in the gospel because he was dead and was brought back to life miraculously. A fishing scene is described because the whole night the disciples couldn’t catch a single fish in spite of their hard work, and they could have a haul of fish miraculously at the word of Jesus. The multiplication of bread is mentioned because it occurred when people were following Jesus even in a deserted place, listening to Jesus for a very long time and they were very tired.
Where does the divine power intervene?
Only where there is need God intervenes. When all hope is lost and you turn to God as the only hope, there you can meet God. Illness, failure, utter hopelessness, a dejected situation in helplessness, etc. make you cry to the intervention of God.
The message of this passage
Only Peter’s mother-in-law is mentioned in the gospels because she was ill and needed the help of Jesus. This is an assurance of God’s help to the needy. This is to point out that problems come not to fill us with fear or sorrow or to stand baffled at the situation. Every problem is an occasion to have more confidence in Heavenly Father and turn to Him gratefully and more affectionately.