“When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him” (Matthew 8:14–15).
Through the centuries, most male Jews have displayed much preju-dice toward women, as evidenced by the old prayer, “Lord, I thank Thee that I was not born a slave, a Gentile, or a woman.” But here Jesus, just as with the leper and the Gentile centurion, shows mercy and compassion to an outsider—a woman—someone not favored by the Jewish establishment. He cuts through the unscriptural attitude of proud Jewish men to demonstrate again that physical health, race, status, or a person’s sex gained no advantage with Him.
When Jesus arrived at Peter’s home with some of the disciples, Peter’s mother-in-law was ill, and Mark adds, “Immediately they spoke to Jesus about her” (Mark 1:30). Luke the physician notes that she had “a high fever” (Luke 4:38), though none of the narratives says what caused her illness. That the fever was high suggests she was seriously ill and maybe in danger of death.
Christ once again responded without delay and healed Peter’s mother-in-law immediately. She was not only a woman but also a Jew, which meant that although the Lord had warned the Jews about presuming upon salvation, He had not completely forsaken them, as ministry to Peter’s relative powerfully showed. The fact that salvation was available to faithful Gentiles did not mean it was now unavailable to faithful Jews. Paul later wrote, “God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. . . . In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice” (Rom. 11:2, 5).
Among all religions, none has a higher view of women than does Christianity. And yet, it’s fair to ask ourselves if chauvinism is present within our hearts. Christ honored women. So should we.
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008.