1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Then he got up and went straight from the synagogue to the house of Simon and Andrew, accompanied by James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a high fever, and they lost no time in telling Jesus about her. He went up to her, took her hand and helped her to her feet. The fever left her, and she began to see to their needs. Phillips
This passage is information packed. We see first that Jesus stood up. Remember that rabbis sat while teaching as the listeners stood. Minor point. More important is that Jesus left the synagogue straight away. He had just kicked the demon out of a man, and then Jesus ran away. Jesus does not need to hang around and accept the praise for the miracle.
Dwight L. Moody in the late Nineteenth Century did the same thing. When someone praised his preaching, Moody turned away. Praise God, not Moody; not even Jesus it seems.
The village of Capernaum was small but prosperous because of the wealth of fish in the lake. The walk from the synagogue to the fishermen’s home could not have been long. But notice that Jesus is in the lead; he knew his way because he and the four disciples had been staying in the house. Clearly, Mark tells us that Jesus and the disciples went to Capernaum and when Sabbat came, they went to the synagogue. They were living in the house anywhere from one to six days before the synagogue event.
They were headed for Simon’s house, but the Zebedee boys tagged along. Not really, they were all disciples and dedicated to always staying with their new master. Everyone knew what was required of a disciple of a rabbi. All five of them were in the house with Simon’s family, his wife’s mother, and possibly Andrew’s family as well. This was not a small house nor was their fishing business poor. They were most likely well-to-do with servants in the house and hired hands manning the boats. We know the house was headquarters for the ministry for three years.
While I’m upsetting your notions of poor fishermen, Jesus from age 12 to 30 (18 years) likely spent the time as a disciple of a rabbi rather than making chairs in the wood shop. Carpenters of the day worked in both wood and stone. Sepphoris, just five miles from Nazareth was on a huge building spree in the early part of the century and Joseph most likely worked there a great deal. He would have taken all his sons with him when they were old enough—8-10. That would have been Jesus, James, Joseph, Judas—called Jude for obvious reasons, and Simon; five boys. However, at age 13 Jesus would have been eligible for disciple hood. Considering his performance in the Temple the year before I don’t see Mary passing up the chance for the Son of God to get the best education possible. It was clear to both Mary and Joseph that Jesus was not going to earn a living as a carpenter.
Back to Simon’s house. His mother-in-law was ill, so Jesus went to her room—a no-no—touched her hand, helped her stand, and she was well. Mark says, she began to see to their needs. Again, that likely meant directing the servants. In case you are wondering why she seems to be in charge, she was the mother of Simon’s wife, so she ruled the house.
Late that evening, after sunset, they kept bringing to him all who were sick or troubled by evil spirits. The whole population of the town gathered round the doorway. And he healed great numbers of people who were suffering from various forms of disease. In many cases he expelled evil spirits; but he would not allow them to say a word, for they knew perfectly well who he was. Phillips
After sunset is important. Sabbat—our Saturday—began at sundown on our Friday. Jesus and the four disciples would have risen about sunup to go to the synagogue and would have returned near mid-day. People would have respected the Sabbat by not going to the house before sundown. But at sundown, look out.
It is odd that Jesus cast out the demon in the synagogue on Sabbat, yet no one remarked or complained as generally happened with such Sabbat miracles. The street outside the door was packed with everyone from town. People wanted to be healed and others wanted to see the healings. This was the biggest event in the entire history of Capernaum, and no one wanted to miss it. It there had been a hospital there in those days, they would have had to close for lack of business.
Mark does not tell us how long this lasted, nor does he tell us what the disciples were doing. Were they standing with their jaws on their chests, wondering ‘What have we gotten into?’
Then, in the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a deserted place, and there he prayed. Simon and his companions went in search of him, and when they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” “Then we will go somewhere else, to the neighbouring towns,” he replied, “so that I may give my message there too—that is why I have come.” Phillips
While the Gospels do not mention it often, going off to pray seems to have been a pattern for Jesus. At least after a particularly hard day. He cast out a demon and healed a sick woman before lunch and then spent perhaps several hours healing people before bedtime. He was human, that had to have drained him. Prayer refilled his tank.
Also consider that he went alone to pray. We all need to take alone time with God. And we need to make sure that 95% of that time is spent listening to God. That may be the hardest thing for us to do.
What did God tell Jesus? How about, ‘Simon is coming, so it is time to move on.’ And Jesus said, Then we will go somewhere else, to the neighbouring towns,” he replied, “so that I may give my message there too—that is why I have come.
As was so often the case, the people were impressed with healing and they wanted to see more, like we are after a spectacular athletic play. But Jesus did healings as a sign that he was the Messiah, not as the main event. Why had he come? To bring the Good News.
What is the Good News? God loves you.
That fact brought to my mind the old closing of the original Micky Mouse Club show from the mid ‘50s, (one I might add I never saw because we did not have TV). “See ya real soon, Why? Because we like you.” Jimmie Dodd wrote all the music and most of the sketches. Disney had little to do with the show, except to pay for it. Dodd was deeply religious and was a behind-the-scenes mentor to the kids. He seemed to take the Good News to heart in that familiar sign off. ‘Why? Because God loves you.’
Be righteous and do good.