1. Read the parallel accounts at Mark 1:29-34 and Luke 4:38-41. These three Synoptic accounts supplement and corroborate each other.
2. Epiphany I manifested Jesus in the preaching of the Baptist (Matthew 3:11-12). Epiphany II manifested Jesus as the One Who seeks and saves the lost (Luke 19:1-10). Epiphany III manifests Jesus as the Messiah, the One who took our weaknesses and bore our diseases, those of all people.
3. According to Mark 1:29 Jesus, James, John, Peter and Andrew had just left the synagogue in Capernaum when they entered the house of Peter and Andrew. From this account we know that Peter was married. This is confirmed at I Corinthians 9:5.
4. Jesus healed the sick by a touch because He is the Messiah. It was not the touch of a magician but of Him who is called the Word of God. John 1:1. He is truly God. He can do all things. With him nothing is impossible.
5. Luke 9:39 informs us that Jesus "rebuked" the fever and that she arose immediately and waited on them. This is remarkable. Usually a fever leaves a person gradually, not immediately. Furthermore, the fever leaves the victim quite weak so that he can do very little. In other words, the power of Jesus restored Peter's mother-in-law fully and immediately.
6. At the end of verse 15 the older translations read: "she began to serve them", not "Him." Intense research into old manuscripts during the last 100 years has revealed such variant readings. But in not one instance do variant readings change the meaning of the text. "The Word of the Lord endures forever" says I Peter 1:25 and Isaiah 40:8. We have the very same Bible today as have all previous generations. The Word of God is like God Himself. It does not change.
7. Our text took place in the evening of a Sabbath Day. The Sabbath was over at 6 p.m. (1800 hours.) The Jews could not have a big meal during the Sabbath, 1800 hours Friday to 1800 hours Saturday. Therefore, scholars are of the opinion that, on this occasion, Peter's wife had prepared a big meal for Peter, Andrew, Jesus, James and John. When Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law, she joined Peter's wife in serving the guests. This assumes that Peter's mother-in-law lived with Peter and his wife.
8. Verses 16-17 and the parallel accounts in Mark and Luke briefly describe one of the most amazing accounts in the life of Jesus. When the Sabbath was over (after sunset) the people of Capernaum brought all their demon-possessed and sick people to Jesus. The whole city had gathered at the door, says Mark. He laid His hands on every one of them. He cast out the evil spirits with His Word. He turned no one away.
9. The Word of God created the universe (Genesis 1; Hebrews 11:3; Psalms 33:6-9), forgave sins (Matthew 9:2), drove out evil spirits and healed the sick (our text), is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), and gives the church on earth the power to forgive sins (John 20:21-23). It gives baptism its power (Ephesians 5:26). Also the Lord's Supper (Matthew 26:28).
10. Jesus actually bore our sins (John 1:29) but did so as our Substitute. He was not a sinner. God made Him to be sin in our stead (II Corinthians 5:19) so that we might be righteous. Likewise, Jesus was not actually sick but He took our weaknesses and carried our diseases. He did this as our Substitute. We cannot understand any of this but it is true. We believe it for our salvation. There is no record of Jesus being ill.
11.From this account it is quite clear that people, at Jesus' time, could distinguish the demon-possessed from those who were ill.
12. Luke 4:41 says the demons cried out: "You are the Son of God!" But Jesus would not allow them to speak. There is no truth in Satan. John 8:44. He twists the truth to his own advantage. Therefore, Jesus would not accept the demons' testimony. The devils also believe but tremble. James 2:19. Their faith does not comfort but condemns them.
THEME: Jesus, Our Substitute
When man fell into sin he earned the wages of sin: death, pain, grief, toil and sickness. Read Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 6:23; Romans 9:18- 22; Romans 5:12-14, 18-19. In order to save all men, Jesus was made sin, II Corinthians 5:21. He died for all, II Corinthians 5:15. He was cursed in our stead, Galatians 3:13. And our text says that He took our weaknesses and diseases on Himself. He cares also for our bodies. He will raise us from the dead, John 6:39, 40, 44, 54. Because of sin, all people are cursed in soul and body. Jesus, our Substitute, became a man and suffered, died and rose in our stead. Our text is taken from Isaiah 53 which is quoted or alluded to forty-one times in the New Testament.
I. HE TOOK OUR SINS ON HIMSELF.
Read Isaiah 53:4-6 from which verse 17 in our text is taken. It mentions "we-our-us" ten times! The last verse reads: "The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." How many? ALL. The Baptist said: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." John 1:29. II Corinthians 5:21: "God made Him, Who knew no sin, sin in our stead so that we might be made righteous in Him." Psalm 40 is Messianic (Hebrews 10:5-9). In verse 12 the Messiah says: "My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart fails me." Luther rightly insisted that here Jesus as our Substitute speaks of Himself as a sinner. (Luther's Works, Volume 26, p. 279). Christ was made a curse in our stead to free us from the curse of sin, Galatians 3:13.
II. HE TOOK DEATH UPON HIMSELF.
Read Isaiah 53:7-9. These verses speak of the trial, the crucifixion and the death of Jesus. He died for all, II Corinthians 5:15. God did not will my death. He takes no pleasure in death. Ezekiel 33:11. I earned my death. Romans 6:23. God willed only one death, the death of His Son. Luke 18:31-34.
III. HE TOOK ALL GRIEF UPON HIMSELF
Isaiah 53 says: "He is despised and rejected by men....a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief....Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows....It pleased the Lord to bruise Him. He has put Him to grief." That's why He says at Matthew 11:28: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." That's why Psalm 55:22 says: "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you." That's why I Peter 5:7 says "Cast all your care upon Him for He careth for you."
IV. HE TOOK ALL SICKNESS UPON HIMSELF
Why did Jesus care for Peter's mother-in-law? Why did He drive out evil spirits with His Word? Why did He heal the sick who were brought to Him? Because it was prophesied at Isaiah 53:4: "He took our weaknesses and bore our diseases." Jesus did not heal ALL the sick people of His day. But He never turned anyone away. When a sick or possessed person was brought to Him, He healed that person.
But aren't many Christians still ill? Don't Christians get cancer and even AIDS? Yes. Then, is not our text untrue? NYET. Women still suffer pains at childbirth. The ground still brings forth thorns and thistles. Mankind toils and sweats. Genesis 3. The present age brings suffering. All creation groans. Romans 8:18-22. The Lord chastens those whom He loves. Hebrews 12:6. But my Substitute will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. II Timothy 4:18. The faithful Lord will strengthen you and protect you from all evil. II Thessalonians 3:5. Paul could bear the thorn in his flesh because God's grace was sufficient for him. II Corinthians 12:7-9. Jesus IS mankind's Substitute. He proved it by becoming a man, suffering, dying, rising from the dead, and by going about healing the sick and the possessed.