Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them. (Mark 1:29-31)
It’s a quaint little story that carved another notch in the stock of Jesus’ ministry. We would like to imagine that the scene was calm and that people in the room were quiet and hopeful. Kind of like the mood beside the bed of a hospitalized loved one.
But it wasn’t like that at all, for immediately before this, Jesus had been at war… in the church!
He had been teaching His well-prepared Sunday School lesson and like a good teacher, the Lord was engaging, putting to shame the over-educated scribes. Listeners were hanging onto every word. Then all hell broke loose.
It went something like this: A demon-possessed man screamed at Jesus and argued for the right of wickedness to coexist with holiness. Unswayed by this devilish diversion, Jesus rolled up His sleeves and went to battle. He commanded the demon to come out of him. And with a little kicking and fussing, it did.
Right after this happened, Jesus and His Sunday School class went to Peter’s home where Peter’s mother-in-law lay at death’s door. That’s where we’d like to think that the mood was reticent and grim. But not so, for churchgoers were still talking loudly about the Sunday School lesson and the dearly departed demon.
With this holy buzz in the air, someone reported the urgency of mom’s condition. Without hesitating, Jesus went to work, again.
The weary Savior could have told Andrew or James or John, or even Peter, to simply go into the woman’s room, take her by the hand, and lift her up to healing. But He did it Himself. The battle now was not violent and fearsome as it was a few minutes prior. It was compassionate and gentle. Godly authority tackles demons and soothes fevers, sometimes at the same time.
Leaders are not afraid to engage tough issues and hopeless circumstances. They sweat and tire and get dirty. They wrestle with spiritual wickedness in high places and hurting people in the lowness of life. But at the end of the day, true leaders still have a gentle touch and soft words… and fierce hearts.
People are glad when teachers like this lead the church.
People are glad when leaders like this enter the room.