An Act of Divine Healing -- By: Charles C. Ryrie

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 113:452 (Oct 1956)
Article: An Act of Divine Healing
Author: Charles C. Ryrie


An Act of Divine Healing

Charles C. Ryrie

For some reason mothers-in-law seem to be notoriously infamous. However, in the two instances in the Bible where they are mentioned, just the opposite is true. In the Old Testament the fragrance of Naomi’s character permeates the Book of Ruth, while Peter’s mother-in-law was the subject of one of our Lord’s miracles (Matt 8:14–16; Mark 1:28–30; Luke 4:38–39).

The setting of this second incident was Peter’s house in Capernaum and the occasion was the first-century equivalent of Sunday dinner. But on that Sabbath day when the Lord and Peter returned from the synagogue (where He had cast out the demon) no sumptuous meal awaited them. Jewish custom made the Sabbath, not only a day of rest but also a day of joy, not the least reason for which was the festive meal. Christians are inclined to call to mind only the thirty-nine kinds of work forbidden on the Sabbath by the Mishna and thus to forget the fact that it was expected to be a day of delight (cf. Isa 58:13 and Prov 10:22, which were applied to the Sabbath; also cf. Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, II, 52). Three meals of the choicest available food were prescribed for it along with regulations as to how that food could be kept warm, since no fire could be kindled on the Sabbath (Exod 35:3; cf. Sabbath, VII, 2; Luke 14:1, which was one of these Sabbath meals).

Sickness had overtaken one member of that household, an illness which became the occasion for another of the Master’s miracles as well as an opportunity to learn from this mother-in-law and her experience

A Lesson about Sickness

Unfortunately, the people of God are not exempt in this life from illness, and until we are free from the very

presence of sin it shall be so. The Scriptures assign a number of reasons why people become sick. Sometimes, as in the case of Lazarus, sickness comes solely for the purpose of glorifying God (John 11:4). God is glorified when His character is displayed, and certainly God was displayed in Christ’s raising of Lazarus from the dead. Difficult as it may be for us to understand, it is nevertheless true that there are times when the glory of God is best seen through the medium of sickness, suffering, and even death. Undoubtedly, one of the chief r...

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