Life is a marathon. The moment our feet hit the ground, we’re running. Cue the never-ending to-do list of workout routines, Bibles studies, new dinner recipes, work emails, social activities, and family—and don’t forget quiet time with Jesus.
He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him.
It’s not hard for us to imagine how Peter’s mother-in-law must have felt when Jesus and the disciples arrived at the house. It’s our worst nightmare—having a house full of guests and not being able to serve them.
We’re daughters, mothers, sisters, wives. We run hospitals, classrooms, boardrooms. We carry the world on our shoulders—day in and day out—without breaking a sweat because, as everyone loves to remind us, this is what it means to be a woman. So, when we read that when the fever left her “she rose and began to serve him,” we’re not surprised, because we think we get it. It’s what we would do if we were in her situation. It’s all part of the myth: the myth of the Superwoman.
If anyone felt the pressure to be a productive member of society, Peter’s mother-in-law did. All the odds were against her: she was a widow and possibly had very few family members to care for her. As a woman, she was limited and she was vulnerable. And though we don’t care to admit it, we all know that feeling. It makes us feel small. It makes us feel exposed. So we run from it. We hide it. We’ll do anything to convince the world, and our selves, we’re invincible. We’re Superwoman.
Try as she might, Peter’s mother-in-law couldn’t hide her vulnerability. Not anymore. In these two little verses, what we catch is a glimpse of a quick but tender moment wrapped in a seemingly ordinary act of recognition. Jesus saw her and, in a time when men and women had clear and defined boundaries, he reached for her hand. He recognized her weakened state, with all its cultural baggage and, because of his compassion, made her well. So she got up, and we’re told she served Jesus, but everything must have been different now. She wouldn’t be able to hide her weaknesses anymore. Everyone would have known now. She would have to own her vulnerability. Her limitation. She still served, but she could now do so not out of pressure to prove herself, but out of gratitude for the one who noticed a weak and vulnerable woman and did something about it.
And the thing is, Jesus has done the very same for us. God sent Jesus to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. We don’t have to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders, because Jesus has done that for us. So, as we move throughout our days, working and serving, we can do so knowing we have nothing to prove. We don’t have to be Superwoman.
Watch Session One
Jesus Responds to Our Need
Are you still trying to live out of your own strength ? What’s standing in the way of owning your limitations before Jesus and before others?
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