Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 4 Study Notes
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 4 Study # 1 November 26, 2006 Lincolnton, NC
38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.
39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.
1901 ASV Translation:
38 And he rose up from the synagogue, and entered into the house of Simon. And Simon's wife's mother was holden with a great fever; and they besought him for her.
39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she rose up and ministered unto them.
I. Luke's Next Account.
A. First, the words "taken with/holden with" and "rebuked" are "hold over words" from the previous story -- indicating a deliberate link.
1. The demoniac "had" a spirit of an unclean demon; the mother-in-law "was had" by a significant fever.
2. Jesus "rebuked" the demon and He "rebuked" the fever.
3. This "links" the realm of the demoniac with the realm of the fever as subjects of the "authority" of Jesus.
B. Second, the event opens and closes with "having arisen...."
C. Third, on a scale of relative impressiveness, healing a fever does not seem to rate very high...bringing a question into play: Why did Luke record this?
II. The Rebuking of a Great Fever.
A. The flow of the record...
1. Jesus, having arisen from the synagogue...
a. The same terminology is used of Jesus' departure from the synagogue and the mother-in-law's departure from her bed.
b. This constitutes a deliberate set of "brackets" around the story.
2. ...entered into Simon's house.
a. This is the first mention of a "Simon", yet Luke's record seems to "assume" that he is a known quantity. This implies that Luke knew Theophilus would be able to "follow" his story line because he was sufficiently familiar with Peter to know that he was Simon. Luke does not follow Mark's pattern wherein the call of certain men to be disciples was included in the narrative early so that there was a frame of reference for the reader.
b. "Simon" is the New Testament equivalent of "Simeon", which first appears in Genesis 29:33 where Leah uses it to name her second son "because Yahweh hath heard that I [am] hated." In that context, both Reuben and Simeon have the distinction of being given names because of their mother's "affliction" of being unloved by her husband. She is described as a woman who thinks that her husband's "love" can be procured by her "performance" in bearing sons. She is also described as one who believes that Yahweh is "looking" (Reuben) and "hearing" (Simeon) as One Who shares her notion that Jacob will be drawn to her by reason of her sons. In Matthew's record of this event, he calls Simon "Peter" as one whom he had introduced earlier as "Simon, called Peter...." Mark, on the other hand, calls him "Simon" as the brother of Andrew whom He had called from their nets just a few verses earlier.
c. Also this is Luke's first actual use of the word "house" in his record.
3. Simon's mother-in-law was being held by a "great fever".
a. "Mother-in-law" is used 6 times in the New Testament and 3 of those uses refer to this event and the other three are in the same context of a "daughter-in-law" being set at variance with her "mother-in-law" over Jesus [as in Luke 12:53].
b. Neither the "wife", nor her "mother", are identified by name. The woman gets her "identity" by her linkage to Simon.
c. The "problem" is that the woman is apparently in pretty serious condition. This raises the "oddity" of Jesus going to Simon's house after synagogue. When a family member is gravely ill, the last thing a wife is going to want to see is her husband bringing a bunch of men over for the mid-day meal. This is an issue as the final comment indicates.
1) Luke, being a physician, would naturally be interested in the "problem".
a) The "taken by a great fever" uses a verb that signals "being mobbed" (Luke 8:45) in the sense of being completely brought under the power of a matter, persons, things, etc. . Luke is the majority user (9 of 12 uses are in Luke/Acts).
b) The "fever" issue is also significant as Acts 28:8 indicates.
2) He alone mentions that it is a "great" fever. Four of the six uses of "fever" in the New Testament are within the records of this event. The details of the record vary somewhat, but Luke is the only one who "magnifies" the seriousness of the "fever" by adding the descriptor "great".
4. "They" asked Him concerning her.
a. Whoever the "they" are, they remain unidentified.
b. The word "besought" often merely means "to ask a question", though the various contexts add other issues into the narrative mix.
c. The word "for" is pretty typical with "genitives" and carries the idea of "surrounding" a matter, person, or thing [see Robertson's grammar].
d. The "authority" issue hovers as a hold-over from the events in the synagogue and it is highly likely that Jesus had as much to do with going to Simon's house as Simon did.
e. In neither the exorcism, nor this healing, is any sense given that the "victim" took an active part in his/her deliverance. There is no focus upon "faith": there is only a focus upon Jesus addressing a significant problem.
5. And He, having stood above/over her...
a. Luke, alone, specifies that Jesus "stood over her" [using a word that Luke captured (18 of 21 uses are his)] (Matthew says, "He touched her hand"; Mark says, "He took her by the hand and lifted her up...").
b. Luke's focus is still upon the "authority" of Jesus which needs no "touch" or other element.
6. ...rebuked the fever [just as He had "rebuked" the demon]...
7. And it left her.
8. And instantly she, having arisen...
9. ...ministered to them [became a "deaconess"]. Luke 22:27 clearly establishes this "ministry" thesis as a fundamental aspect of Jesus' "identity".
III. The Themes Are Profound.
A. Jesus arises and ministers -- the mother-in-law arises and ministers.
B. The "problem" is that people are "taken with" problems -- demons and diseases.
C. The solution is the "authority" of Jesus.
D. Those who receive the solution become like Him in "ministry".