After Jesus had left the synagogue he went to the home of Simon Peter and his brother Andrew. There he was told that Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Jesus went to her and healed her and the sickness left her and she arose and served them.
There are a couple of interesting things in this first section of this scripture. First we see that Peter (also known as Cephas) was married. Elsewhere we also find evidence of this as Paul stated, “Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?” (1 Corinthians 9:5) Over the years there have been churches and cults that have promoted celibacy, especially amongst the ministers. And yet we see that many of the apostles and elders of the early church were married and they had been specifically selected for their roles in the church by the Lord himself. Thus the whole idea of a need for celibacy in the ministry falls apart.
Then we see the compassion of the Lord in healing Peter’s mother-in-law. After this many sick and demon possessed people were brought to him and he healed them all. This is an important event. Apart from the compassion he showed the people, these healings testified to the words and the works of the Lord. One of the key reasons for the healings the Lord did and many of the other signs and wonders were for confirming the words of the gospel. This was also shown at the end of Mark when he sent out the disciples to spread the gospel. Mark wrote, “And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.” (Mark 16:20)
Jesus said that even if they were struggling to believe, they should believe in the works he was doing. “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.” (John 14:11) The works bore testimony to the words of the gospel and the truth he was teaching. Even the people among the Jews recognised that they should listen to him, for some said that he must be demon possessed, but others responded saying, “Others said, “These are not the sayings of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” (John 10:21) They recognised no ordinary person, and especially one who is demon possessed could do the works he did. Thus they recognised that his words should be listened to for the works and signs he did confirmed the message.
This is the most important aspect of the signs and wonders that the Lord did. There are some in the church today who seek signs and wonders, but they miss the point as to what they are all about. The miraculous healings and other signs that Jesus, and later the apostles did, were not done simply for sake of the works themselves. They were not done for the purpose of promotion but to testify to and confirm the words of the truth.
Desiring the miraculous gifts is not a bad thing but it must be aligned to the truth. I do not believe the Lord through the Holy Spirit will give out the authority to do miracles to any person, minister or church that is not teaching the truth. The key is to first seek and find the truth and then the Lord will operate the gifts in accordance with the needs to spread the gospel. There is I believe a time coming when these gifts will be highly visible, but that time is not yet. Until then miracles will be done and are done on the basis of prayer and requests of the Lord for he has not left us desolate. But the widespread use of the power and authority to do the types of miracles and gifts we saw when the Lord and the apostles operated their ministry has not yet been given to the church or ministers today.