As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
What do you notice in this text? How does the story strike you? What feelings, images, sounds, other stories, or music pop into your head? Can you get a sense of Jesus’ movement, mood, plans, vibe? What is he up to?
Why do you think Jesus and the disciples went to Peter’s house? Some suggest it was because he had one of the bigger houses in town. Others think perhaps location, location, location. Maybe Peter had mentioned his mother in law already? We haven’t heard about his wife, of course….nor will we! Where is she in all this? Jesus is going to use Peter’s house in Capernaum as a sort of home-base for the next stage of his ministry–lots of things are about to happen here. How would you react if you were living in that town?
Peter’s house quickly became known as a holy site, and was eventually converted into a church. it was enlarged and changed several times, but in the picture of the site below you can get a little bit of a sense of what kind of place we’re talking about. Having seen it, can you better imagine this story?
Why do you think Jesus goes off by himself to pray? He obviously heard something from God during that conversation–which tells us he was listening at least as much as he was talking–because he came down all ready to leave town and head out on the mission. When you pray, do you listen as much as you talk? What would help you learn to pray in a way that would nurture a real relationship (not just an asking-but-not-getting-answers one) with God?
What do you think is the good news for RCLPC in this story? What is the challenge for RCLPC? How do you hear God calling, and how will you respond?