Forty-two years ago, Carla and I exchanged marriage vows. I said, “I do.” She said, “I do.” Presto! My life was forever changed. I got a wife... and a mother-in-law!
I’m sure you’ve heard all the mother-in-law jokes, but ... no joke ... Fannie B. was the best. That’s right. Nobody ever called her Fannie... She made sure of that. It was always her first name and middle initial. Fannie B.!
Carla is a great pastor’s wife because she learned from the best. (My daughters can say the same...) Fannie B. was five-foot four with grey hair, hospitable, a servant and leader, caring and kind.
Fannie B. was a Bible-scholar. I’ve often referred to her as my seminary professor. I’m so grateful for the hours that she spent mentoring and coaching this young preacher-boy. She shared books from her library and challenged me to be better.
She was a bold witness for Christ, consistent and compassionate in her representation of her Lord and Savior. While standing in the check-out line at the grocery store, she would naturally and politely strike-up a conversation with someone, and before you knew it, she was talking about Jesus.
She was among the most influential people in my life. When she died in 1989, I lost a mentor, a friend, and a wonderful mother-in-law.
Peter had a mother-in-law. We learn this from Matthew 8:14-15, Mark 1:29-31, and Luke 4:38-39. Very early in Jesus’ public ministry, the Lord travelled with the four fishermen to Capernaum on the northwestern shores of Galilee where they visited the synagogue and healed a demon-possessed man (Mark 1:21-28). Afterward, they retreated to Peter’s home and learned about his mother-in-law’s illness. Dr. Luke reported that she was “suffering from a high fever” (Luke 4:38). The original language implies that she was critically ill and maybe nearing death.
Mark wrote: “As soon as they left the synagogue, they went into Simon and Andrew’s house with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was lying in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. So he went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she began to serve them” (Mark 1:29–31).
The story is so short. There are so few details. One minute she was knocking of death’s door, then Jesus helped her up, and she was completely healed. Immediately, she began to serve Jesus and his entourage of disciples.
She was even well enough to serve the swelling crowds. A bit later, “when the sun was setting, all those who had anyone sick with various diseases brought them to him. As he laid his hands on each one of them, he healed them. Also, demons were coming out of many, shouting and saying, ‘You are the Son of God!’ ” (Luke 4:40–41).
Though short on details, the moment was memorable enough that all three Synoptic Gospels record the story. After all, we’re talking about Peter and his family. Jesus loved about Peter, and he cared about Peter’s family.
Jesus cares about you and your bunch too! Invite Him home...
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.