Feb 7, 2021
...“[Jesus] came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. The word for ‘she began to serve them,’ is significant.
The word is more than just a washing the dishes and putting food on the table. This much more than an un-liberated woman serving men; more than a doing her part, or gratitude, or even love for your children and children-in-law. She began to serve in a way that was ministry. The word used here is diakonei. It is the root for our English word deacon. And it is used in such way to suggest that this was not just a one time occurrence, but a continuous action that would continue on (present tense). Simon’s mother-in-law’s response to Christ’s grace was to be a diakono, to begin to serve as if her service was ministry. To be clear, the woman who is Simon’s mother-in-law is considered by many scholars to be Christ’s first deacon.
Later in Mark (10:45) we hear that this service, this diakonei, characterizes Christ’s own ministry. And we will see diakonei again in 15:41 when it is used at the cross to reflect upon and describe how the women followed and served Jesus during his ministry. In Mark’s Gospel, we have sort of book ends of diakonei, of service, and in the middle the verse from 10:45: “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve...” In this way, Simon’s mother-in-law truly is a model for us of what it means to be a disciple. She experienced God’s grace when Christ touched her life and immediately she began to serve.
We know the perils and underbelly of our world and our lives are real. I am here to remind you this morning that the grace of God is all the more real. And I hope to God that you know it and experience it in your own life. And when we experience grace, I hope like Simon Peter’s mother-in-law we respond to God’s grace and serve. I hope we take our “one wild and precious life” let it be formed, and transformed and conformed to Christ’s ministry of diakonei, service.