Rebuking the fever

Posted on July 11, 2011 by Jessica Nipp Hacker

“After leaving the synagogue [Jesus] entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. Then Jesus stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.  Immediately she got up and began to serve them.  As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them.”   ~Luke 4:38-40

Looking for a way to begin a devotional or educational activity about the ELCA Malaria Campaign? One of our favorite Bible stories is the story of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law, whose most prominent symptom looks achingly familiar: a high fever that probably meant malaria. Which gives us… a story of Jesus curing malaria!

There are wonderful insights to be gained from this brief passage. Recently I heard The Rev. Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl, coordinator of the ELCA Malaria Campaign, give a devotion based on this story. I remember her passion as she noted that this vignette takes place at the setting of the sun. In Jewish tradition, the old day ends and the new day begins at sunset.

We, too, are coming to the end of a day– the end of the day that sees a child die of malaria every 45 seconds. The end of the day that allows pregnant or immuno-compromised people to die of a preventable and treatable disease.  The end of a day where the tiny parasite wins. We’re entering a new day– a day in which, together with our partners in Africa and all over the globe, we can overcome malaria.

Rebuke the fever! (photo: ACT alliance)

Like Jesus, we see healing as a vocation– a call from our creator to heal all of God’s people.  A call to work together with our companions in Africa to “rebuke the fever.”

~ Jessica Nipp, ELCA Malaria Campaign

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