Before starting this study, take a moment to read Mark 1:29-34. Although I’ll primarily be using the NIV version for the preparation of this study, you can read from whichever version you prefer.

Mark 1:29-34 picks up where the previous passage left off. After teaching in the synagogue and casting out a demon from a man, Jesus and his disciples went to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law had a fever and the men told Jesus about her illness. When Jesus took her by the hand, she was instantly healed.

Word had probably spread about what Jesus did in both the synagogue and Simon and Andrew’s home because the whole town gathered at the door to get help from Jesus. Jesus heals people with various diseases and drove out many demons.

Healing Simon’s Mother-in-Law

I’ve often heard this passage told with a touch of humor to it. Most often, my female friends will laugh about how after being healed, Simon’s mother-in-law instantly went to work waiting on them. The more cynical might even add that the men probably healed her for that reason.

However, the text doesn’t say that the men wanted someone to serve them. What it does say is that when she was healed, she began to wait on them.

Throughout Scripture, God’s people respond to God’s work with service. When God has done something good for us, it’s only natural that we would want to give ourselves in return.

Casting Out Demons

As I mentioned in the study of the previous passage, Mark does not equate illness and casting out demons. Here we see several spots where healing and driving out demons are described as two separate things.

The fascinating part of this passage is the last verse, which says that Jesus didn’t allow the demons to speak because they knew who he was. This phrasing can be a little baffling and has led to a lot of speculation since Mark wrote his gospel.

While some suggest some sort of “Messianic secret,” where Jesus had to covertly do his work as God’s Son, the text doesn’t really support this. Ultimately, we see in these first few chapters that Jesus is trying not to draw too much attention to himself. Demons speaking would only make things even more of a spectacle.


When Simon’s mother-in-law is healed, she immediately serves Jesus and his disciples. Jesus will spend a lot more time teaching his disciples about what it means to live in service to others. However, this woman grasps that message without being told.

Unfortunately, we tend to undervalue our health and the ways it enables us to serve others. I spent nearly two years in severe pain daily due to debilitating endometriosis. After a life-changing surgery, I’ve now enjoyed two and a half years with almost no pain.

The person I am today is significantly different than the person I was five years ago. While there are certainly days I forget the pain I endured for years, there are times I look back and appreciate the capacity I have to do what God has called me to do. In some ways, it’s easier for me to serve knowing how much God has done for me.

David E. Garland writes, “This miracle reveals that God heals so that one may better serve.” If you’ve experienced healing (whether recovery from a fever, like Simon’s mother-in-law, or recovery from a bigger illness), listen to God’s voice directing you to your next mission field.