The Gospels: Mark 1:29-34 – A Lesson About Asking

Even Jesus needed a rest. The synagogue let out in time for the Sabbath meal at noon, and Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew to eat. But even in a private setting, he was ready to help those who asked him. This wasn’t a “big” miracle in terms of crowds and renown. It was a private, personal, family need. The household had come to know Jesus as one who cares and helps, so they made it a point to tell him about Simon’s mother-in-law having a fever.

man praying

In the Psalms, God gives examples of people taking personal fears and concerns to him.

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

Take it to the Lord

We don’t know whether Jesus knew about Simon’s mother-in-law being sick before they told him. But we do know this: as soon as they told Jesus about her, he went to her and healed her.

That sounds like a good case for telling Jesus about things. Yes, there is no question that Jesus already knows what our needs are, but he wants us to learn to ask him to help us with them. The same goes for the needs of others. Jesus already knows what their needs are. But he wants us, his people who have his Spirit in us, to ask him to help. Simon’s mother didn’t ask Jesus to come to her; others did.

Why should we go through the traumas and crises of life alone? In the Psalms, God gives us examples of his people taking personal fears and concerns to him. When we lay out our problems before God, we know we have been listened to, and we know we are in the hands of someone who will do for us what is right and good.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

Asking for help

When we ask Jesus to help, it shows certain things about us:

  • It shows that we know Jesus is the right one to ask.
  • It shows that we trust Jesus.
  • It shows that we care about the problems that Jesus cares about.
  • It shows that our hope is in Jesus.
  • It shows that our lives revolve around Jesus.
  • It shows that we belong to Jesus.

When we ask Jesus to help, it does certain things to us:

  • It reminds us of Jesus’ power.
  • It reminds us of Jesus’ love.
  • It reminds us that Jesus is in charge of everything.
  • It reminds us that Jesus knows our needs.
  • It reminds us that Jesus wants to help us.
  • It reminds us that Jesus listens to us.
  • It reminds us that Jesus does what is right and good for us.

When answers come

As soon as Jesus healed her, Simon’s mother-in-law got up and started serving others. If we were to draw a principle from this, it would be that just as Peter’s mother-in-law used the strength Jesus gave her to do good things for others, so we should devote what Jesus gives us to doing good for others. She did what she could do, and we should do what we can do. It all amounts to the same thing — taking care of each other.

Jesus heals a blind man
Jesus didn’t ask them 40 questions before he healed them. He didn’t get out the sacred scales and weigh their sins against their good deeds. He just healed them. That’s how he is.

Anyone can ask

After sunset the crowds arrived. The news had spread about how Jesus had cast out the demon, so the town brought their sick and demon-possessed to Simon’s door, and Jesus healed them.

Jesus is good regardless of who asks. It’s hard to imagine that everyone in town that night was a holy, righteous haloed saint.

Capernaum was like other towns, full of regular people who were regular sinners from every walk of life. But they came anyway, sins and all, and bathed in the glory of the Son of God. Jesus didn’t ask them forty questions before he healed them. He didn’t get out the sacred scales and weigh their sins against their good deeds. He just healed them. That’s how he is.

Redeemer of his creation. He created in love and he redeems in love. He wants everyone to come to him, because in him is the only place healing and life truly exist. That evening in Galilee, the people of Capernaum had a taste in the here-and-now of the kingdom age to come.

Authority to help

When the Jewish exorcists and healers tried to cast out demons or heal fevers, they followed prescribed magic-like rituals, some of which are laid down in the Talmud. For example, according to William Barclay: “The Talmud actually lays down the method of dealing with it [a burning fever like that of Simon’s mother-in-law]. A knife wholly made of iron was tied by a braid of hair to a thorn bush. On successive days there was repeated, first, Exodus 3:2-3; second, Exodus 3:4; and finally Exodus 3:5. Then a certain magical formula was pronounced, and thus the cure was supposed to be achieved.”

Jesus amazed everyone because he didn’t use any kind of ritual or incantation at all. He simply ordered demons to leave on his own authority, and they left. He simply told people to rise and walk, or touched their leprous skin, or took their hand and lifted them up and they were healed. His authority was and is the authority of the Maker and Ruler of all things.

That’s why you can bring your problems to him. That’s why you can trust him to do for you what is right and good. What’s eating away at you right now? Why not take it to Jesus and ask him to help you?


  1. Does Jesus perform only large miracles, or will he help you in small things?
  2. What do you need to tell Jesus about?

For further reading:

Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, by Richard Foster

Author: J. Michael Feazell, 2003, 2012

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