In these verses, we have,
I. A particular account of one miracle that Christ wrought, in the cure of Peter’s wife’s mother, who was ill of a fever. This passage we had before, in Matthew. Observe,
1. When Christ had done that which spread his fame throughout all parts, he did not then sit still, as some think that they may lie in bed when their name is up. No, he continued to do good, for that was it he aimed at, and not his own honour. Nay, those who are in reputation, had need be busy and careful to keep it up.
2. When he came out of the synagogue, where he had taught and healed with a divine authority, yet he conversed familiarly with the poor fishermen that attended him, and did not think it below him. Let the same mind, the same lowly mind, be in us, that was in him.
3. He went into Peter’s house, probably invited thither to such entertainment as a poor fisherman could give him, and he accepted of it. The apostles left all for Christ; so far as that what they had should not hinder them from him, yet not so, but that they might use it for him.
4. He cured his mother-in-law, who was sick. Wherever Christ comes, he comes to do good, and will be sure to pay richly for his entertainment. Observe, How complete the cure was; when the fever left her, it did not, as usual, leave her weak, but the same hand that healed her, strengthened her, so that she was able to minister to them; the cure is in order to that, to fit for action, that we may minister to Christ, and to those that are his for his sake.
II. A general account of many cures he wrought—diseases healed, devils expelled. It was on the evening of the sabbath, when the sun did set, or was set; perhaps many scrupled bringing their sick to him, till the sabbath was over, but their weakness therein was no prejudice to them in applying to Christ. Though he proved it lawful to heal on the sabbath days, yet, if any stumbled at it, they were welcome at another time. Now observe,
1. How numerous the patients were; All the city was gathered at the door, as beggars for a dole. That one cure in the synagogue occasioned this crowding after him. Others speeding well with Christ should quicken us in our enquiries after him. Now the Sun of righteousness rises with healing under his wings; to him shall the gathering of the people be. Observe, How Christ was flocked after in a private house, as well as in the synagogue; wherever he is, there let his servants, his patients, be. And in the evening of the sabbath, when the public worship is over, we must continue our attendance upon Jesus Christ; he healed, as Paul preached, publicly, and from house to house.
2. How powerful the Physician was; he healed all that were brought to him, though ever so many. Nor was it some one particular disease, that Christ set up for the cure of, but he healed those that were sick of divers diseases, for his word was a panpharmacon—a salve for every sore. And that miracle particularly which he wrought in the synagogue, he repeated in the house at night; for he cast out many devils, and suffered not the devils to speak, for he made them know who he was, and that silenced them. Or, He suffered them not to say that they knew him (so it may be read); he would not permit any more of them to say, as they did (Mark 1:24), I know thee, who thou art.
III. His retirement to his private devotion (Mark 1:35); He prayed, prayed alone; to set us an example of secret prayer. Though as God he was prayed to, as man he prayed. Though he was glorifying God, and doing good, in his public work, yet he found time to be alone with his Father; and thus it became him to fulfil all righteousness. Now observe,
1. The time when Christ prayed. (1.) It was in the morning, the morning after the sabbath day. Note, When a sabbath day is over and past, we must not think that we may intermit our devotion till the next sabbath: no, though we go not to the synagogue, we must go to the throne of grace, every day in the week; and the morning after the sabbath particularly, that we may preserve the good impressions of the day. This morning was the morning of the first day of the week, which afterward he sanctified, and made remarkable, by another sort of rising early. (2.) It was early, a great while before day. When others were asleep in their beds, he was praying, as a genuine Son of David, who seeks God early, and directs his prayer in the morning; nay, and at midnight will rise to give thanks. It has been said, The morning is a friend to the Muses—Aurora Musis amica; and it is no less so to the Graces. When our spirits are most fresh and lively, then we should take time for devout exercises. He that is the first and best, ought to have the first and best.
2. The place where he prayed; He departed into a solitary place, either out of town, or some remote garden or out-building. Though he was in no danger of distraction, or of temptation to vain-glory, yet he retired, to set us an example to his own rule, When thou prayest enter into thy closet. Secret prayer must be made secretly. Those that have the most business in public, and of the best kind, must sometimes be alone with God; must retire into solitude, there to converse with God, and keep up communion with him.
IV. His return to his public work. The disciples thought they were up early, but found their Master was up before them, and they enquired which way he went, followed him to his solitary place, and there found him at prayer, Mark 1:36, 37. They told him that he was much wanted, that there were a great many patients waiting for him; All men seek for thee. They were proud that their Master was become so popular already, and would have him appear in public, yet more in that place, because it was their own city; and we are apt to be partial to the places we know and are interested in. “No,” saith Christ, “Capernaum must not have the monopoly of the Messiah’s preaching and miracles. Let us go into the next towns, the villages that lie about here, that I may preach there also, and work miracles there, for therefore came I forth, not to be constantly resident in one place, but to go about doing good.” Even the inhabitants of the villages in Israel shall rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord, Jdg. 5:11. Observe, Christ had still an eye to the end wherefore he came forth, and closely pursued that; nor will he be drawn by importunity, or the persuasions of his friends, to decline from that; for (Mark 1:39) he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and, to illustrate and confirm his doctrine, he cast out devils. Note, Christ’s doctrine is Satan’s destruction.