PETERS WIFE AND MOTHER-IN-LAW (Fr. Varghese Paul, S.J.)

Wife and her mother are two very significant persons in the life of any married man. The first three evangelists Mathew, Mark and Luke have written about Jesus going to Peters house and curing Peters mother-in-law. Since the Gospels speak about Peters mother-in-law, we can presume that Peter was a married person with a wife.

We do not have the names of those two significant women of Peters life. In fact, we do not even have a direct reference to Peters wife. But the three Gospel passages say indirectly much about the two women.

Mathews version says, Jesus went to Peters home, and there he saw Peters mother-in-low sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand; the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him (Mt. 8, 14-15).

Marks version gives a little more details of Jesus going to Peters home and curing his mother-in-law. Jesus and his disciples, including James and John, left the synagogue and went straight to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simons mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever, and as soon as Jesus arrived, he was told about her. He went to her, took her by the hand, and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them (Mk. 1, 29-31).

Lukes version of the event is more close to Marks version than Mathews. While Mark described the scene that He went to her, took her by the hand, and helped her up Luke says, He went and stood at her bedside and ordered the fever to leave her. The fever left her, and she got up at once and began to wait on them (Lk. 4, 39).

As we know, during his public life Jesus did not have a house of his own (see Mt. 8, 20). During his ministry of proclaiming the kingdom of God and attending to the needy wondering from village to village he stayed wherever he found a place to rest his head for the night.

While in Bethsaida from Synagogue Jesus and at least two of his disciples went to the house of Peter and Andrew. There seeing the sick mother-in-law of Peter, Jesus cured her from her fever and she immediately attended to the needs of Jesus and his disciples.

The three evangelists in their respective narrations of the event do not mention Peters wife but only about his mother-in-law. Why? We can guess that, perhaps Peters wife was among the few women who went together with Jesus and his disciples ministering to their needs; sometimes going ahead and making advance preparations and some times traveling with them and attending to the needs of Jesus and his disciples including Peter. We know that at the crucifixion of Jesus Some women were there, looking on from a distance (Mk. 15, 40). Mark further says about them, They had followed Jesus while he was in Galilee and had helped him (Mk. 15, 41).

We can also guess that Peters wife has been traveling with Peter as he accompanied Jesus from what Paul says about Peter in his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul asks his detractors Havent I the right to follow the example of the other apostles and the Lords brothers and Peter, by taking a Christian wife with me on the travels? (1 Cor. 9, 5). Here Paul indicated that Peter was taking his wife with him on his travels while he was with Jesus and /or after Peters post-resurrection ministry.

Perhaps Peter must have considered his wife and her mother as examples of womanhood when he wrote in his first letter asking wives to lead their husband with pure and reverent conduct. It will not necessary for you to say a word, because they will see how pure and reverent your conduct is. You should not use outward aids to make yourselves beautiful, such as the way you do your hair, or the jewellery you put on, or the dresses you wear. Instead, your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in Gods sight. For the devout women of the past who placed their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful by submitting to their husbands (1 Peter 3, 1-5).

We know that Peter had a temperamental character. He was an impulsive man. With such character Peter must have faced many problems, trials and disappointments in leading the very first Christian Community as it grew and spread far and wide. We can imaging that Peters wife and mother-in-law must have been a source of counsel and strength to face lifes challenges with the right attitude of life for Peter.

From what little we know about the two women, we can conclude that Peters wife must have been a worthy woman who took good care of Peter and family and his mother-in-law a much loved and cared for person in Peters house. (words 843, contact the author: यह ईमेल पता spambots से संरक्षित किया जा रहा है. आप जावास्क्रिप्ट यह देखने के सक्षम होना चाहिए. )

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