Not many things disrupt family life more than serious illness. It seems to cast a pall over everything. Rest and sleep become disrupted; routine gives way to disorganization; and nothing appears to be normal during the crisis. Does anything help? Andrew and Peter found one effective answer when they were confronted with this situation, and that was to bring the Lord into their home at Capernaum. Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a high fever. Her condition must have been a cause for great concern for them to entreat the Lord’s help. He responded immediately as Jehovah Ropheka, the Lord who heals, restores. He took hold of the lady’s hand and raised her up to full health and strength. And what did she do? She waited on them all, no doubt providing a suitable meal (Mark 1:29-31). Anxiety was changed into joyous fellowship by His presence in the home. Sometimes we need His help in bodily healing; other times we need Him to restore the soul (Psalm 23:3). Jehovah Ropheka can accomplish both for us.
The arrival of death, that unwelcome visitor, had a shattering effect on the tightly-knit family at Bethany. Sickness overcame Lazarus, and when he died quiet Mary retreated into seclusion with her grief; Martha the practical went to meet the Lord to seek His comfort and help. How wonderfully the picture changes when Lazarus is raised by the spoken word of the Resurrection and the Life! Death vanquished; grief put to flight; the family reunited; and peace reigning. John paints for us a beautiful word picture of the calm setting of the Bethany home at the time of the great reunion (John 12). Jehovah Shalom,the Lord our Peace, is the centre of the tranquillity which prevails.
Contentedly Lazarus occupies his recognized place at the table, sitting, no doubt, where he can silently adore the One who made the great occasion possible. Mary quietly takes her flask of fragrant oil and pours it upon the feet of Jesus. As the odour fills the house she delicately wipes His feet with the long tresses of her hair. Busy Martha has kept the table supplied in her dedicated way. An attractive picture is presented here of the ideal Christian life with the Lord in the midst: the contentment of Lazarus, the adoration and worship of Mary, and the service of joy of Martha. Not to be overlooked is the changed scene in the home from grief and sorrow to happy fellowship because Jehovah Shalom is the centre of the family circle. When given His rightful place the Lord shows His power to change circumstances; tears to joy, distress to peace.