Simon Peter’s Wife’s Mother? Mark 1:29-31

Text: “So God created man in His own image (tripartite beings, three-parts), in the image of God created He him: male and female created He them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion…over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Genesis 1:27-28.


Good morning, fruitful Christian!  By the grace of the Lord God, and according to His instruction in the first Book of the Bible, you and I have been blessed with an inherent physical desire for the opposite sex; a God-given libido that is, with due moderation, properly focused on continued pro-creation of God’s created species on the earth He has formed for His own Eternal pleasure and purpose.  Praise God it is so, dear friend.  All things should be done in the order that God has purposed in His inspired (God-breathed) Word.  Amen.


“In Whom (Christ Jesus) also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.”  (Ephesians 1:11)


Even the great apostle Peter was faithful to the Genesis command of God to. “…be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth…” – thus, in the well-recorded Jewish traditions, Peter obediently took himself a wife.  He was never ordained to be a sexually celibate man!


J.C. Ryle Comments:


“These verses begin the long list of miracles which St. Mark’s Gospel contains. They tell us how our Lord cast out devils in Capernaum, and healed Peter’s wife’s mother of a fever.” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)


“And He came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.”  (Mark 1:31)


As the Lord Jesus and his disciples travelled, “…throughout all the region of Galilee…” (V.28), we are taught a most important doctrine concerning prayer and supplication for those that are sick and diseased: pray to Jesus first, then use all other means later!


Ryle Comments: 


We learn, in the second place, to what remedy a Chris­tian ought to resort first, in time of trouble. He ought to follow the example of the friends of Simon’s wife’s mother. We read that when she “lay sick of a fever,” they “told Jesus of her.”


“There is no remedy like this. Means are to be used diligently, without question, in any time of need. Doctors are to be sent for, in sickness. Lawyers are to be consulted, when property or character needs defence. The help of friends is to be sought. But still after all, the first thing to be done, is to cry to the Lord Jesus Christ for help. None can relieve us so effectually as He can. None is so com­passionate, and so willing to relieve.”  (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)


Peter’s Mother-in-law: – Ryle Further Comments:


“Let us not fail to observe here, that Peter, one of our Lord’s principal apostles had a wife. Yet he was called to be a disciple, and afterwards chosen to be an apostle. More than this, we find St. Paul speaking of him as a married man, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, many years after this. (1 Corinthians 9:5)”


“How this fact can be reconciled with the compulsory celibacy of the clergy, which the Church of Rome enforces and requires, it is for the friends and advocates of the Roman Catholic Church to explain. To a plain reader, it seems a plain proof that it is not wrong for ministers to be married men. And when we add to this striking fact, that St. Paul, when writing to Timothy, says, that “a bishop should be the husband of one wife,” (1 Timothy 3:2) it is clear that the whole Romish doctrine of clerical celibacy is utterly opposed to holy Scripture.”  (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)


Further Teaching: 


In verse thirty-one of our selected passage from Mark’s Gospel today, we find even further enlightenment teaching; teaching, of which, every sincere Christ-loving Christian should take good heed: we are not saved merely to escape from Hell’s torments, or to be freed from our vile sins.  We are saved to serve the risen Christ Jesus, with all our hearts, and all our souls, and all our strength.  As soon as Peter’s Mother-in-law was Divinely healed, “…the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.” (V.31)


The moment that 21st Century sinners are Divinely healed from our vile sins – we too are called by God to get involved in serving Christ, and in reaching out with the Gospel message to other precious souls trapped and dying in sin! 


“So then faith cometh (continuous verb: comes, and continues to come) by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)


“Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”  (2 Timothy 4:2)


“The great missionary statesman, D.T. Niles, coined a phrase that sums up what it means to witness for Christ. He said evangelism is “one beggar telling another beggar where to find food.” What an accurate definition of witnessing. First of all, it admits the fact that we are all beggars, at least in the Spiritual sense.” (Al Hughes Ministries, online)


Thought: Like Peter’s Mum-in-law, let us be fruitful and multiply in Christ’s service.

Christ’s Power Over Evil Spirits! Mark 1:23-28

Text: “And Jesus rebuked him (the unclean spirit) saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.  And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.”

Mark 1:25-26.


Good morning, cleansed Christian!  Like the author, once you wallowed in the pits of sin and depravity of sin; lost, and with nowhere to go for Spiritual healing; dwelling on the ever-growing human-rubbish dump of sin-discarded souls, all on our way to a Christ-rejector’s Eternal Hell.


If this stark description depicts the state your soul was in prior to being redeemed by Christ’s sinless Blood – it most certainly describes mine!  (See ‘About Kenny’ on


However, our gracious and Sovereign Lord God Almighty was not content to leave us abandoned and discarded on that heap of ruined and Hell-bound souls.  Praise God no!  He shone the light of His glorious Gospel of Salvation into our very hearts and minds, and called us to receive His everlasting love and forgiveness.  Christ exercised His Divine power over all evil in our hearts and souls.  Glory to the Lamb Who is worthy!  Hallelujah! Amen.


“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”  (1 Corinthians 6:11)


J.C. Ryle Comments:

 “We learn, in the first place, from these verses, the use­lessness of a mere intellectual knowledge of religion. Twice we are specially told that the unclean spirits knew our Lord. In one place it says, “they knew Him.” In another, the devil cries out, “I know thee who thou art, the Holy one of God.” They knew Christ, when Scribes were ignorant of Him, and Pharisees would not acknow­ledge Him. And yet their knowledge was not unto salvation!


The mere belief of the facts and doctrines of Christi­anity will never save our souls. Such belief is no better than the belief of devils. They all believe and know that Jesus is the Christ. They believe that He will one day judge the world, and cast them down to endless torment in hell. It is a solemn and sorrowful thought, that on these points some professing Christians have even less faith than the devil. There are some who doubt the reality of hell and the eternity of punishment. Such doubts as these find no place except in the hearts of self-willed men and women. There is no infidelity among devils. “They believe and tremble.”   (James 2:19)


“Let us take heed that our faith be a faith of the heart as well as of the head. Let us see that our knowledge has a sanctifying influence on our affections and our lives. Let us not only know Christ but love Him, from a sense of actual benefit received from Him. Let us not only believe that He is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world, but rejoice in Him, and cleave to Him with purpose of heart.” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)


There is an old saying here in Ulster (Northern Ireland, UK) which goes: ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating.’  Meaning, if it is a good, tasty, well-baked, pudding – it will be eaten up, enjoyed, and recognised as evidence of a ‘good, well-baked, pudding’.


Genuine Christian belief should be placed in one Person only – the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We must first acknowledge Him as God the Son, and believe in His Holy attributes.  We must repent of our sin, be Spiritually regenerated; then seek diligently and earnestly to emulate His life – in all we say, do, think, and believe. 


There can be no power in a Christian profession, without the evidence of Christ in the person making the Christian profession.


“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16) ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating.’


In our selected Bible reading for today, we find a man suffering from demon-possession; “…a man with an unclean spirit…”  Such a negative position to be found in.  (V.23)


However, the Lord God Almighty is a gracious and merciful Lord God, and, in the Person of Christ Jesus, saw fit to exercise His Absolute and Sovereign power over the powers of Satan and evil.  Christ commanded the evil demon to, “Hold thy peace, and come out of him.” (V.25) 


It is indeed truly amazing that, today, in this increasingly apostate and ungodly 21st Century, demons from Hell immediately recognise and obey the Lord Jesus Christ, while unregenerate, disobedient humankind use His Holy Name as a swear word.


“…Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth?  Art Thou come to destroy us?  I know Thee Who Thou art, the Holy One of God.”  (V.24)


Praise God, even the evil powers of Hell must obey the Word of the Living Lord God, in Christ Jesus: “And when the unclean spirit had torn him (the demon-possessed man), and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.” (V.26)


Amazement was the result within those that clearly witnessed this Divine deliverance from evil, for they saw with their own eyes Divine authority being commanded: “…with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him” (V.27) Hallelujah!


Thought: At the Name of Jesus every knee must bow! Let us bow now.  (Phil. 2:9-11)



All Things New! Mark 1:16-22

Text: “And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.  And He said unto me, ‘Write, for these things are true and faithful...”   

                                                                          Revelation 21:5.

Good morning, renewed Christian!  For you and for me, the Lord Jesus Christ has made all things new.  Praise God!  What a Saviour!  What a Lord!  Amen.

A New Invitation: (V.17) Verse seventeen of our selected Bible passage contains a new invitation to all elect mankind who will, by God’s grace, respond to it.  The verse contains a new invitation; a new obligation; a new contemplation; and praise God, a whole new occupation.  These wondrous ‘new things’ are all commenced by the Lord’s exhortation to “Come...”.

The One who makes all things new invites sinners to come to Him and receive His Eternal blessings. 

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”  (Matthew 11:28-29)

A New Obligation: (V.17) The absolute grace shown by Christ in His invitation to partake of Salvation, the terrible cost of which was His infinite sufferings and death at Calvary, brings with its acceptance a new obligation from the person thus saved.  This new obligation is to come ‘...after...’ Christ, or to follow Him; walking in His ways; obeying His teachings; witnessing to His Holiness and truth.  This is merely the reasonable obligation of every born again Christian who accepts Christ’s new invitation to come and be saved.

The One who makes all things new commands a new obligation.  (Ephesians 5:8-20)

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

A New Contemplation: (V.17) To successfully fulfil our new obligation, we Christians must daily contemplate (i.e., look intently at; gaze in reverence at; think deeply about; and seek to emulate) the Christ who has called us to follow in His service.  We do this by a daily, continual, contemplation of Christ Jesus as He is portrayed within the pages of God’s inspired Scriptures.  We contemplate the Lord Jesus, and are continually renewed in His image as we conform in obedience to His Word.  (1 Peter 1:13-23)

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he/she is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”               (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The One who makes all things new deserves renewed contemplation daily.  (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

A New Occupation: (V.17) Christ’s new invitation brings a new obligation to dwell in new contemplation of Him.  All this is necessary if we are to take up a new occupation in our lives.  In our new occupation we become ‘...fishers of men/women.’ (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:11-17)

Having responded to God’s blessed invitation to receive Eternal Life in Christ, we are given that same Divine invitation to minister unto others who are yet still “...dead in trespasses and in sins...”.  (Ephesians 2:1-5) (Titus 1:1-4)

We who have been given the treasures of God’s Kingdom are obliged to share that Eternal treasure with all who, by God’s grace, will receive it.  Our new occupation is to ‘fish’ for the souls of men and women.  The One who makes all things new adds the blessings in our new occupation - the Salvation of other immortal and precious souls.  (Proverbs 11:30)

J.C. Ryle Comments:

“Let us notice, in the third place, the occupation of those who were first called to be Christ’s disciples. We read that our Lord called Simon and Andrew, when they were “casting a net into the sea,” and James and John while they were “mending their nets.”

It is clear from these words, that the first followers of our Lord were not the great of this world. They were men who had neither riches, nor rank, nor power. But the kingdom of Christ is not dependent on such things as these. His cause advances in the world, “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6) The words of St. Paul will always be found true: “Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27) The church which began with a few fishermen, and yet overspread half the world, must have been founded by God.” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)

Take heart then, Christian!  The extraordinary Lord God Almighty is continually making “...all things new...”, especially for ordinary believers like you and me.  Hallelujah!  Victory in the Lamb!

Thought: Trust the Lord Jesus Christ - He makes ALL things new!  


Marching In Mark’s Gospel








Dr C.K. McClinton

BA (Hons); M.A.; Ph.D.; D. Litt



Ulster Christians Fellowship






A series of daily-reading teachings from the Gospel of Mark which are designed to expand the student’s knowledge of sound doctrine; using the medium of Bible Exposition to encourage practical Christian faith - with selected quotations from the excellent work of J.C. Ryle (1816-1900): to reintroduce Ryle’s writings to the 21 Century church; to enhance Christian understanding of God’s Word; to exalt the Name of Christ Jesus as both Saviour and Lord.


J. C. Ryle 1886 – 1900 Bishop of Liverpool

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia


John Charles Ryle (10 May 1816 – 10 June 1900) was an English evangelical Anglican bishop. He was the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool.


He was the eldest son of John Ryle, private banker, of Park House, Macclesfield, M.P. for Macclesfield 1833–7, and Susanna, daughter of Charles Hurt of Wirksworth, Derbyshire. He was born at Macclesfield on 10 May 1816.

He was educated at Eton and the University of Oxford, where his career was unusually distinguished. He was Fell exhibitioner at Christ Church, from which foundation he matriculated on 15 May 1834. He was Craven scholar in 1836, graduated B.A. in 1838, having been placed in the first-class in liter√¶ humaniores in the preceding year, and proceeded M.A. in 1871. He was created D.D. by diploma on 4 May 1880.

Ryle left the university with the intention of standing for parliament on the first opportunity, but was unable to do so because of his father's bankruptcy. He took holy orders (1841–42) and became curate at ExburyHampshire. In 1843, he was preferred to the rectory of St Thomas, Winchester, which he exchanged in the following year for that of HelminghamSuffolk. The latter living he retained until 1861, when he resigned it for the vicarage of Stradbroke in the same county. The restoration of Stradbroke church was due to his initiative. In 1869, he was made rural dean of Hoxne, and in 1872 honorary canon of Norwich. He was select preacher at Cambridge in 1873 and the following year, and at Oxford from 1874 to 1876, and in 1879 and the following year. In 1880, he was designated dean of Salisbury, and at once, 19 April, advanced to the newly created see of Liverpool, which he ably administered until his death at Lowestoft on 10 June 1900. He is buried at All Saints ChurchChildwallLiverpool.


He married three times but his first two wives died young. The first marriage was on 29 October 1845, to Matilda Charlotte Louisa, daughter of John Pemberton Plumptre, of Fredville, Kent. The second, in March 1850, was to Jessy, daughter of John Walker of Crawfordton, Dumfriesshire. The third, on 24 October 1861, was to Henrietta, daughter of Lieutenant-colonel William Legh Clowes of Broughton Old Hall, Lancashire. He had a daughter by his first wife, and four other children by his second wife Jessy. His second son, Herbert Edward Ryle also a clergyman, became successively Bishop of Exeter, Bishop of Winchester and Dean of Westminster.



John Charles Ryle, by Carlo Pellegrini, 1881.

Ryle was a strong supporter of the evangelical school and a critic of ritualism. He was a writer, pastor and an evangelical preacher. Among his longer works are Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century (1869), Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (7 vols, 1856–69), and Principles for Churchmen (1884). Ryle was described as having a commanding presence and vigorous in advocating his principles albeit with a warm disposition. He was also credited with having success in evangelizing the blue-collar community. He was a strong believer in the return of the Jews to their own land as being prophesied in the Bible and thus was part of the movement that led to the Balfour Declaration.

Published works

·       The Cross: A Call to the Fundamentals of Religion (1852)

·       Expository Thoughts on Matthew,

·       Expository Thoughts on Mark,

·       Expository Thoughts on LukeVol. 1Vol. 2,

·       Expository Thoughts on JohnVol. 1Vol. 2Vol. 3,

·       Coming Events and Present Duties, and Prophecy, (1867) Now published as Are You Ready for the End of Time?

·       Shall We Know One Another, (1870)

·       Knots Untied, (1877)

·       Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots, (1877,

·       Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians, (1878)

·       Higher Criticism: Some Thoughts on Modern Theories about the Old Testament (1880)

·       Simplicity in Preaching, (1882)

·       Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times, (1887)

·       The Duties of Parents, (1888)

·       From Old Times: or Protestant Facts and Men, (1890) (partially reprinted as Five English Reformers)

·       Bible Inspiration: Its Reality and Nature (1877)

·       Christian Leaders of the Last Century (1873)

·       Tracts and Other Works

 Repent! Then Believe!                                   Mark 1:1-15

 Text: “Therefore, turn thou to thy God; keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.”      

                                                                                 Hosea 12:6.

 Good morning, repentant Christian!  Not enough for you to have initially repented - turned away from your life of sin, old attitudes, habits, and worldliness - to follow hard after the Living Christ.  You, having turned away from sin, now seek a daily turning towards Christlikeness, by the power of God the Holy Spirit.  Praise God, you do well.  May the Lord enable you and I to be obedient to His Word throughout this day and always. Amen! (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

 How often in this apostate day we hear pastors, teachers, and lay-person Christians get Christ’s Gospel message of repentance wrong.  Repentance seems to have become merely a word mouthed frequently by Churchy people, a word that has lost its intended meaning; a word devoid of Spiritual application to the souls of sinners today.  How sad. (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

 Christ’s message revealed in today’s Bible passage is, “...Repent ye, and believe the Gospel...” (V.15).  It is not a message of, ‘Get saved and made fit for a Holy Heaven, then live an ungodly life of Hell on earth!’  No!  The message of the Master is “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel...”.  (Acts 2:41-47) (1 Peter 1:15-16)

 Repentance is a concept sorely neglected in the Church of the 21st Century; a fundamental doctrine which is absolutely necessary, not only for a soul’s Salvation, but for the progressive sanctification of our natural state before God.  We all need to be progressively sanctified daily, as we seek to fellowship with our Holy Lord God and with each other in the Body of Christ.  We have hindered prayer-lives and hampered fellowship when once the doctrine of repentance is neglected. 

 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalm 66:18)

 “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither is His ear heavy, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”  (Isaiah 59:1-2)

 Mark’s Gospel makes genuine repentance an absolute precursory to true belief of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified for sinners.

 J.C. Ryle Comments: “The Gospel of St. Mark, which we now begin, is in some respects unlike the other three Gospels. It tells us nothing about the birth and early life of our Lord Jesus Christ. It contains comparatively few of His sayings and discourses. Of all the four inspired histories of our Lord’s earthly ministry, this is by far the shortest.

 “But we must not allow these peculiarities to make us undervalue St. Mark’s Gospel. It is a Gospel singularly full of precious facts about the Lord Jesus, narrated in a simple, terse, pithy, and condensed style. If it tells us few of our Lord’s sayings, it is eminently rich in its catalogue of His doings. It often contains minute historical details of deep interest, which are wholly omitted in Matthew, Luke, and John. In short, it is no mere abridged copy of St. Matthew, as some have rashly asserted, but the independent narrative of an independent witness, who was inspired to write a history of our Lord’s works, rather than of His words. Let us read it with holy reverence. Like all the rest of Scripture, every word of St. Mark is “given by inspiration of God,” and every word is “profitable.” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)

 Repentance:  Turning away from our past life of sin, and turning to God is the act of initial, or primary, repentance.  However, if that primary act is a genuine one, then a continual repentance from sin to God shall follow.  (Hebrews 12:12-15) (Psalm 42:1)

 In reality, we sinners shall always sin.  Yet our sins, after genuine repentance, shall become all the more exceedingly sinful to us, and we shall immediately feel the Holy Spirit’s deep grief convicting us to seek forgiveness and a forsaking of the sin into which we have so foolishly fallen.  (John 16:8) (Luke 22:54-62)

When we feel the pangs of conviction sin, it only goes to prove the legitimacy of our belief - a belief in God’s Word which teaches us to truly repent and continually believe/trust in the Lord. Therefore, apparent defeat by sin is swallowed up in a very real Spiritual victory through the Cross of Christ Jesus.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!           (1 John 1:8-9)

Repentance is itself the gift of God to Hell-deserving sinners whom He has chosen to save.  Esau sought repentance, yet couldn’t have it.  Saul of Tarsus wasn’t looking for it, yet was blessed with it on a dusty Damascus road.  “Salvation is of the Lord...”.  (Acts 9:) (Hebrews 12:14-17) (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Go to then, genuine Christian, when sin seems to have a victory - repent and believe - the Lord has made a provision for weak mortals like you and me.   Thanks be to the Living, Loving Lord God!             (2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Thought:  True belief, bringing true repentance, proves a true Bible belief. 

(c) Dr C.K. McClinton

Ulster Christians