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#2306 - Friday, November 4, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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Eric Chaffee contributes a Highlights exclusive: a stunning critical analysis, an exegesis, of Luke 13: 11-13. Eric shows how Jesus imparted direct knowledge. Here's a taste:

"One aspect of this account which I truly love is that Jesus called the woman to him. He intervened
in her life, desiring to help her with her burden, and then he had the audacity to tell her that
she was already free! (Try to imagine how that might sound to one who had been hunched over for 18
years!) But here's the key: 'immediately.'"



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AN ANONYMOUS BAGGAGE HANDLER LENDS A HAND

11. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed
together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

12. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and saith unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from
thine infirmity.

13. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

I've done a little research on two words in v.13 which I would like to share, as they have blessed
me this week: 'immediately' and 'straight'.

The word straight is perhaps better rendered 'upright'. A central fixation of Judaism is the idea
of righteousness, uprightness. They had over 600 rules to keep in order to comply with the law of
righteousness. Was this an impossible burden for this woman? Uprightness is an attitude towards
God, which can easily be hijacked by appearances, becoming pharisaical display. (I am reminded of
Jesus' mention of the 'broadened' phylacteries: originally, strips of parchment, encoding Torah,
worn near your heart or in your hair, to remind you and others who notice your display, to keep the
law. Jesus seems to be saying that it's one thing to tie a string on your finger to remind yourself
of your duty, but another altogether to put your dedication on parade in prominent fashion, as a
form of self promotion. And in the next chapter of Luke we are cautioned about aspiring to the head
table at the feast, lest we be displaced by the host for a more prominent guest, but instead, we
are advised to enter modestly without imposing ourselves, so that we may be invited up higher.)

A key to upright behavior is having an audience of One: "whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to
the Lord, and not unto men." -Col 3: 23. This doing is a humble mindfulness of who we are, and what
we serve and represent -- namely, the very presence of the divine, just like all our neighbors!
Keeping this focus is no minor achievement But the choice of service is perpetual: myself, or my
God?

One aspect of this account which I truly love is that Jesus called the woman to him. He intervened
in her life, desiring to help her with her burden, and then he had the audacity to tell her that
she was already free! (Try to imagine how that might sound to one who had been hunched over for 18
years!) But here's the key: 'immediately.' This word is what attracted my attention. What did Jesus
do? What occurred? I looked into the Greek. The text uses the word 'parachrema' which is a
commercial word meaning to do business or to transact.

He didn't merely tell her she was free, he put his hands on her and said, in effect, 'let's touch
this business of righteousness, and get it straight.' He saw her innate, upright, nature, and would
not rest until she saw it, too, and was able to conform to it. Yes, immediately there was a
transaction of righteousness -- resulting in healing. This is not miracle, it is a dawning of
reality, a realization of fact, turning the page on our past. She was disabused of her notion of
herself as flawed and unable to be consistently upright! Physiology was displaced by a true
psychology -- the study or awareness of Soul. She was able to behold a divine presence conforming
with her inner being, alive as her own nature, and she was able to glorify God. This glory radiates
the presence of the divine, in an enlightened identity. She was newly formed, reformed, whole
again, simply because she had responded when haled by this stranger.

That haling was the beginning of her healing. She was able to walk into a new day, upright, whole,
and free.

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