so part of what this internship, that i have joined in la, does is an inductive study of the book of luke. i have been learning so much with my team of 8 (from pomona and lincoln heights) and two leaders…again each time i go into the book of luke it hits me right where i am at in life…the very issues/questions i am struggling with…to the day.
yesterday, amongst many other wonderful things, we came across an intricate chiastic structure in the passage we were reading (btw, the bible is full of them). basically a chiastic structure is taken from the concept of the greek letter “chi”, which is an “X” shape, in which two stories or concepts cross each other at a point and each part of the story/concept mirrors each other as you go outward.
i don’t know if its because i am a literature major or something but i just totally geeked out!
the passage is Luke 8:40-56 where Jesus heals a bleeding woman and the daughter of a man named jarius. i’ve commented before on another account of this story found in the book of matthew, but this time around we couldn’t help but notice many more of the parallels in the pair of stories: both are females, both are called “daughter” – the first recorded instance in the book of Luke where Jesus calls someone this, both have 12 years in common, and both are ceremonially unclean (as in unclean to touch – a bleeding woman and girl who has died)…to name a few similarities. then we saw that verse 48 and 50 seem to mirror each other pretty well. something was fishy (in a good way!)…so here’s how i broke it down…CHECK IT!:
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house,
A: v. 40-41 – in the context of word spreading, a strong request (jarius implored Jesus)
for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians,[she could not be healed by anyone.
B: v. 42-43 – daughter(s) in trouble
She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased.
C: v. 44 – a female touches Jesus (the “wings” of his garment – “the Sun will rise with healing in his wings”)
And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!”
D: v. 45 – people do not perceive (Peter doesn’t get why Jesus is making a deal about one person touching him in a whole crowd)
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”
E: v. 46 – Jesus calls it out (the woman who is trying to hide after being healed)
And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.
F: v. 47 – revelation (Jesus wants everyone to know, through the woman, what God has done)
And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
G: v. 48 – faith connected to healing/salvation
While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.”
X (intersection): v. 49 – literal and figurative intersection of the dying girl and bleeding woman where someone delivers the message not to bother Jesus with impossible situations/lost causes.
But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.”
G’: v. 50 – faith connected to healing/salvation
And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child.
F’: v. 51 – hiding (Jesus allows only a few to see what God will do)
And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.”
E’: v. 52 – Jesus calls it out (people are weeping when Jesus says the girl is not dead)
And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.
D’: v. 53 – people do not perceive (mourners laugh at Jesus who says the girl is only asleep)
But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.”
C’: v. 54 – Jesus touches a female
And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat.
B’: v. 55 – daughter restored
And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.
A’: v. 56 – in the context of word spreading, a strong request (Jesus charges jarius’ family)
a pair of seven parts crossing too! the number of perfection!
in this brilliant text we see parallel stories of two females in which the latter seems to be an inversion of the former. a leader pointed out to us that the story of the bleeding woman moves from private to public (awesome how Jesus not only heals the woman but insists on validating and restoring her holistically – to society and most of all to God) whereas the story of jarius’ daughter moves from public to private (my current theory is because jarius was connected to the religious authorities at the time, who were uncomfortable with Jesus).
the chiastic structure in this passage points to the importance of the part at the center that seems to match each other most closely (v. 48-51) emphasizing the theme of faith, esp. the central verse (v. 50) pointing out that people think Jesus shouldn’t be bothered with the impossible, something people with faith in Him are bold enough to do.
so, is my (your/our) faith willing to hold onto the good that seems impossible – to travel through the scorn and ridicule of others?
how do i/you think Jesus would complete this sentence (from v. 51) if it was directed to me/you?: “Do not fear; only believe, and ________.”