"Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." (Luke 13:12)

Here is the situation:
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. (Luke 13:10-13)

Why is Jesus setting her free?

The phrase "set free" is taken from the Greek word ἀπολύω (apolyō), which means to set a person free or liberate them. What was Jesus' setting her free of? One might say just her disease, but this is a narrow view.

Jesus is purifying her. He is cleansing her of her self-centeredness and her past sins with spiritual potency. This is the same as forgiving sins - because as taught by Jesus elsewhere, our current physical situation relates to what we need to learn from this life combined with our past activities:
"Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14)
This is why the woman responded to Jesus' healing by praising God. Because she became purified.

Why was Jesus was teaching in a synagogue?

It should also be noted that Jesus was teaching from within a synagogue - which means that people accepted him as a rabbi. This seems to conflict with the notion that Jesus was a rebel who did not observe the Jewish teachings.

This is not true. Jesus quite certainly was observant, as we can see that he is not only teaching within a synagogue but is teaching on a Sabbath, which is customary within the Jewish teachings. The original purpose of the Sabbath was to focus oneself on the Supreme Being - rather than on business and one's other material interests.

Yet the Jewish priests of the time - Jesus excluded - thought that Jesus had abandoned this principle because he healed on the Sabbath. This, however, is not seeing clearly, because the purpose of Jesus' healings were to refocus people upon their relationship with the Supreme Being.

This is illustrated by the young woman's response after being healed:
immediately she straightened up and praised God.

What is praising God and why is this important?

Praising God means to incant His Holy Name and glorify Him. It means to put oneself in a position of admiration of the Supreme Being. It means to honor Him and love Him. This is the core of Jesus' teachings.

Yet often we take love very lightly. Why do we do that? Where does love come from?

Is love merely genetic?

Some modern scientists say that love is only genetic - a genetic urge to help us survive.

Where in our genes, then, is that urge to love someone even when there is no physical advantage? Where is the urge to love someone so great that someone is willing to die for that person - as many have done in human society and even among animals? 

People risk their lives to save their loved ones all the time. We have even seen dogs risk their lives for those who have nothing to do with their own survival. If love is genetic that relates to survival, why would someone agree not to survive because they care for someone else?

This, of course, is confusing to such cosmologists, because they don't understand where love comes from. Even though they think it is all a genetic switch, they still go home to their family and want to engage in loving affairs with their kids and spouses. Why? If it is all an accident, why can they not rise above it if they are so smart?

They can't. They need love just as we all need love. Even if their body must be kept alive with machines such as Stephen Hawking. They still need love and they still need relationships. Why do we need love so badly?

Because we are not these physical bodies. We are not a bunch of genes or DNA or brain cells or nerve cells or neurotransmitters. Our composition is spiritual, not physical. 

This is why our bodies can change but we are the same person. This is why an elderly person is the same person they were when their body was a teenager, though the body is now completely different.

This is why he can tell his life story even though his body is practically gone - because he is not his body. He, like all of us, is the living spirit who is temporarily residing in that body.

Why do we search for the perfect person?

If you ask any single young person what they are looking for, it will undoubtedly be their "soul mate." They want to find their soul mate.

For others, they might be at various stages of thinking they have found their soul mate - the last of which is to realize the person they thought was their soul mate actually isn't.

For those who continue to believe they have found their soul mate, they will gradually reduce the criteria they once had - because they have found what they feel is the best they can do: Someone who will at least stick with them and share things with them.

But this is not what we originally imagine our soul mate to be when we start looking. In the beginning one imagines one's soul mate to be the perfect person: A person who is beautiful, kind, funny, strong, fair, honest and forthright.

And if early on we think we find such a person, we are soon disappointed as we gradually find their faults. Then we realize they are not the perfect person. As time goes on, if we are smart, we realize that there isn't such a thing as a perfect person in human society so we'd better just accept the best we can do. So we accept the faults of our current mate.

But the initial search - and for some an ongoing search - for the perfect person, our soul mate - isn't the one we end up with. They quite simply are not perfect, and this is one reason why there are so many divorces. Because we think there is a better person out there.

The expectation of a perfect person, quite simply, is our deep yet lost connection with the Supreme Being. He is our soul mate. He is that perfect person we begin to look for as kids. He is the most beautiful, the most kind, the strongest, the fairest, the most honest, and the most forthright person. He is perfect in all ways. In fact, all those attributes originate from the Supreme Being. The only reason we aspire for those things is because they are God's qualities.

We should, in fact, notice that everyone's criteria for their soul mate is pretty consistent. The qualities we are looking for in our soul mate all pretty much match - with some variation with regard to our body's gender and other dispositions. But these variations are mundane. They don't capture the bigger criteria we seek in our soul mate - beauty, kindness, etc.

Why does everyone basically want the same qualities in their soul mate? Because we are looking for the same person.

If we were to believe the cosmologists who believe there is no Supreme Being and creation is just a random event that happened and we are all then accidents, then the criteria for different people's expectations of a soul mate would be completely different. It would be random, right? Some would want an ugly person who is mean and just wants to hurt others, right?

But no one wants an ugly, mean soul mate. Such a concept is contradictory. An ugly, mean soul mate who only wants to hurt others will simply hurt them as well.

Who is the "soul" in "soul mate"?

This is the reason for the term "soul" in soul mate - because we are speaking of the soul - the spirit-person within.

And this spirit-person - this soul - each of us as individuals - is created by the Supreme Being who also happens to be the Supreme Spirit-Person.

And it is this Supreme Person who we in fact are looking for as we seek our soul mate and as we seek family relationships and seek children and seek lovers and seek beauty and seek kindness and seek honesty and seek humor.

Because in the spiritual realm, the Supreme Being exhibits all of these qualities. This spiritual realm is our home. And in this home we each have spiritual forms. No, we do not float into nothingness or the void. The spiritual realm is a place of activity. It is a place of loving relationships. It is that place we are seeking when we pine for the perfect home - our home.

The spiritual realm is our home because our soul mate lives there. This is God - the Source of all - who is praised by so many with different names among the great faiths of the world.

And Jesus, who is already engaged in his loving relationship with this Supreme Being - came here quite simply because he wants to bring us home - and return us to our innate relationship with our Soul Mate.

This is why Jesus taught. This is why Jesus healed. He wanted us to become reunited with our Best Friend and Soul Mate. And this is why Jesus' healing of the woman resulted in her praising God. Because after she was purified by Jesus, she directed her purified self towards her relationship with the Supreme Being - by praising Him.