The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. John 5:13
Sometimes I think I have God all worked out, then I find an occasion in the Bible where he does something outside “the box” of my understanding.
I know God wants us to come to him and ask. I know God wants us to express our faith in him. I know God wants us to avoid wrong behaviour but then God heals the man at the pool of Bethesda, where none of this is true. The man doesn’t ask to be healed and actually doesn’t seem particularly interested in being healed (verse 7). Second, he doesn’t express faith in Jesus since he doesn’t know who he is. Third, Jesus tells him to “stop sinning” which implies he was sinning as he lay beside the pool. All of which leads me to wonder why Jesus picked this man out of the crowd to be healed when there were others who I might consider more deserving.
Sometimes we reduce our relationship with God to a formula which says if I pray in a certain way, or if I read the Bible for a certain length of time, or I go to church every Sunday, then God is obligated to answer my prayers. But God is never obligated to us. We cannot restrict God to our expectations. Instead, God calls us into relationship, where we learn to hear his voice and respond. However, often we prefer the formula approach, because this is far less challenging than having a relationship with God.
Let’s lay aside our preconceived ideas of how we think God should operate, acknowledge his Sovereignty and grow in our relationship with him.