Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

By Malcolm Self

We all know the healing story of the man at the pool of Bethesda. This man that Jesus approached had been a paralytic for 38 years. It is obvious that he doesn’t know who Jesus is. There is a short conversation… “He (Jesus) asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ ‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked” (John 5:6-9 NIV). Jesus has another short encounter with the man a little later; but for all practical purposes, that is the end of the story. Or is it?

While this is a great healing story, I am more intrigued by all the others at the pool that weren’t healed. It appears that the area around the pool could hold several hundred people. I have no doubt that it was congested, especially on a Jewish feast day. The Gospel account verifies this by saying there was a “great multitude.” My question is: How was Jesus able to leave the scene so quickly and quietly without being mobbed?

Jesus was well-known in Jerusalem at this time. However, most of the sick at the pool of Bethesda didn’t know who Jesus was. I know that is an assumption on my part; but if the greatest healer the world has ever known made an appearance among the sick and infirmed, don’t you think there would have been some excitement? It’s as if the crowd watched as Jesus healed the paralytic and then turned back to look at the pool. I think Jesus chose to heal the paralytic because he had possibly been there the longest (up to 38 years), and everyone knew him. I also think that Jesus chose to heal the paralytic to assure others than an actual healing occurred, and there was no deception involved. No one could possibly fake being a paralytic for 38 years.

This healing miracle should have made a tremendous impact on the crowd, but it did not. The paralytic was healed, and Jesus quietly slipped away. The crowd, unfazed, casually went back to staring at the pool. What an incredibly lost opportunity.

As Christians, we must expect the unexpected. All too often, our world view doesn’t allow us to see God’s glory, even when it appears in our midst. We have “bought into” our religion that God works a certain way, and there are no exceptions. We put God in a box. Something extraordinary happens, and we casually explain that it was an anomaly. Maybe we even rationalize that it didn’t happen as we remember it; or worse yet, we ignore it completely like the crowd at the pool of Bethesda.

As a member of OSL, I now expect the unexpected. You might even say that the unexpected is what I expect. My world view has changed to a Kingdom view. Jesus never referred to his healings as miracles but as works. Jesus told his disciples, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing…” (John 14:12 NIV). So, let’s get to “work” and expect the unexpected.


Malcolm is a long-time member of OSL and serves as Vice-President to the North American board. He is a founding member of the Healing House, an OSL sponsored healing center in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Malcolm has been married 41 years to Donna Neal and has two sons., Robert and Daniel (and wife Lauren and one granddaughter, Lily) He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Expect the Unexpected

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