When Jesus healed a man by a pool of water called Bethesda, as recorded in the Bible, He told the man to pick us his bedroll and walk. The religious authorities got quite upset. According to them, it was illegal to carry something on the Sabbath. “Who told you to do this?” they asked. But the one who was healed didn’t know, because Jesus had slipped away into the crowd.
In this account, a seeming unbeliever had a miraculous encounter with the Son of God without any knowledge of who Jesus was. The man was given zero instruction on the rules for proper living thereafter. On the contrary, he was told by Jesus Himself to break sacred tradition. All of this would be deemed scandalous by many in fundamentalist circles today as well. Yet there it is, right in the Bible.
Jesus, it appears, makes little distinction when granting His favor and grace. He doesn’t qualify His prospects or search the database to determine who’s in and who’s out before He intervenes. His love extends equally to all. And likewise, no one is immune from adversity, regardless of position on the spiritual journey.
No doubt many interactions take place each day that are encounters with Jesus. But like the healed man, I don’t always know that it was Him at work. Jesus doesn’t seem to mind, however. He’s already disappeared into the crowd on His way to the next stealth encounter.