A high school or university has thousands of students roaming the halls, sitting in classes, congregating on the lawn—each student is but one of the many. The shopping mall is filled crowds of young people wanting to see and be seen, hoping that they stand out from the rest. Perhaps you go to church Sunday after Sunday and sit in your usual spot, one person in a large congregation, hoping for a word of encouragement. If you search the internet for “Christian Blogs” or “Christian Devotionals,” you will find that there are millions of bloggers out there vying for readers. I am one tiny voice in the chorus of Christian writers. We often feel like we are just one face in a massive crowd.
In the city of Jerusalem there was a pool, called Bethesda, where “a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed” (John 5:3). They were there in hopes of healing for the rumor held that an angel would come and stir the waters and the first person to get into the pool would be healed. Historians tell us that when they weren’t watching the waters they were begging for alms. An invalid of thirty-eight years was part of that great number. He was there alone, helpless and hopeless – just one begging face among so many (v. 7). But Jesus saw this man out of all the other faces and He healed him (vs. 6, 8-9). We don’t know why He singled this man out, but I believe John included this account to show that Jesus sees each one of us individually. We are not just part of the vast sea of humanity.
The Bible tells us that “God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son . . . to save the world” (John 3:16, 17), and it is true that the death of Jesus is sufficient to save all of humankind. (Although we know that not all will believe and receive His salvation.) But He is a very personal God; He who knows the name of every star knows your name too. Jesus attested to that; He is the Great Shepherd who “calls His sheep by name” (John 10:3). If you are in Christ, He knows you – personally, intimately and passionately. You need not worry that you are just a face in the crowd – God never overlooks the one He loves.