Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in that place.
There is, of course, no painting that can accurately picture Jesus as He “conveyed Himself away.” A reading of several texts and resources interpret this as that he simply removed Himself from the situation and melted into the crowd. I’m certainly not an expert in Greek, so I researched the meaning of the word according to Strong’s numbers, and here’s what I found:
ἐκνεύω: 1 aorist ἐξένευσα;
1. to bend to one side (τῇ κεφαλῇ, Xenophon, ven. 10, 12).
2. to take oneself away, withdraw: John 5:13, where Chrysostom says that ἐξένευσε is equivalent to ἐξέκλινε; but others derive the form from ἐκνέω, which see (Sept. for סוּר, Judges 4:18 Alex.; פָּנָה, to turn oneself, Judges 18:26 Alex.; 2 Kings 2:24; 2 Kings 23:16; [add 3 Macc. 3:22; Josephus, Antiquities 7, 4, 2]. In secular authors also transitively, to avoid a thing; as τὰ βέλη, Diodorus 15, 87; πληγήν, ibid. 17, 100.)
It seems in the simplest sense of the word, that He just disappeared among the crowd and slipped away.
Backing up a bit, the Pharisees had asked the healed man, “Who is that man that told you to pick up your bed and walk?” Oh, they could almost taste thevictory! They finally had something they had all observed, along with the “multitudes” of people who were there. Jesus had healed on the sabbath (Crime #1) and then commanded the healed man to do work on the sabbath (Crime #2). I can almost hear them thinking, “Gotcha!”
But they couldn’t find Him. He slipped away, took Himself away from the situation. Why? Why didn’t He stay and rebuke the Pharisees?
It wasn’t His time for that yet. There was still work to be done as He paved the way to Golgotha. Also, and I could be wrong here, there was a huge crowd that had witnessed the healing miracle, and maybe Jesus disappeared because it was not His intention to heal the whole multitude.
There is, very shortly after this event, a confrontation between Jesus and the Jewish leaders. We’ll take a look at the beginning of that situation tomorrow.