My last blog post began looking at John 9 and Jesus’ healing of a blind man by the temple gate in Jerusalem. We saw that while the man had been abandoned by his parents and ignored by society, Jesus SAW him. Jesus saw him as a person created in the image of God.
Jesus saw him. But He did more than see him; He TOUCHED him. I love the intimacy of this miracle! Jesus could have said to the man, “Be healed!” and he would have been healed. But that’s not what He did. Jesus knelt down, spat on the ground, and made mud with His saliva. He then took the mud and rubbed it on the man’s eyes. After rubbing the mud on the man’s eyes, Jesus told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man had to be wondering what was going on. But he was desperate. So he did what Jesus said, and he came back seeing.
The ESV says that Jesus anointed the man’s eyes with the mud. This indicates to us that something special was happening. Jesus participated in the man’s healing in a very intimate way.
This is similar to the intimacy seen in the way He created the first man and woman. While God spoke everything else into existence, Adam was formed from the dust of the ground. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Then Eve was formed from a rib taken from Adam’s side. The intimacy of God’s creation of man serves as a reminder of the value God places on human life.
Now think about this miracle. The Son of God knelt down, made some mud with His spit, rubbed it on the man’s eyes, and he was healed. The value Jesus places on human life is clear. Jesus did these things because He cared for this man as a person created in the image of God. Yes, this man was a person with a disability. But for Jesus, this man’s disability was not his identity. It was HOW he was, but it was not WHO he was.
My point is not to say that you need to go around healing people with disabilities like Jesus did. But just as Jesus’ care and compassion for this man led Him to act on his behalf, our care and compassion for our neighbors with disabilities must lead us to act on their behalf.
It is not enough for us to see the needs around us. It is not enough even for us to feel sympathy for those around us. If we truly care, we will see the needs around us, and we will seek to meet those needs in any way that that we can. As we follow the example of Jesus by caring for His image bearers with disabilities, we also will be bearing His image.