The New Testament Gosepl of John, chapter 9 is the account of the interaction between Jesus and a man who was born blind. The first sentence of the narrative is: As he [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.
What I love about this opening sentence is that Jesus saw the man! The narrrative continues as Jesus’ disciples discuss probable causes for his blindness, for they saw the blindness, not the man. Jesus not only saw the man but he entered into a relationship with him and then later Jesus sought him out for a deeper conversation (John 9:35). Jesus’ answer about the man and his blindness illustrates Jesus’ belief in the value of all people, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day….”
Jesus countered that the presence of a disability in a person presents an opportunity to do the work of God. Disability presents the opportunity for people to see the humanity, the marvelousness (Psalm 139) of another person. In an earlier conversation with his disciples they said to Jesus, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:28-29). Belief influences action. The actions of those who believe in “Him whom He has sent” should mirror his actions. In our conversation about people with disabilities that would mean seeing their humanity and entering into a relationship with them, just like Jesus did.