Matthew tells us that those living with disability had people who cared about them and brought them to Jesus:
Matthew 15:30-31 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.
What was that like, these great crowds? Were they desperate, like the four men in Mark 2 carrying the paralytic who were willing to destroy somebody else’s property? Were they hopeful or skeptical? Were they encouraging each other or jockeying for a better position?
When they glorified the God of Israel, did they understand what they were doing? Did Jesus look extraordinary and beautiful to them, even better than the healing they had just experienced or observed? Or was he just a means to a preferred end?
A few years ago Joni Eareckson Tada came and spoke at Bethlehem. It was glorious – wheelchairs and canes and walkers in every section. People living with Down syndrome and deafness and global developmental delays and blindness and spina bifida and things I can’t pronounce all over the room. Moms and dads and children living the life that my family lives dominated the sanctuary! And we were worshipping God! It was one of my happiest moments at church and still brings tears to my eyes these many years later.
Was the great crowd in Matthew 15 happy like that?