I am continuing to think about Special Needs. I shared some of the basis for understanding Special Needs here. How did Jesus interact and relate to those with special needs? Jesus gives us a model for how we are to interact.
I decided to begin by looking at Jesus interactions with disabled or special needs in Luke. Knowing that Luke was a doctor made me think that he would have just a bit of that reflected in his writing. I just started at the beginning of Luke reading and focusing on the interactions with the disabled.
Here are some highlights and some of the truths that we can learn from these interactions. I have been challenged as I read these accounts.
Jesus’ Interactions in Luke
Luke 4:31-37 Heals a Man with an Unclean Demon
The demon calls out to Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus rebukes him and tells the demon to come out. The man’s life was changed with this encounter with Jesus. The crowd was amazed. Jesus’ interaction changed lives and amazed people.
Luke 5:12-16 Cleanses a Leper
When the man sees Jesus, he knows that Jesus is the one who can heal. He falls down and begs to be clean. Jesus touched him. The leprosy left. Jesus tells him to go to the priest following the law that Moses had given. Jesus touched the man. Did you see that? According to the law the leper was unclean. It is important to know that Jesus touched the man.
Luke 5:17-26 Jesus heals a Paralytic
This is a great interaction that shows how friends need to be involved. The friends brought the man to Jesus but because of the crowd they could not get to Jesus. That does not stop the friends; they are determined. So they let him down through the roof. The friends had faith. Jesus’ response, “Your sins are forgiven.” While Jesus was meeting physical needs, he was more about the spiritual needs.
Luke 6:6-11 Heals the man with a withered hand
It was the Sabbath but Jesus was willing to “break the rules”. The scribes and Pharisees were watching; they will filled with fury. Some might not understand and even be opposed to what we are doing. But if we have the correct biblical basis for understanding this, we will be willing to work to meet spiritual and physical needs.
There are more interactions in Luke but I want to share two interactions that Jesus had in John.
Jesus’ Interactions in John
John 5:1-17 Healing at the Pool on the Sabbath
Jesus goes to the man lying there and asks him, “Do you want to be healed?” Then Jesus says, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” Jesus had withdrawn himself from the crowd. Jesus goes and finds him. During this second interaction Jesus says, “Sin no more.”
John 9:1-41 Heals a Man Born Blind
The disciples see the blind man and begin to discuss who sinned — the man or his parents. Jesus’ response corrects them by saying, “That the works of God might be displayed.” What works of God do we see displayed in the individuals with special needs?
Some people came to Jesus asking to be healed. Jesus went to some offering healing. Often we see the spiritual connected with the physical. There was no one way of doing ministry, Jesus healed in many different ways. The same is true today, we need to have a variety of ways.
Individuals who are disabled or have special needs remind us that we are all broken people in need of God’s healing.
Because of Jesus’ interactions with the disabled there lives are changed. As we share the gospel with those with special needs, their lives can be changed.
Those around saw what Jesus did, they were amazed, glorified God, and were filled with awe. Our interactions should do the same today.
Jesus reached out and touched the leper. We need to reach out and touch people physically. We need to be willing to get a bit unclean for the Gospel.
Special Needs ministry requires working together with others just as the friends of the paralytic. Support those who are working with special needs as they support those with special needs.
People might not understand what and why we are doing this. We need to understand what God is asking us to do and have courage.
Be like Jesus in your interactions with those with special needs. Do you have individuals with specials needs in your life or church?