Grumbling at Joy

Journal Entry // March 31, 2022

So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. [7] And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

Luke 19:6-7 ESV

Why did they all grumble at Jesus deciding to stay at the house of Zacchaeus? Here is an everyday example of Jesus deciding to stay with someone in their house and enjoy a meal together. I am sure that Jesus did this fairly regularly and spent time with a host in the various cities he visited. Why is it that this time, the author reveals that the crowd grumbled? Is it simply because he went into the house of a sinner? Or is it because Zacchaeus was a tax collector? A rich tax collector at that. So when Jesus saw the enthusiasm of this man that was seeking to just glance at him as he passed by, Jesus stopped and gave him the honor of hosting him and his disciples. An honor that was not lost on the crowd and the crowd was not pleased.

I am not sure how I would have reacted in this situation. I’m not sure how I react even now in similar situations. This picture is of a man who takes advantage of his position to extract wealth from the people to enrich himself. A man that is surely seen as a thief and a criminal and oppressor of the people. A man that is most assuredly not welcome in the home of any person and they would never be caught in his home or associate with him at all. Yet Jesus had compassion on him and blessed him with the promise of his fellowship and friendship.

This “sinner” was overcome with joy. I can picture the man’s surprise at Jesus’ invitation and the joy in his heart overflowed out of his heart as he then gives away a large portion of his wealth and repays any he has wrong. The conviction of sin and his heartfelt repentance is evident in his words and actions. Jesus changed his heart and salvation had indeed come to this house. A sinner was once lost and is now saved. This is truly a time of rejoicing.

Do I rejoice with Jesus over the lost being found? Of course. This is of vital importance to my life and I want to rejoice and celebrate every time a sinner is brought into the kingdom. But are there some “sinners” that I don’t want to be saved? Are there some “sinners” that I want to feel the wrath of God and be punished? I don’t think this is true in my heart. I don’t feel as though I would grumble against a specifically “vile” or “evil” person being saved. But I know that tendency is surely there within my heart. I know that I am just as prone as these followers to grumble at the compassion and grace of Jesus. Although I don’t think I would grumble at the man being saved, I could easily see myself being jealous and envious of Jesus choosing to spend time in this “sinner’s” house and not in mine.

I find myself grumbling now over perceived lack of blessing as I compare myself to others. As I review my current life and I covet those things in other people’s lives. I see the blessing of God being poured out on others and it makes me envious. This in turn causes me to grumble and complain. I forget all the many truly amazing gifts and blessings that the Lord has given me  and I only see what I have been denied. Instead of celebrating the goodness and generosity of Jesus, I grumble. And in my grumbling, I sin. I want my heart to be content with life in Jesus. I want to rejoice with others as Jesus brings blessing into their lives as well. I want to be satisfied with Jesus alone. All these gifts and blessings are nice, but knowing Christ is my full satisfaction. Then I can readily rejoice with Zacchaeus as he gets to host a celebration for Jesus. And I’m invited to this celebration. And I can join in the celebration of Jesus. I can make much of Jesus in every occasion!

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