Don’t Always Listen To The Crowd

 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”

(Luke 19:7)

In Chapter 18, prior to Jesus coming into Jericho, Jesus encountered a blind man who simply wanted Jesus to heal him and help him to see. As the man cried out to Jesus, the crowd had warned the man to be quiet but the man didn’t listen and cried out all the more. This caught Jesus attention which led to the man’s healing simply because the man chose not to listen to the crowd.

Now in chapter 19 we encounter Zacchaeus, who simply wanted to get a better view of Christ as he came through Jericho. The problem was that he was short in stature and couldn’t see because of the crowd, so he climbed a sycamore tree and waited excitedly for Jesus to come.  Jesus took notice of Zacchaeus and called out to him in verse 5 saying:

Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.

Zacchaeus hurried down excitedly and joyfully received the Lord, but then the negative comments came from the crowd in verse 7:

 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”

Why is it when we are crying out to God for help or simply want to see Him more clearly and climb a bit higher spiritually to do so, that people have to become negative? Shouldn’t we encourage people all the more to cry out or climb higher for that view? There are a great many lessons to learn from the two scriptures and today we will learn a few!

When we are trying to improve ourselves be it in healing or to get a closer view of Christ, there are two ways to get noticed by God…crying out and climbing higher spiritually. If Christ, the blind man and Zacchaeus had listened to the crowd, nothing would have happened. There would have been no healing and no salvation. The blind man continued crying out until he was heard by Christ. Christ took notice and healed him. Zacchaeus household never would have received salvation if Christ had listened to the crowd and if Zacchaeus never would have spoken up after the negative comments as we see in vs 19:

Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”

The healing of the blind man and the salvation of Zacchaeus could have happened down the road perhaps, but this was a crucial time as Christ was passing through. Christ took this opportunity to prove to the crowd about judging someone from the outside. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. Tax collectors were hated because they were Jews who worked for the Romans. In our day they may be considered traitors. On top of that, they had the authority to walk up to someone on the street and tax them for what they were carrying.  Some tax collectors abused their position and no doubt overtaxed, keeping some of the money. So we can see why it doesn’t make them popular people. However, not all were like that and Jesus took this opportunity to prove this to the crowd. Without saying a word, He exposed Zacchaeus’s heart…he was a giving man, giving half of what he made to the poor. He was also an honorable man, paying back fourfold of anything he took from anyone by false accusation. This was something the people did not know or see because Zacchaeus didn’t announce it to them as the Pharisee priests did when they did something good. They wanted everyone to see it. But in Matthew 6:2-4 Jesus states the following:

Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Now the crowd is aware there is more to Zacchaeus than his job. Jesus had vindicated Zacchaeus through this situation. And because of his good heart, taking the initiative to climb higher to see Christ and joyfully receiving Him, Christ brought salvation to his household. But what if they had listened to the crowd…

The blind man in chapter 18 had heard the commotion of people passing by and was curious so he asked what was going on. The crowd told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by so in verse 38 the man cried out:

And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Yet he was warned to be quiet by the crowd. This only made the man cry out more which was enough to get Jesus attention, ask the man what he wanted and gave it to him due to his faith as we see in verse 42-43:

Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Both the blind man and Zacchaeus had problems that made it difficult for them to view Jesus. The blind man was…blind. Zacchaeus was short and hindered by the crowd. However, neither one allowed their condition to stop them from seeking Jesus out. We should never allow our physical problems nor our shortcomings to hinder us from seeking Christ out.

There are times we may hear things about people as a warning but we must be careful how we look at them. If we were to listen to every negative thing one person says about another, it could prohibit us from ever bringing the gospel to that person and hinder them from receiving salvation. As a Christian, if we listen to every person who speaks negatively about another because  that person is going through a difficult time, this could prohibit us from doing what we are supposed to do as Christians and encourage that person to trust in God and keep moving forward. If we are the ones crying out to God for healing or the one trying to get a better view of God by climbing higher to see Him we must not listen to those who tell us to stop and to be quiet. We must cry out all the louder and climb all the higher to receive what God has for us. We must never allow anyone to stop us from crying out or climbing higher to reach God. We must be persistent because in our persistent nature of seeking God for healing or to learn more about Him, He will notice us and give us what we are seeking.

Take time out today to cry out to God for that healing or simply to climb higher spiritually in prayer, reading the Word and/or fasting. Our God is a faithful God and will reward your diligence as He did for the blind man and Zacchaeus!