When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” (Luke 19: 5-7)
Have you ever wondered who “All the people” were who muttered? All those people were sinners too, and they were only too eager to cast that title to Zacchaeus. Jesus came for sinners- including Zacchaeus and “all the people”.
“All the people” muttered their judgement- under their breath- characterizing Jesus’s decision to visit Zacchaeus. They are no different from Zacchaeus. Perhaps they were not tax collectors, but they were sinners.
Jesus doesn’t address the crowd, or their muttering- in fact, He does not even acknowledge it. What a lesson to us. There are crowds of mutterers everywhere and we do not need to react to it.
Zacchaeus is not deterred by the crowd or their comments. Zacchaeus does not lash back and exchange insults with the mutterers. In fact, Zacchaeus is motivated by the entire circumstance and that motivation brings about great change.
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
Jesus met Zacchaeus right where glory meets with suffering; the hurt and Healer collide.