"And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, 'This man receives sinners and eats with them'" (Luke 15:2).
Ordinarily, we don't like to hear grumbling. No one does that I'm aware of.
In Exodus 16, the children of Israel "grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness." Moses informed them, "Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord." We should remember that grumbling about a person appointed by God is really grumbling about God.
No one was ever more appointed than God's own Son. And yet "the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, 'This man receives sinners and eats with them.'"
Ordinarily, we think of the Pharisees as being wrong about things. But in this case, they could not have been more right. Ordinarily, we don't like to listen to grumbling. But in this case, you could listen to it all day! For they spoke the truth! They preached the Gospel!
"This man," they grumbled, refusing even to say His name. That's okay. Use it to remember that God's own Son became man for us. What's more, "This man receives sinners."
Has a better sermon ever been preached? Has grumbling ever sounded so good? So soothing?
But only to the one who believes himself a sinner. For then the meaning is: This man, who is also true God, receives me. He loves me, forgives me, feeds me with His body, and helps me in every way.
Here's a twist: Thank God for the Pharisees. Grumbling never sounded so good.