Verse 7 says, ‘But when they saw [it], they all fell to muttering, saying: “With a man that is a sinner he went in to lodge.”’ The Pharisees grumbled that Jesus wasn’t shunning the man.
But all the shunning in the world had not helped Zacchaeus up to that point.
The unfortunate truth is: there are many myths that sincere Jehovah’s Witnesses hold in regard to disfellowshipping.
These myths are what cause an “insensibility of their hearts” toward those in the so-called ‘disfellowshipped state’.
Is it valid for a Christian to refuse to follow the Lord’s example, using the excuse, “Well, Jesus was perfect, I am not”? So then, if imperfection is no barrier in showing true Christianity, then neither should our inability to read hearts be a barrier in carrying out Christ’s teachings in our lives. Did Jesus wait for the degree of repentance to be commensurate with the degree of deviation before associating with him?
How could the elders see this woman so obviously repentant and not accept her back immediately?
(Mark 3:5) When an active Witness encounters a disfellowshipped one on the street, you often see severe discomfort in their body language and facial expressions.
In some cases the Witness will even cross to the other side of the road to avoid passing nearby; if it were not so sad, it would be humorous.
When Jesus sees this, do you not think he look down at these men with “indignation, being thoroughly grieved at the insensibility of their hearts”? It is a matter of Watchtower interpretation to be sure!
If we let Scripture define scripture, then maybe we should take Scripture at its word when it says “the seven stars mean [the] angels of the seven congregations”, those congregations to whom Jesus was speaking to in the first century, rather than reinterpreting them to be elder bodies some nineteen hundred years later.