When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives,the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen… Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
- Luke 19:37, 39
Religious leaders love to censure people. Perhaps it’s just part of enjoying power, another way of exerting control. Sometimes they criticized Jesus for how his disciples ate grain on the sabbath or declared “Blaspheme!” over something someone said. Here, they are trying to clamp down on joy, trying to keep things respectable. Sort of like the saying, “Children should be seen, not heard” that I was told a few times growing up.
Do you find yourself trying to control other people’s emotional responses to life? Do you try to control your own? Is there a critical voice in the back of your head that says, “Now don't go being too happy - you know things are going to go poorly again soon and you wouldn’t want to be caught off guard.” Or, “Don’t tell anyone that you are happy or encouraged - they probably wouldn’t understand.” Or, “Can’t you see how messed up our world is? How can you be so selfish as to sing joyfully right now!”
Those voices come from our upbringing or our culture or from the shadow side of our own personality. But they don’t come from Jesus. He was remarkably adept at sharing his joy and sorrow, of living in the moment and expressing his heart - without ever being dominated by his emotions.
Spend some time repenting today, turning away from an attitude that seeks to control others or repress yourself. Afterwards, turn to Jesus in joy.