Monday, November 4

The corrosion of envy

Scripture: Job 26-27, Mark 15-16

Mark 15:10 For he (Pilate) was aware that the chief priests hand handed Him over because of envy.


Pilate tried to release Jesus, but the Jewish leaders insisted that he be crucified, and stirred up the crowds to ask for Barabbas’ release and Jesus’ death.  Pilate understood their motive to be envy.  The Greek word is phthonos, which means envy or jealousy; the state of feeling displeasure or ill-will toward someone because of their advantage or prosperity.  Jesus’ popularity had become a threat to them politically, but also personally, emotionally.  They were jealous, envious—and it led to this most monstrous crime: the murder of God’s Son.


I’ve felt jealousy and envy before.  And it’s not good.  It’s corrosive to one’s soul.  And it can lead to bad decisions as our text illustrates.  How blind, how twisted your judgment must be to think it right to crucify Jesus!  Yet that is where their envy led them.  

In the NT, envy is always a vice, never a virtue.  It is listed as one of the acts of the flesh (the fallen human nature) in Galatians 5:21.  In Romans 1:29, Titus 3:3,  and 1 Timothy 6:4 it is listed among vices that are common among unbelievers but are to be put off by those who know Jesus.  Peter says, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”  1 Peter 2:1

Any time you feel jealousy or envy, move toward Jesus and ask Him to change your heart.  We want to celebrate with others their good fortune, not resent it.  Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice.”  

Prayer: Lord, purge out of my heart every tinge of envy or jealousy, and help me to celebrate with others Your goodness and blessing.