As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.
Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Mark 15:1-11
I am always amazed how relationships can fall apart over jealousy, and how an innocent can become a victim because of jealousy. Gatherings of adult children in a family can become pandemonium when unspoken jealousy rears it's head. Deep hurts happen when people who love one another don't speak about old jealousies. Years ago I was with a group of women, and we had all been friends as teenagers. Each in turn we talked about how we thought the others had it together and how jealous we were of their stuff- boyfriend, parents, intellect, beauty. We were all wrong about one another and assured each other there was no reason for the jealousy. We shed a lot of tears as we laughed together that night.
Jesus is brought before the crowd by Pilate, who thinks that the jealous madness of the priests would have not infected the crowd. But he was wrong. Jealousy is like that and jealous people can talk a good game about the failings of the target. Despite the fact that Pilate knew of their jealousy, he was helpless to stop the blood thirsty crowd. Our basest human nature wants to destroy those who we think are making us feel less than whole, the people who we are jealous of. We are being invited today to understand how dangerous jealousy can be, and how wrong we can often be about other people. God loves us all intimately and we are invited to focus on that, and not on our shortcomings or our jealousies.
Today I ask God to help me see the good in others and accept them as true gifts from the Creator. May we set jealousy and envy aside, trusting that God is working always for us and there is always more need hidden in others than we can ever imagine.