Saturday, July 28, 2018

Out of Jealousy

Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”  Matthew 27:11-23 
Jealousy is one of the most destructive, insidious human attribute. Good people have been destroyed in seconds by some cruel, well-placed people. They can whip a crowd into their anger, draw them into a place of such cruelty and destruction. As a teenage girl I felt the cruelty and abuse of other girls, only to find out later that they were jealous of me. We shared this as adults, as I sat with then old friends and was in awe of their revelation. I believed I was nothing to be jealous of, and was so awkward that I could never have imagined their jealousy. We all have moments when we realized the foolishness of jealousy - but it is often too late and too much damage has been done.
Today, we find ourselves seeing Jesus with Pilate and the crowd. Pilate recognizes that the religious authorities were jealous of his following, his power and capacity. They didn't want to give up any of their authority. They were able to bribe Judas and find ways to fuel the crowd. Jealous people in power can be the cruelest of all - often innocents get destroyed. So we find Jesus condemn because of jealousy and the weakness and fear of the ruler. God invites us to examine the places we might find jealousy in our hearts and realize how dangerous that jealousy might be.
Today I ask God to help me examine my heart and mind and rid myself of jealousy and envy. May we rid ourselves of barriers that can obstruct our love and service of others, so that the living God might be known in our world today.

No comments: