Matthew 27:18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
During the Lord’s earthly ministry, His most malicious enemies were not common men or even the Roman government. His greatest enemies were the religious leaders charged with maintaining the spiritual purity of the people of God. How could those most religious create discord with the very One who gave them the dictates for the Jewish religion they claimed to defend? The answer is simple. It was envy! According to John 11:48, the religious leadership of Israel determined that they could not allow Jesus to continue teaching, preaching, and ministering to others. These leaders realized that all men would believe on Him causing the Romans to demote them. They would not allow this to happen. How far would they go to keep their place and nation? The Bible reveals that they would even cause the crucifixion of the innocent Son of God.
∙ (For children): Satan was full of pride and envy. He desperately wanted to become God himself but was unsuccessful in his attempts (Ezekiel 28:14-15; Isaiah 14:12-15). He even tried to destroy God manifest in the flesh (Matthew 2:16; Luke 4:28-30; Luke 22:3-4; John 19:15-16). Again, he was unsuccessful (Acts 10:39-42).
∙ (For everyone): To what extent did the religious leaders go to protect their seat of authority in Israel? How did Pilate know that they delivered Jesus to him because of envy?
∙ To what extremes will men go because of envy? What are some of these things you might remember from the Bible? What about Joseph, for example? What are some of the things you might remember from recent news?
∙ Ask the Lord to help you see the wickedness of envy.
∙ Ask God to help you repent of any envy present within your heart.
SONG: GRACE GREATER THAN OUR SIN