WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 30, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T BE ENVIOUS OF ANYONE
BY T. O. BANSO
“For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy” (Mark 15:10 New King James Version).
One of the lessons to learn from Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem, which also extends to his arrest and crucifixion, is not to be envious of anyone. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day belonged to the old order and were not only uncomfortable with His teachings, but they were also envious of His miracles and popularity. They began to plot how to kill Him.
The religious leaders manifested their envy of Jesus during his triumphant entry to Jerusalem. Luke 19:37-38 says, “Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” (New King James Version).
The Pharisees among the multitudes objected to the praise of Jesus by the multitude. Why? I believe it was because they were not the ones the crowd was praising as the promised Messiah or king. I don’t think it was to prevent a punitive action by the Roman authorities for calling Jesus a king, which could be seen as a revolt.
John 11:47-48 says, “Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, ‘What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation’” (New King James Version). Their problem was envy. Jesus had no plan to lead or cause any revolt against Rome.
They saw the multitude’s praise of Jesus as the king who came in the name of the LORD as blasphemous and undermining their power and authority. The Pharisees always loved the praise of men. Jesus said, “But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’” (Matthew 23:5-7 New King James Version).
Jesus described the Pharisees as hypocrites and had warned His disciples not to be like them. “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward” (Matthew 6:1-2 New King James Version).
Jesus said, unlike the hypocrites, His disciples should do their charitable deed in secret; and their Father who saw in secret would reward them openly. The same Pharisees who loved the praise of men were displeased that the multitude was praising Jesus. They were envious and told Jesus to rebuke His disciples (Luke 19:39). Rebuke them for what?
What was wrong with the multitude rejoicing and praising God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen? What was wrong in saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest”? The only thing wrong was that Jesus was the recipient of the praise, not the Pharisees. They would have loved that they were the ones being celebrated.
Jesus was not a political king, even though the multitude had a wrong notion. They wanted a political king who would free Israel from Roman domination and restore her kingdom. But Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world. In John 6:15, when Jesus perceived that His followers were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
When Jesus rode on a colt into Jerusalem, He did it intentionally to reveal Himself as the promised king, the Messiah, in fulfilment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. He didn’t ride on a horse but on a colt,a lowly animal, which was a symbol of peace. Riding on a horse would have signified war. But Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
The multitude accorded Him a grand reception as He rode on a colt into Jerusalem. He knew He was getting close to His crucifixion and the end of His earthly ministry. He answered the Pharisees, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40 New King James Version). Jesus offered no apology for what the multitude said. The Pharisees were the ones to find a cure for their envy!
Unfortunately, they couldn’t find a cure for it. The Pharisees and the other religious leaders conspired out of envy to arrest Jesus and crucify Him. Their plot got a boost with Judas Iscariot who offered to hand him over to them for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16). He led a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees that arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18:1-11).
During Jesus’ trial, it was evident that their charges against Him were false. Pilate didn’t find Him guilty. He would have set Him free if he had demonstrated enough courage because he said Jesus was innocent (Luke 23:14; John 18:38; 19:4, 6). Nevertheless, he confirmed that Jesus was handed over to be crucified out of envy.
Matthew 27:18 says, “For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy” (New King James Version). Mark 15:10 says a similar thing: “For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy” (New King James Version). Did you see the word envy?
Also, Pilate’s wife warned her husband during the trial to “Leave that innocent man alone, because I had a terrible nightmare about him last night” (Matthew 27:19 New Living Translation). Even the betrayer, Judas, in his belated attempt to withdraw from the plot after Jesus had been condemned, said he had betrayed an innocent man (Matthew 27:4).
Furthermore, the captain of the Roman soldiers handling the executions saw what happened when Jesus breathed His last. The thick veil hanging in the Temple was torn apart. He praised God and said surely “this man was innocent” (Luke 23:47 New Living Translation).
The religious leaders were envious of someone they were supposed to be celebrating. Their envy of Jesus was further proof that their religion was empty; they were hypocrites as Jesus described them. Jesus said of them in Matthew 23:15: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (New King James Version).
The religious leaders handed over Jesus to be crucified because they were envious of Him. They couldn’t perform any miracle! They couldn’t pull the kind of crowd always gathering to listen to Jesus. They had no multitude to follow them! They were against His teachings, which were against their traditions.
Whenever they came to listen to Him, they always had an ulterior motive. For instance, Mark 12:13 says the religious leaders sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. They always sought His downfall because of envy.
Don’t be envious of anyone. Deal with envy in your life. You could be going to church and reading the Bible and still be possessed by the spirit of envy. You could even be a pastor and be envious of some members of your congregation or fellow pastors. Envy is part of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:21).
1 Corinthians 3:3 says, “For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (New King James Version). Envy is one of the things listed in Galatians 5:21 that those who practise them will not inherit the kingdom of God. Repent of envy before it makes you do the unimaginable.
Who would have expected that the religious leaders would kill Jesus out of envy? But that was Pilate’s conclusion. Also, Cain killed his brother out of envy. Because the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering, Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell (Genesis 4:4-5). He eventually killed his brother.
The brothers of Joseph sold him to slavery in Egypt out of envy but God was with him and gave him favour and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He made him governor over Egypt and all his house.
Don’t be envious of anyone. God can choose someone for a particular assignment or give someone certain gifts or opportunities. Don’t envy anyone. You also have some things other people lack. In Psalm 68, the majestic mountains of Bashan were envious of Mount Zion. “The majestic mountains of Bashan stretch high into the sky. Why do you look with envy, O rugged mountains, at Mount Zion, where God has chosen to live, where the LORD himself will live forever? ” (Psalm 68:15-16 New Living Translation). The envy was needless because it was God who chose Mount Zion for the site of the Temple even if the other mountains felt more qualified.
In Ezekiel 35:11, God promised to judge and punish Mount Seir (Edom) according to her anger and envy which she showed in her hatred against Israel. The ancestors of the Edomites and the Israelites were brothers, Esau and Jacob respectively. But the Edomites always worked against the Israelites and supported their enemies.
Some people are so consumed with envy that they even envy evil-doers or sinners. If they’re not careful, such people would join them. Psalm 73:3 says, “For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (New King James Version). The Bible warns against being envious of the sinners, the wicked, or the evil-doers (Proverbs 24:1-2, 19-20; 3:31-32; 23:17). Don’t be envious of the evil-doers or workers of iniquity because they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb (Psalm 37:1-2).
A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones (Proverbs 14:30). Repent of envy. Don’t envy anyone. There is more about people that you don’t know than what you see in public that you know. Walk in love towards others.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, deliver me from envy. Let me not be envious of anyone. Holy Spirit, help me to profit with the talents God has given me and not be envious of anyone’s talents. I shall walk in love with others and not be envious of them.
(For about 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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