1/11 Matthew 27:18

18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.

Pilate made an attempt to have Jesus released. He knew that Jesus was popular with the crowds but that the Jewish leaders were envious of Jesus' appeal. It wasn't that the Jewish leaders thought Jesus was a threat to Rome. The leaders knew that was just a ruse that could be used against Pilate should he not do their bidding. It wasn't even about their doctrinal differences with Jesus. Jesus taught the crowds to obey the teaching of the leaders. On many points the leaders agreed with Jesus' teaching.

The reason they wanted Jesus dead was envy, plain and simple. He had the crowds. The people would gather around Jesus to hear His every word. Then the people would discuss and ponder what He said. They were awestruck with His miracles of healing. The contrast of Jesus' power and authority with that of the religious leaders made their leaders look out of touch with the people and God.

Envy overcame their reason and religious desire. They ignored the Scriptures they could see fulfilled in Jesus. They thought that if they had Jesus put to death, their honored status would be restored. Did they really think they could kill the One who raised the dead? Envy can be a powerful emotion that causes us to be completely unreasonable to the point of our own destruction.

Consider: We tend to belittle and mock those of whom we are envious because they reveal our own inadequacies. Instead, we should look to see what we are lacking and be glad for the success of others. Churches in a community tend to consider their efforts in competition with one another. If those churches preach without heretical doctrine, we should be glad for their successes. Does it matter who God uses to bring revival? Do we seek our own glory or God's glory?