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Monday, November 7, 2016

The "Green-eyed Monster" (Mark 15:10; Matthew 27:18)

"For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy."

Just as the color green is associated with sickness, (people's skin sometimes takes on a slightly yellow/green tinge when they are seriously ill-I've actually seen this happen after an Oklahoma white boy ate from a boiled goat's head in Africa!) so too does one's soul "turn a bit green" as he/she envies the position or possession of another.

The idiom "green eyed monster" was used and possibly coined by Shakespeare to denote jealousy or envy in several of his famous writings. Pilate ascribes envy to the chief priests and elders' murderous behavior "knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him". Jealousy over Jesus' miracles and the crowds' adoring (and fickle) response discolored their souls and drove them to concoct a plan to have Jesus executed. Envy does that. It doesn't remain static but moves into action either by word or in deed.

James warns of the dangers of bitter envy and self-seeking, "But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but it earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there" (James 3:14-16).

Beware of desirous thoughts regarding the possessions and positions of others. Guard your heart. Take thoughts of envy and jealousy captive to the obedience of Christ. Don't give them place in your heart and life. They breed little "green-eyed monsters" which destroy your soul and your relationship with others. Moved into action, like boll weevils in cotton, envy accomplishes great and irreparable harm.

Questions for today's Chronological reading:
Mark 15:6-15; Matthew 27:15-26; Luke 23:25; John 18:39-19:16
  • Describe the behavior of the religious leaders.
  • How does Pilate view their behavior toward Jesus?
  • What does this tell you about the discernment of the watching world regarding the behavior of religious people?
  • What are the religious leaders most concerned about and to what lengths will they go to keep their power/position?
  • How are the crowds stirred by the chief priests?
  • What does the soldier's mockery reveal about their attitude toward the religious? toward Jesus?
  • Why does Jesus humbly submit to the chief priest's treachery and Pilate's questioning?
Mark 15:16-20a; Matthew 27:27-31
  • How do the soldiers mock Jesus?
  • What does this tell you about mockery?
Luke 23:26-32; Mark 15:20b-21; Matthew 27:32; John 19:17a
  • How does Jesus use what is happening to both comfort and warn the women and others?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to reveal and root out areas of envy in your heart.