Friday, September 9, 2011
The Envy of God
Matthew 27:15-23 (ESV) Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted.  And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.  So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"  For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.  Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream."  Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.  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 shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Let him be crucified!"  And he said, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Let him be crucified!" “For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.” Envy, covetousness, this is what it leads to when you let it run rampant. They delivered him up out of envy, he was more popular than they were. (One wonders what they would have done to the Beatles. Bad joke) I do think this envy is in all of us. It is this envy that drives many to do away with Christ. It is this envy that drives many to hold so tenaciously to the dogma of evolution, which even some prominent atheists admit flies in the face of common sense. It is a perverted fear of God, a fear that there might be a god, and that might infringe on their right to be god. It is the genius of Mormonism to play off this envy, and offer to man the idea that they can be gods. It is this desire that drives them to hold to these dogmas with the same tenacity that atheists hold to evolution. It is also this desire, this envy, to attain the unattainable goal, that causes unrest for the soul. Here the Pharisees, the priests, the elders see the popularity of Jesus, one they think is a mere man, despite every evidence that he is God, that he is the Christ. They refuse to see it. to admit it would be to deny their god, would be to deny themselves. They are envious of his popularity, popularity they covet. They are envious of his ability to teach. They are envious of a homeless man. They are envious of a man with no children. They are envious of a man who lives day to day, off the charity of others. It is amazing. But in reality they are envious of God. It is envy of God that stands in the way of the fulfillment of life available now. God provides all we need, all we could want. But in vain we search for immortality, not within the gates of heaven. Not as a doorman to the heavenly courts. No we want immortality within the tents of the wicked. We want immortality on earth. Vanity of Vanity, that is the vanity of life. Nothing we do here will last forever. Nothing we do here will be of lasting importance, except that which we do in Christ, who has risen from the dead. For this world will pass away, and for this reason it cannot offer immortality. Perhaps here on earth we can remember the deeds of a few great souls, the philosophers of ancient Greece, the Emperors of Rome, the great authors. We can remember their contributions to society. But there is no immortality there, and even if they are remembered to the end of the age, their accomplishments will not be remembered for eternity. For this world will pass away like a worn out garment. Augustine it was who said his soul found no rest until if found rest in God. (paraphrase.) Augustine had a rilliant mind, one of the most brilliant Western Civ. Has ever known. He is remembered to this day, revered in the church. It’s quite possible that even if he had not come to faith we would still know his name for his contributions to society. He was one who could give king Solomon a run for his money. He chased the wind for a good portion of his life. His soul found no rest. But when it is that we come to faith in God, when we stop trying to be gods like the wicked, when we are now content to be God’s doorman, should that be what he wants us to do, then our lives enjoy more fulfillment than we could have ever hoped for. Then it is that life become profoundly more enjoyable more fulfilled. Because the reality is, God wants us to enjoy life. It is why he gives us life and takes care of us, even when we’re evil. There in his love is life fulfilled, life enjoyed in the arms of a loving wife, in the simple fare of bread and wine, the simple satisfaction of a job well done. And it is this that Christ came to give, rest for our souls, to find rest in forgiveness and joy in life, when our envy crucified him.