Envy and the Crucifixion of Christ

crucifixion of Jesus Christ, envy No Comments

     There are two passages of Scripture in the New Testament that reveal one of the motives involved in bringing about Jesus’ death was envy.  The first is Matthew 27:18 where Pilate perceived that envy was involved in the desire of the chief priests and elders of the Jews to crucify Jesus.  “For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.”  The second is found in Mark 15:10 and is parallel to Matthew 27:18.   An astute observation is made by Pilate who was interested in the motives of the Jewish leaders who insisted on the death of Jesus.
     For an insight into the nature of envy as it works in the hearts of these Jewish leaders, consider the following quotation from Elsa Ronningstam.  Drew Pinsky quotes Ronningstam in his own book, The Mirror Effect, p. 160.  He is quoting from Ronningstam’s book, Understanding and Identifying the Narcissistic Personality.  Here’s the quote:
     “Envy-prone people who experience goodness in another person feel the goodness to be painfully insufficient and resent both their own dependency upon the other and the other’s control over the goodness.  Envy is defined as hatred directed toward good objects. Compared to “regular” hatred, in which the good object is protected (and) the bad object is attacked, in hatred with primitive envy another’s goodness is experienced as a threat to the person’s own grandiosity or idealized self-experience, and the goodness is destroyed.  In other words, by attacking the good object, the person is trying to ward off feelings of pain, vulnerability, dependency, and defectiveness that are evoked by recognizing the threatening goodness in another person.  Envy can destroy the possibility for hope and diminish capacity for enjoyment.”
     Pilate attempted to release Jesus because he knew He was innocent.  However, the chief priests and elders pressed the issue and demanded that Barabbas be released and Jesus be crucified.  “But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.  And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?  And they cried out again, Crucify him” (Mark. 15:11-13).
     Envy played a significant role in the crucifixion of Jesus.  The Jewish leaders hated Jesus because they knew that He possessed a greatness and goodness that they would never possess.  Jesus became the object of their hatred because they despised His goodness!  They attacked the goodness they saw in Jesus because of the profound defectiveness they felt in themselves!  
     In the final analysis, envy, working in the hearts of these men, destroyed the most noble of all lives–the life of the only begotten Son of God.