The first murder was the fruit of a heart that had been rotted out by envy. The worst murder–the crucifixion of Jesus––was no different. Christ was crucified because of the envy of the Jewish leaders. Christ spoke with power & authority. Christ’s ministry was accompanied by irrefutable miracles. The crowds hung on Jesus’ every word, and followed Him loyally. The same couldn’t be said of the priests & Pharisees.
But this is why Christ’s death and resurrection is so potent. It incapacitated the mechanics of ever-escalating envy. The Resurrection of Christ from the dead ensured that this world could no longer run on the machinery of envy.
Our sinful instinct is to strive with our neighbor for power & position, for love & loyalty, for gold & glory. This leads us to speak poisoned words of resentment. It fills our minds with mutinous vanity, and bitter grudges. Our actions aim at kneecapping our rivals.
The cross of our Lord Jesus puts an end to all this. You no longer need to strive with your brother, because Christ died for sinners. You no longer need to harbor that grudge, because Christ was buried. You no longer need to knock others down a notch, because Christ is risen & ascended. The war to be the last man standing was won by the man who laid His life down for us all. You can be at peace with your neighbor, because Christ has made peace between you & the Father.
Perhaps you’ve been storing up envy in bulk. You’ve been inwardly muttering about how he’s more well-respected, she has all the nicest things, they had better circumstances growing up than you did, your parents weren’t as godly as others. That inner chorus of envy is the hymn of damnation. Refuse to sing it. Let it echo into silence in the empty tomb, for Christ is risen.
The strife is ended. Our envy and bitter carping has been rendered powerless, because the Son drank up the full cup of God’s divine wrath. But we, like fools, try to resurrect the old grudges, but the Gospel declares to us that the Son was resurrected to end them all. The debts of our sin are all paid, and now we can forgive as God, in Christ, has forgiven us. May the Lord grant us grace to live in the New Creation of grace & peace, instead of trying to stoke the fires of envy & strife.
Where we have craved vain glory, may God forgive us. Where we have lusted for carnal gratification, may God forgive us. Where we have conspired to bring ruin to those around us, may God forgive us. And may He grant that we would rejoice in the liberation from all our envy. Christ is alive, and the guilt and shame of your sin is dead and buried. If you are in Christ, You partake of the New Creation glory, and the foundation stone of that glory is this Gospel we declare, God, in Christ, has forgiven all your sins.