The Jealousy of the Jews
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 14:05:04
Acts 17:5 (KJV) - "But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people."
I was reading in the book of Acts this morning and in my reading this verse jumped out at me, not so much for what it says, but what it implies. As a bit of background, Paul had just pulled into Thessalonica and began preaching to the Jews and the Gentiles there. In the process of this many got saved. However, some did not. But what makes their failure to convert so interesting is what they did afterwards. They were moved to envy. Wait, envy? Why would someone who did not believe be moved to envy?
That, my friend, is the answer. They DID believe. Had they not, what reason would they have to be jealous? They did believe Paul and knew what he said was true, but refused to accept the gift of salvation as it would have cut deeply into their corrupt, evil, sinful lives, and they valued their sin more than their Savior. Yet the fact that Paul had something greater than they did, through Salvation in Christ, they became jealous. They wanted all the benefits of Salvation without having to give up their idols of money, fame, and prosperity. In other words, they wanted to have their cake and eat it too.
So they became jealous because Paul had something they wanted, but couldn't have because to get it they'd have to forsake their sins, and they refused to do that. It's like saying, "I want your car AND mine" even though to get my car you have to give up yours in return. They didn't want to trade one lifestyle for another. They wanted them both. But it doesn't work that way. You can either have the world and all its riches, or you can have the very God who made those riches, or eternal death in Hell or Life in Heaven. You can't have both.
But that's clearly what they wanted, even though they didn't recognize it. That's why they became jealous. They were zealous for God. They were jealous for what God had but would not give them because they wouldn't surrender their old life of sin and pick up God's new life of joy, peace, and everlasting life. And with that thought in mind, do you want both, or are you willing to settle for only one? You can't have both, the world and God. You have to choose one. Will you forsake all of this world, and lay down your life for Christ, gaining all in the process, or will you hold onto this world and what little you have only to lose it all in the end?
Personally the choice seems pretty simple to me. This world is dying, and it will some day b ...(read more)
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