The Jews Are Vexed With Jealousy
The Jews considered themselves God's chosen people, and they did not want to share this position with any rival. When they saw the Gentiles wholeheartedly responding to the message, the Jews felt like they were being displaced. (Remember, God's acceptance of others is not His rejection of us!)
Jealousy and envy never trouble a man who has pure motives. When our motive is to exalt the Lord and not ourselves, we will never have jealousy. If we are trying to be number one, we will have no end of jealousy and envy. Are you troubled with jealousy? Check out your motives! Jealousy is always connected to motives.
Here is the end result of envy and jealousy—it is wickedness. “They were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” A man who smokes a pipe or drinks occasionally will make it to heaven a lot easier than the man who is infected with jealousy. Jealousy and envy poison the whole person. Think of King Saul, for example. The Gospel always went to the Jews first. When Paul entered a new city, he always headed for the synagogue and presented the Gospel to them first. If they rejected the message, he then felt free to preach to the Gentiles outside of the synagogues. Thus, we see the start of churches.
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