Is jealousy ever a good thing? Dictionary.com defines jealousy this way: “resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself. mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims.” That doesn’t sound good. In fact, it sounds like the opposite and something to avoid at all costs. If that’s true, then what do you do with the Old Testament passage that says that “God is a jealous God?” or the New Testament passage that says Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37
It’s a good thing when it pursues commitment. It’s a good thing when it protects. It’s a good thing when it causes you to become accountable for your actions. It’s a good thing when it causes you to draw closer to our Creator.
When a passage in the Bible appears to be confusing or cloudy, it’s important to use sound principles of interpretation including context and set meaning in light of clearer passages elsewhere. That’s what’s going on here. Jesus loves the family. You see it throughout the Scriptures. He states that marriage is honorable in Matthew 5. He says that children should honor their father and mother in Matthew 15. In Matthew 19 He teaches that from the beginning in the Garden of Eden, a husband and wife are to be one.
So, what’s the point? Simple. Jesus is powerfully stating that He matters. He matters more than marriage, more than family, more than a job, more than ministry, even more than life itself. Where does Jesus fall on your priority scale? High or Low? He’s jealous and wants you and me to grow deeper in our commitment.