Envy is one of the greatest causes [behind being prevented from accepting the truth], for indeed it is an ingrained disease in the soul. The envious one sees that the one he envies has been given virtue over him or has been given the likes of that which he has not been given; therefore this envy prevents him from complying with [the truth he is being called to follow by the the one he envies]. Iblees was not prevented from prostrating to Adam [i.e. out of respect, when Allaah commanded him and the angels to do so], except out of envy; for indeed when he saw that Adam was given virtue over him and was raised above him, he chose disbelief over Eemaan, even though he [Iblees] used to be in the company of the angels.
This disease [i.e. envy] is what prevented the Yahood from believing in Eesaa Ibn Maryam [alayhis-salaam], even though they knew -without doubt – that he is a Messenger of Allaah, who came with clear proofs and guidance; but envy led them to choose disbelief over Eemaan and complied with it, even though they were a nation amongst whom were Rabbis, scholars, Zuhhaad [i.e. those who abstained from those lawful but unnecessary pleasures of the worldly life], judges, kings and rulers. This [was their behaviour] when the Messiah came with the legislation of the Tawraat and he did not bring a legislation in opposition to it, nor did he fight them; rather he came to make lawful some of that which was made unlawful for them in order to lighten the burden [upon them]- out of mercy and kindness. He came to complete the legislation in the Tawraat, but they all chose disbelief over Eemaan.
[Source: Hidaayatul Hayaaraa Fee Ajwibatil Yahood Wan-Nasaaraa’ page 18…Abridged and slightly paraphrased]