(Animosity): Means strong enmity filled with hatred which leads to killing and all types of harm.
In this verse, the Jews are mentioned first followed by the idolaters. Is it not wondrous that when the Noble Quran was sent down, it stated first the enmity of the Jews, who are the People of the Book, and then the enmity of the Polytheists, who are worshippers of idols? More than 1400 years have passed since the revelation of the Noble Quran, and it is clear that it is true, as Allah (swt) says:
قُلْ صَدَقَ اللَّهُ
(Say, “Allah has told the truth.) (Ali-Imran: 95)
When Allah (swt) sent down the Quran unto the heart of the Prophet (saws), He (swt) knew what the Jews were doing and what they would do. They have persisted in their enmity since that time till this instance. They are behind every hatred, accusing of disbelief, terrorism and aggression in the name of Islam, that are happening in the Arabian lands and the rest of the world. Every time they kindled the fire of war, Allah (swt) extinguished it. Due to this, Allah (swt) says: (You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews). Allah’s saying is the truth since they are more intense in animosity towards the believers than the idolaters.
(… وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُم مَّوَدَّةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَىٰ … ) (…and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” …): This bond expressed by the Holy Quran is the bond of affection, which is greater than any other humanly bond. This is the bond that connects the Muslims to the Christians.
(… ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًا… ) (…That is because among them are priests and monks …): The priests are those who have dedicated themselves to divine knowledge; the knowledge of the Injil (The bible). The monks are those who have dedicated themselves to worship.
( وَأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ… ) (…because they are not arrogant): Among the teachings found in The Bible is: ‘If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and give him the left.’ The rulings brought by the Prophet ‘Isa (PBUH) are based on love, mercy and peace. They also contain a big amount of humility. This is proven by the reality today and what we observe throughout history. When the Christian Delegation of Najran came to meet the Prophet (saws), they entered the Prophetic Mosque with their crosses. He took off his scarf, asked them to sit on it and honoured them. When the Muslims were besieged in the glen of Abu Talib and were tortured and oppressed, the Prophet (saws) told them to migrate to Abyssinia, saying:
“If you were to depart to the land of Abyssinia, you would find in it a king under whose rule no one is oppressed.”
So, they sought refuge in the Christian Negus, who protected them from the oppression of the polytheists then. Later, when ‘Amr bin al-‘Ass- who was a close friend of Negus- and some men of Quraysh pursued the Muslims to Abyssinia, ‘Amr informed the Negus that these Muslims had made fun of their Gods and said bad things about them and that the Holy Quran calls refers to the Christians as disbelievers and he presented other things regarding them. Accordingly, the Negus ordered that one of the Muslims come forward to speak. Ja’far bin Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), the brother of Ali (may Allah honour his face) came forward and said: “O King, we were ignorant people; we worshipped idols, ate carrion, buried the girls alive, committed iniquities, broke the ties of kinship, abused our neighbours, and the strong amongst us devoured the weak, in such a state were we, until Allah (swt) sent to us a Messenger from amongst us; we knew of his lineage, his veracity, his trustworthiness, his virtuousness.” The Negus asked, “What did he command you to do?” Ja’far (may Allah be pleased with him) answered: “He ordered us to speak truthfully, to fulfill the trust, to secure the ties of kinship, to be good to our neighbours, to cease the senseless shedding of blood, to refrain from iniquity, perjury, pilfering the money of orphans, and slandering honorable women. He ordered us to pray and give charity.” The Negus then said: “By God, you will not be oppressed as long as you are with me.”
When Ja’far (may Allah be pleased with him) spoke of what the Prophet (saws) had ordered them to do, he did not mention the differences in creed. Instead, he informed them of the issues connected to manners, such as being good to one’s neighbours, not pilfering the money of orphans, not slandering honourable women, not lying and fabricating lies, not killing, not committing unlawful acts, not burying infant girls and to be trustworthy and truthful in speech. These etiquettes and values are what unite the religions. As for a person’s creed, Allah (swt) is the One who will judge them for it.
 Ar-Raudh al-Anef : Volume 2, Page : 90.