The Little Brother
Verse 1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Jude is one of the shortest books in the Bible. The 5th shortest to be exact, when judged by words in the original language. With this book being so short it is a wonder that it isn’t read more often. Maybe it is because for being a short book it is not short on touchy topics.
Before we jump into the tough topics let’s lay a little groundwork on this guy named Jude. We can see from the way he identifies himself that he is a brother of James and therefore a half-brother of Jesus. Of course that also makes him the son of Mary and Joseph. Like his brother, James, Jude didn’t understand who Jesus was as they were growing up and even during Jesus’ ministry. By some standards they were late to the party of seeing Jesus as the Messiah. But as the saying goes, “better late, than never.” Jude identifies himself as a servant of Christ, so we know that he not only came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah but also was engaged in working for the Kingdom of God.
Unlike James, Jude is not someone we know much about. He must have been known by some of the early Church or it is unlikely such a powerful letter would have been written and received. He says that he is writing to the called and so we know that he understood the doctrine of election and was writing to the Church, whom he believed to be the elect.
He shows in his opening to them what he believed to be the relationship between God and His elect. He saw them as loved by God and set apart for the Lord Jesus Christ. These two things remain as qualities of those of us that are elect. God loves us, He sent His Son to die for our sins and He has called us apart from the world as an inheritance for Christ.
These two things should help us understand the rest of this letter and the importance of us heeding its message. God would not have inspired Jude to write this epistle if He didn’t want us to pay attention and obey. Jude had been able to witness the glory of God in Jesus as they grew although he didn’t understand it until later. He also understood how important it is for us to live as Jesus would have us.
Making It Personal
Have you ever thought about what it was growing up with Jesus as the perfect older brother? What does it mean to you that God loves you and has set you apart for Christ? Do you live as one who is set apart for Him?
Making It Personal Kids
What do you think it was like growing up with Jesus? How much do you think God loves you? What do you think it means that God is giving you as a special gift to Jesus?
Father, as we dig into this book, help us to pay attention to the dangers that we may have to deal with. Thank You for loving us like You do and for setting us apart for Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen.