And the summer journey ends with….Jude. I have loved my summer wanderings through the Bible where I have been writing on books of the Bible and my favorite passages. For my last blog in this series, until maybe next summer, I took a look at the short book of Jude. It is a letter with just 25 verses, but is packed with wisdom for the ages. Jude proclaims himself to be a servant of Jesus and a brother of James. James was a prominent Christian leader in the Jerusalem church after Jesus’ resurrection and the author of the book of James. Both were half-brothers of Jesus as listed in Matthew 13:55 “ Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas.” Later in Acts 1:14 Jesus’ brothers are mentioned but not by name. “ They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.” Jude or Judas was a humble man as he did not presume upon favoritism because he was Jesus’ brother. He saw Jesus as His Lord and Savior, and he desired to be known and seen as a servant.
In the beginning Jude says he desires to talk about salvation but feels compelled by the Holy Spirit to instruct and warn them about men who seek to disrupt, mislead and change the gospel message. In verse 16 he says, “ These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.” Times have not changed that much as we also need to be aware, wary and alert to those who would distort and/or seek to change the gospel message of love, grace, salvation and hope we have in Jesus. Jude calls the believers then and now to persevere for the sake of Christ. Verses 17-23 are a call to step up in our faith and hold fast to Jesus. “
17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.“
The question we need to ask ourselves is, which group am I in? Do I add to the descension and unrest in the church or am I a peacemaker that holds to the truth of the gospel seeking unity? Am I diligent in prayer and seek to focus on Jesus? Am I kind in dealing with others seeking to show mercy? Do I love the sinner and yet hate the sins that plague mankind? These are ancient questions that still need answers from dedicated believers today.
Lastly, my favorite benediction is found in Jude 24-25. It is worth memorizing! “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
We serve an a mighty God as He is able in all things!