Year 2 Day 316
Read - Jude 1v1
Message - Scott Woodburn
The book of Jude is short and sandwiched between John’s letters and his Revelation. It is no wonder that Jude is often missed by Christians who rush to get into the colours, numbers, beasts and mysteries of the Apocalypse of John. The Reformer Martin Luther didn’t think much about the book of Jude saying that it contained nothing special and yet we must confess Jude to be the Word of God and therefore worthy of study. We’ll be focusing on Jude over the next few weeks and while we will be dealing with a few verses at a time I’d encourage you to read the entirety of the letter each day - it is only 25 verses long.
Jude begins with the simple statement “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” (v1) Who was Jude? He was the brother of James. But which James? Scripture interprets Scripture and in Mark 6 we read about the brothers and sisters of Christ. The Lord’s sisters are not named in Mark 6 but we are told that His brothers are called James, Joses, Judas and Simon (Mark 6v3) Jude is another name for Judas and so when Jude tells us he is the brother of James we are led to believe that Jude is none other than the half-brother of Christ one of Joseph and Mary’s other children.
It’s surprising then that Jude doesn’t mention this fact at the beginning of his letter. Instead he describes himself as a servant of Jesus Christ. It would appear that despite being part of Christ’s earthly family Jude sees no reason to boast. He doesn’t write with arrogance declaring his close family link to Christ. Instead he humbly declares himself to be the servant of his older brother Jesus.
It wasn’t always this way for Jude. John tells us that there was a time that Christ’s brothers didn’t believe (John 7v5) and on one occasion Christ’s family sought to seize Him because they thought he had gone out of His mind (Mark 3v21). However what Jude once rejected he soon came to accept and after Christ’s Ascension we are told that Mary and her sons were with the Apostles and all were devoted to prayer (Acts 1v14).
Do you remember the “Da Vinci Code”? It was a book published nearly 20 years ago which was centred around the supposed family tree and physical descendants of Christ. It was a best seller that spawned both books and movies. I read it at the time and I’d describe it as a fast paced page turner that was ultimately founded upon myths, lies and nonsense. The relations of Christ are of no importance to the Church. Jesus was not married and had no children of His own and we simply have little to no information about his nieces and nephews or the great-great grandchildren of Mary and Joseph. Speculation around these matters might sell books but none of it should concern a Christian.
Jude shows us that being part of Christ’s human family gained you no special privileges. Jude needed to be saved as much as you or I and so he didn’t write to the church boasting of his family connections but instead declaring his love for Jesus. This remains the issue for every man, woman or child. On the last day the Lord will not examine your family tree but instead all that matters will be what you have done with Christ. Will you declare Him to be the subject of a novel you once read or will you declare Him to be your Saviour and friend?
In John’s Gospel we read that Christ came to His own but they didn’t receive Him. Yet to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to be called children of God. Jude had the extraordinary privilege of being part of Christ’s earthly family. He grew up with Christ and loved Him as a brother before he received Christ as Lord. Yet Jude doesn’t look down upon you or I. By faith in Christ we have been received into the family and household of God. Christ is our elder brother who laid down His life for His body and bride the church.
Privilege, prestige and position mean nothing. You must be born again. Jude knew it and I hope you do too. Trust in Christ and be received into His family.
Q73 Which is the eighth commandment? The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.