I have been reading through the book of Jude and I would simply like to share what has been churning in my heart. Let me begin with the author.
The letter written by Jude is understood to be the half-brother of Jesus Christ. Some confuse him to be the apostle Jude (the son of James not Jude Iscariot [Lk. 6:16]). Now this author claims to be the brother of James. This cannot be the apostle James because he was martyred early in church history (Ac. 12:2). This must be then James the half-brother of Jesus. Thus if Jude is a brother of James then Jude is also a half-brother of Jesus.
Now Jude doesn’t emphasize being a half-brother of Jesus in his letter. Rather he emphasizes to be a slave of Jesus Christ. Why would he define his relationship to Jesus as a slave rather than a half-brother? He is not the only one to define his his relationship to Jesus as a slave. His older brother James, the apostles Paul and Peter have also defined their relationship with Jesus Christ as a slave (Rom. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Tit. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:1). Another thing to take into account is that they are all leaders of the early church. Yet as leaders they all have in one time preferred to define their relationship to Jesus Christ as a slave.
What can we learn when the leaders of the early church prefer to be called slaves of Jesus Christ rather than apostles or as half-brothers? How does the title “slave” help the us understand Jude’s character? How can we benefit and apply this example of Jude to our lives? Here are three points that can help bring this verse into our lives.
1. Jude Exemplifies Submission
By preferring a title “slave” Jude is exemplifying submission. Submission is a fundamental practice for Christian living. The congregation is to submit to their leaders (Heb 13:17). The church is to have submission to one another (Eph. 5:21). The believing family is to have a humble submission in accordance to God’s design (Eph. 5:22-4:2). Citizens are to submit to their government (Rom. 13:1). All these acts of submission however comes down to our submission to Jesus Christ.
2. Jude Exemplifies Humility
Jude exemplifies humility by preferring the title “slave” over the title “half-brother”. The title “half-brother” could have promoted a practice of deification something similar to the Roman Catholic practice of veneration and sainthood. But he keeps his ego at bay by putting all emphasis on the Lordship of Christ in his life. It didn’t matter if he was blood related to Jesus. He preferred the position that humbles himself and exalts Christ.
3. Jude Exemplifies Service
The term “slave” connotes service. Jude served Jesus Christ by serving his bride the church by writing a letter. Jude’s service is found in writing. In Jude 3 it says that he “made all diligence to write”. He worked hard to write one letter for the Church. Even now we has been blessed by his service in the writing of his letter. Whenever we reads and meditates upon Jude, we reap the labors of his service.
Of course there are more principle that can be derived from verse 1 of Jude. But here are just three principles that we can meditate upon and apply to their lives. The next post, I will consider the recipients of Jude’s letter and derive principles for us to take into their lives.