Hey Jude! An Introduction to a Short Epistle
Tucked in between the three letters from John and the book of Revelation, is the tiny, but jam-packed epistle of Jude.
It would be easy for me to breeze right through it, acknowledge the warm and cozy benediction at the end and move on with my day.
But if I take it slow, and really dig in to know the author and the purpose behind his writing, I can do more than just READ God’s Word, but I can LIVE it out.
Who was Jude?
In the app, the OVERVIEW gives us some basic information and other verses to support it:
- Jude (also known as Judah, or Judas) was one of Jesus’ four, half-brothers. We find references to this in Matthew 13:55 (“Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?”) and Mark 6:3 (“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him).
- In John 7:5, we learn that “not even His brothers were believing in Him.” Jude’s faith came later, after the Resurrection.
- Jude was a well-educated, well-written, traveling teacher, familiar with the struggles going on in many of the Christian churches. In fact, in this short letter, Jude references the Old Testament along with some extra-Biblical writings (Jewish literature, the book of Enoch and the Testament of Moses).
- Most importantly, Jude called himself a bond-servant of Christ. Tapping on that word reveals the definition: doulos: slave or servant (literal or figurative, voluntary or involuntary); spoken of TRUE followers and worshippers of God.
Who did Jude write to?
- We can deduce based on the introduction and the whole letter’s contents, Jude was writing to Jewish Christians, probably in Greek-speaking regions.
- The letter could have been written to one church in particular facing a crisis, but it may have been meant to be circulated to other churches as well.
- Jude refers to the readers as CALLED, BELOVED and KEPT for Jesus Christ (v.2). These three words in Jude’s introduction certainly had to boost believers’ morale, as it should us today! He reminds us we’ve been invited into God’s Kingdom, we are loved with great affection and we are guarded and watched – God’s eyes are fixed upon us!
Why did Jude write the letter?
- In verse three, we see the purpose of Jude’s letter, and it’s BIG! “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”
- Jude originally wanted to write about salvation, but then, he changed the direction and tone of his letter! He needed to focus on TRUTH and help the church CONTEND EARNESTLY, or to “fight for, and strive” for that truth.
- Jude uses a combination of “judgement” language, together with affirmation and encouragement in his letter.
Christians today need to take to heart Jude’s words to the early church. Many of our churches are facing a crisis of TRUTH, where the false has crept in unnoticed.
Jude will teach us how to recognize the false and CONTEND for the faith!