Living in a House does not make it a Home

Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, slave and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ; May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you. 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 1:1-3)

Like most of the other general epistles, the title of this little book takes its name from its author. Most scholars identify the writer as Jude the half-brother of Jesus for at least two reasons. First, he identified himself as the “brother of James”. Second Matthew 13:55 records the names of the brothers of Jesus as James and Judas, Jude grew up in the same house as Jesus but sad to say he did not connect with Him. In fact, being in this close proximity with truth but refusing to connect with that truth made Jude antagonistic of Jesus (John 7:2-9) Like his older brother James, Jude did not place his faith in Jesus while the Lord was still alive. Only after the crucifixion and resurrection did the scales fall from Jude’s eyes and he became a follower of his half-brother, Jesus.

The death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus produced a tremendous change in Jude. Here is a person that ate breakfast with Jesus, most likely shared a bedroom with Him. Jude lived with Jesus for all of his formative years, yet did not connect with Him. And so again, the wonderful grace of God reaches down and the brothers of Jesus who didn’t believe in Him come to faith and two of them are selected to write books in the New testament. What does it mean to be intimate; To be intimate or close means being near in space of time, being near in relationship or closely related by kinship of association. These are all based on proximity not connection. Connection is the key. When Jude connected to Jesus, it changed everything about him. He became intimate with Jesus because he understood who Jesus is.

“For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” “That they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts. These are the ones who cause division, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.” (Jude 1:14, 18-19) Jude’s purpose in his letter was twofold; he wanted to expose the false teachers that had infiltrated the Christian community, and he wanted to encourage Christians to stand firm in the faith and fight for the truth. Believers were to do this by remembering the teaching of the apostles, building each other up in the faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, and keeping themselves in the love of God.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 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.” (Jude 1:20-25)

Why do we want to finish well? Because Jesus is coming back and verse 21 describes an attitude of life that is motivated by the promise of our Lord’s return. In His mercy, He will come for us and take us to Himself. So Jude begins and ends with the fact that we are the called, we are the kept, and we are the beloved and the Lord has committed Himself to keep us from stumbling and make sure when the battle is over we’ll be standing in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy.

Remember that God is infinite and everyday is an opportunity to know more about Him. It’s never too late. Unlike Jude who lived with Jesus but had no connection with Him while He was with him, we must be diligent in building our Christian life in faith, hope, and love, exercising spiritual discernment, and committing ourselves to Christ.

 

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