Jude 1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ:Jude 1:2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
Verse 1 The customary traditions of writing are observed in the salutation made by Jude. He states whom the letter is from, whom it is to and a greeting. The way Jude introduces himself says something of the man, about his character.
(i) The word servant is the Greek word 'doulous' meaning bondservant or slave. The discovery Bible describes 'doulous' as: "to completely and absolutely assign all personal rights over to the authority and will of another person; to be in a "permanent relation of servitude to another, his (the slave's) will altogether swallowed up in the will of another" (Tench); the permanent surrender of personal rights in an attitude of total submission"[e]
He could have called Jesus his brother or at least half brother, made claim to some special relationship with the Saviour, but Jude in all humility sees himself having only one object and one distinction in life -to be at the disposal of Jesus for service in his cause. The greatest glory, which any Christian can attain, is to be of use to Christ. (Barclay [a])
(ii) The brother of James. Jude was the
youngest of the brothers and James was the leader of the church in Jerusalem.
One can assume that James counted on his brothers for help and support and it
seems that Jude was content to be a behind the scenes worker. Jude was
fulfilled and satisfied in the role in life that God had planned for him, and
like Andrew not resentful of his brother's success or position. This kind of
contentment comes from knowing who you are in Christ Jesus. It comes from
placing our trust in the one who is able to keep us and living in the love of
God as part of our everyday experience. Jude had the right sought of pride, he
was proud of being Jesus' servant, pride the wrong sought emerges at different
times, for instance:
When attempting to manipulate others or trying to build 'MY' ministry in a sense we are trying to be God. Jude is an example of a man who let God be God in his life. Content to live the life that God had given him to live. Jude is a man who God lifted up at the right time and is worth listening to, even though he wrote this letter 2000 years ago, his letter is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
Verse 1 also tells us something of what it
means to be a Christian.
a)The Greek word for call is 'Kalein' and it
has three interesting usages;
b) A Christian is loved by God, I will say it again, a Christian is loved by God. This fact indicates the nature of God's call to mankind. We are called to be loved and to love. We are called to a task, but that task is a privilege and honour not a burden. We are also called to judgement but this justice is tempered with love and mercy.
c) A Christian is kept by Christ. He is the one who promises to never leave us or forsake us; he is the one who intercedes for us. The Christian is never alone not orphaned or abandoned, but always carries Christ in his everyday life as his strong tower, as his shepherd and as his friend. The new International Version has a footnote, stating that the word "by" from "kept by Christ" is not in the original text and that this could be read as either "kept by Christ" or "kept in Christ" or "kept for Christ". Any one of these statements could be justified.
We are kept by Christ and Jude verses 24-25 gives a sense of this. We can also see this in John 17
The King James Version says "and preserved in Jesus Christ." This being preserved or kept in Christ engenders feelings of security and safety. The verse Colossians 3:3 sets forth the sense of the Christian being safe in Christ. The idea is that we are in Christ's hand safe and secure and that Christ's hand is hidden, surrounded by the hands of God the Father, and we are hidden with Christ in God.
We are kept for Christ to be presented in his glorious presence; we are kept by him for we are safe in him. (See verses Jude 24 & 25)
BEFORE we leave this opening passage, William Barclay asks us to think a little more about this calling of God with which we have been called and to see something of what it means.
Paul speaks about being called to be an apostle
(Romans 1: 1; 1 Corinthians 1: 1).
In Greek the word is apostolos; it comes from
the verb apostellein, to send out, and an apostle is therefore, one who is sent
out. That is to say, the Christian is the ambassador of Christ. He is sent out
into the world to speak for Christ, to act for Christ, to live for Christ. By
his life he commends, or fails to commend, Christ to others.
(ii) Paul speaks about being called to be
saints (Romans 1: 7; 1 Corinthians I: 2).
The word for saint is hagios, which is also very commonly translated holy. Its root idea is difference. The Sabbath is holy because it is different from other days; God is supremely holy because he is different from men. The Bible (Greek biblos or book) is different from other books because it is the Holy Bible. To be called to be a saint is to be called to be different. The world has its own standards and its own scale of values. The difference for the Christian is that Christ is the only standard and loyalty to Christ the only value.
(iii) The Christian is called according to the
purpose of God (Romans 8: 28).
God has a plan and purpose for every person who accepts Christ. No Christian can say I can't do anything, because God uses our weakness to display his power. We must decide as children of God whether we will be good sons or not. God has prepared a task and a purpose for all those he calls, contentment and satisfaction is working towards the goals that God has set for our lives.
It sets before a man a great hope (Ephesians 1:
18; 4: 4).
We have a hope that is steadfast and certain for Christian hope is faith in the future tense. J.J. Bonar said, "Bless God that there is in us resurrection life, and that there awaits us a resurrection morn!"[g]
We have an inheritance, a glorious inheritance for one day we will be in heaven with Jesus our saviour; our Lord and our Master; our teacher and our friend; the anointed one of God; The one and only Son who is God and who loves us. We have a destiny and a destination. Our future is secure settled and glorious in Christ Jesus
Someone once said, "'Hope' is biblical shorthand for unconditional certainty"[g]
Verse 2 It is important to note that Jude does not use the word grace in his greeting, which is used as part of the greeting in practically all of the New Testament letters. The word may have been deliberately left out as the false teachers had corrupted the use of the word. The words he uses "Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance." is in fact an insight into God's grace towards us.
The New Unger's Bible Dictionary defines Mercy as: (Heb. hesed, "kindness"; Gk. eleos, "compassion"). "Mercy is a form of love determined by the state or condition of its objects. Their state is one of suffering and need, while they may be unworthy or ill-deserving. Mercy is at once the disposition of love respecting such, and the kindly ministry of love for their relief" (Miley, Systematic Theology, 1:209-10). Mercy is a Christian grace and is very strongly urged toward all men (; etc.). [d]
The Mercy that we receive from God can best be expressed as his kindness and compassion in action not only to save but also as his intervention in our everyday lives.
The New Unger's Bible Dictionary defines Peace as: (Heb. shalom, "peace, health"; Gk. eirene, "unity, concord"). A term used in different senses in the Scriptures. (1) Frequently with reference to outward conditions of tranquility and thus of individuals, of communities, of churches, and of nations (e.g., ). (2) Christian unity (e.g., ). (3) In its deepest application, spiritual peace through restored relations of harmony with God (e.g., ; etc.). [d]
Peace then is that quiet confidence and boldness that allows us to face life's adversities with fortitude and a security that breeds well being and joy.
Love; the Greek word used here is Agape, which William Barclay defines as: "The real meaning of agape is unconquerable benevolence. If we regard a person with agape, it means that nothing that he can do will make us seek anything but his highest good. Though he injure us and insult us, we will never feel anything but kindness towards him. That quite clearly means that this Christian love is not an emotional thing. This agape is a thing, not only of the emotions, but also of the will. It is the ability to retain unconquerable good will to the unlovely and the unlovable, towards those who do not love us, and even towards those whom we do not like. Agape is that quality of mind and heart which compels a Christian never to feel any bitterness, never to feel any desire for revenge, but always to seek the highest good of every man no matter what he may be." [f]
God's love for us is revealed in Jesus Christ and is his generosity in bestowing his favour upon us and meeting all our needs.
Be yours in abundance or multiplied to you = that his mercy and his peace and his love be your everyday experience as a never-ending and all sufficient supply. The idea of fullness is at the root of the word used in the passage, but it is more than that it is an ever-increasing fullness.
God bestows upon us his mercy, his peace and his love in ever increasing fullness to enable us to be more like Jesus, not to selfishly enjoy his grace but to share mercy, peace and love with all mankind.
Introduction / Salutation verses
1 -2 / The Letter's purpose v.3-4 /
Historical warning v. 5-7