Reading through the Bible together
Today’s chapter comes with another “Wow!” greeting. Pastor Jude clearly claims his family tie to James (his brother), but humbly refers to being “a servant of Jesus Christ” (v. 1 NIV). Many scholars believe that Jude was one of Jesus’ half-brothers! How inspiring and humbling it is to witness true servant-leadership.
The really endearing part of the salutation is the description of the saints (you and me): “To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance” (v. 2 NIV). To be able to greet with such extravagant caring and inclusion requires a living connection with Jesus. Jude’s salutation summarizes his letter.
With the concern and pathos of the loving pastor’s heart, Jude then warns the readers of the dangers of those who would draw our eyes off of Jesus and nullify His grace. The caution includes a reminder of those who were delivered from bondage in Egypt, but destroyed nevertheless through their unbelief. The exhortation is amplified by a reminder of the reasons for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Is it possible that this could happen to us? Should we not take heed, lest we fall? Cain, Balaam, and Korah fell – have we assurance we will not?
Thank the Lord, hope and encouragement emerge in the call to persevere! Do not give up, even though there will be mockers in our time. Wait patiently, be built up in faith, and pray in the Holy Spirit. Dare we go forth, this or any other day, without these aforementioned protectants? And in the process – be on the lookout for any that can be saved, even “…snatched from the fire” (v. 23 NIV).
Then comes the doxology that crowns the opening salutation: The promise that God is able to keep us from falling, “…and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy, to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power, and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forever more! (vv. 24-25 NIV).” Amen! The doxology completes the circle initiated in the salutation: Jesus is able, and He will – if we allow Him!
Peter Landless, Director, GC Department of Health Ministries