And the one who comes in second the last book in the New Testament is…JUDE! This letter of remembrance, of looking back over the history of God’s care for His people is also a prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ with the final Day of Judgement! Jude’s writing has been placed well, just before the Revelation. His letter is a “call to arms”, a warning of keeping the faith in and through the last days. He tenaciously sounds the alarm to believers and unbelievers.
FUN FACT: Following Jude is the book of Revelation written by the apostle John while exiled on a island. While praying and in exile, John was given prophetic visions with great imagery of the last days in ways no one can duplicate, though movie producers have tried. But back to Jude, who is he?
Since the author of this letter was the brother of James, this would make him the half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ (see Mark 6:3). Our Lord’s brothers in the flesh did not believe in Him while He was ministering (John 7:5). But after the resurrection, James was converted (see 1 Cor. 15:7), and we have every reason to believe that Jude was also saved at that time. Acts 1:14 informs us that “his brothers” were part of the praying group that was awaiting the Holy Spirit; 1 Corinthians 9:5 states that “the brothers of the Lord” were known in the early church.
Are you singing Hey Jude by the Beetles, yet?
Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better…
Why did Jude write this letter? To warn his readers that the apostates (those against Jesus Christ and His resurrection) were already on the scene! Peter had prophesied that they would come (2 Peter 2:1–3; 3:3), and his prophecy had been fulfilled. Apparently, Jude wrote to the same believers who had received Peter’s letters, intending to stir them up and remind them to take Peter’s warnings to heart. You will discover a number of parallels between Jude and 2 Peter as you study this fascinating but somewhat neglected letter.
Jude, The Message
1-2 I, Jude, am a slave to Jesus Christ and brother to James, writing to those loved by God the Father, called and kept safe by Jesus Christ. Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!
Fight with All You Have in You
3-4 Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. What has happened is that some people have infiltrated our ranks (our Scriptures warned us this would happen), who beneath their pious skin are shameless scoundrels. Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master.
Lost Stars in Outer Space
5-7 I’m laying this out as clearly as I can, even though you once knew all this well enough and shouldn’t need reminding. Here it is in brief: The Master saved a people out of the land of Egypt. Later he destroyed those who defected. And you know the story of the angels who didn’t stick to their post, abandoning it for other, darker missions. But they are now chained and jailed in a black hole until the great Judgment Day. Sodom and Gomorrah, which went to sexual rack and ruin along with the surrounding cities that acted just like them, are another example. Burning and burning and never burning up, they serve still as a stock warning.
8 This is exactly the same program of these latest infiltrators: dirty sex, rule and rulers thrown out, glory dragged in the mud.
9-11 The Archangel Michael, who went to the mat with the Devil as they fought over the body of Moses, wouldn’t have dared level him with a blasphemous curse, but said simply, “No you don’t. God will take care of you!” But these people sneer at anything they can’t understand, and by doing whatever they feel like doing—living by animal instinct only—they participate in their own destruction. I’m fed up with them! They’ve gone down Cain’s road; they’ve been sucked into Balaam’s error by greed; they’re canceled out in Korah’s rebellion.
12-13 These people are eyesores at your love feasts as you worship and eat together. They’re giving you a black eye—carousing shamelessly, grabbing anything that isn’t nailed down. They’re—
Puffs of smoke pushed by gusts of wind;
late autumn trees stripped clean of leaf and fruit,
Doubly dead, pulled up by the roots;
wild ocean waves leaving nothing on the beach
but the foam of their shame;
Lost stars in outer space
on their way to the black hole.
14-16 Enoch, the seventh after Adam, prophesied of them: “Look! The Master comes with thousands of holy angels to bring judgment against them all, convicting each person of every defiling act of shameless sacrilege, of every dirty word they have spewed of their pious filth.” These are the complainers, the bellyachers, grabbing for the biggest piece of the pie, talking big, saying anything they think will get them ahead.
17-19 But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts.” These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit!
* * *
20-21 But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
22-23 Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.
24-25 And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes.
WHAT WE LEARN—
God is preserving the fallen angels and the apostates for judgment, but He is preserving His own children for glory. Meanwhile, He is able to preserve us in our daily walk and keep us from stumbling. Lean into God’s help each day.
Because of Christ’s work on the cross, believers enjoy peace. The unsaved person is at war with God and cannot please Him (Rom. 8:7–8), but when he trusts the Savior, the war ends and he receives God’s peace (Rom. 5:1).
He also experiences God’s love (Rom. 5:5). The cross is God’s demonstration of love (Rom. 5:8), but His love is not experienced within until His Spirit comes into the believing heart. As the believer grows in his spiritual life, he enters into a deeper relationship of love (John 14:21–24).
Certainly. those who know Christ as their Savior enjoy a unique position. They are called by God to be set apart for God that they might enjoy love with God.
Because Jude would write a great deal in this letter about sin and judgment, he was careful at the very outset to define the special place that believers have in the heart and plan of God. The apostates would sin, fall, and suffer condemnation, but the true believers would be kept safe in Jesus Christ for all eternity.
Hey Jude! You took a sad song and made it better! It’s a sad song for unbelievers, but a glorious song for all who believe in Jesus Christ and are saved!
Lord of Life and Eternity,
Thank you for your plan to save us, grow us and love us in intimate relationship with you. I am forever grateful for your love, mercy and grace.
In Jesus Name, Amen