There is only one chapter in the book of Jude, and it is this chapter that we will focus on today. First, though, I have to confess that I don’t think I have ever heard the word “Jude” and not thought of the Beatles song. Ever. Even now, the lyrics are running through my head! So, now that we have that out of the way…and now that most of you are humming along – let’s dig into this book together.
First, you might be wondering – as I was – who Jude was. Interestingly, most scholars believe that Jude was the brother of Jesus. Jude humbly downplays this relationship, however, by simply referring to himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James” (Jude 1:1).
Jude initially intended his letter to focus on salvation. In Jude 1:3, however, we learn that he changed his mind: “I found it necessary to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.” False teachers had infiltrated the church and the culture. Jude says that these people have “come by in stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into sensuality and denying Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord” (Jude 1:8). Jude then refers to Sodom and Gomorrah, cities known for their sexual immorality, and compares the contemporary false teachers to the immoral citizens of these two cities by saying that their agenda is like “glory dragged in the mud” (Jude 1:8, MSG).
It is no secret that in many parts of the world, Christianity is currently being dragged through the mud. Jude reminds us that the apostles of Christ spoke to this, saying, “…there will be scoffers living according to their own ungodly desires” (Jude 1:18) Not only will there be false teachers, but these people will “cause divisions…” (Jude 1:19).
Jude does not leave us without a solution, however. Instead, he suggests a path forward. He advises us to “build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God…” (Jude 1:21). He also advises us to “be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin” (Jude 1:23, MSG). We have probably all heard this before: we must love the sinner while not tolerating the sin. This is not easy, and I don’t expect that it ever will be. But in this time of swirling chaos in our culture, we must continue to boldly proclaim the truth of God and His Word.
I love how Jude, the brother of Christ Himself, ends his letter to his readers with a benediction, a blessing. This is my prayer for our reading community today: “Now to him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)