April 29, 2019
This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.
Jesus. He’s the Son of God. The Messiah. Emmanuel. The Prince of Peace. The Word made flesh. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
And a big brother.
Not a part of the incarnation you think about, right? What was that like? Matthew 13:35 tells us Jesus had four little brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude (or Judas). If Matthew’s order is correct, that makes Jude the littlest brother. What was it like between them growing up? Did he and Jesus get along? Was Jesus a cool big brother, or did he pick on his little brother? Did they fight all the time?
We have no idea. But whatever their childhood was like, by the time Jesus comes out publicly as the Son of God and starts teaching, healing, and gaining a following, his brothers think he’s… well, crazy. Mark 3:21 says: When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away. “He’s out of his mind,” they said.
Later, because of a plot to kill him, Jesus avoids Judea and comes back around the neighborhood Jonn 7:3-5 says: Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.
“Even his brothers didn’t believe in him.” The ones who knew him the longest and probably the best, his very own flesh and blood, are mocking him in the face of death. But now here’s little brother writing a letter defending his big brother (and little brother James gets a book in the New Testament, too). What happened between them that changed?
Answer: The resurrection.
Though the Scripture doesn’t tell us what happened, it’s a safe bet the brothers saw Jesus crucified and then sometime after Easter morning they saw him alive.
Then they believed in him.
Acts 1:14 has Jesus’ brothers present at his ascension, and they become part of the group praying to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost: They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
And as we’ll see in the coming days, Jude has gone from ridicule to praise; from mocking to defending. No longer a snot but a slave of Jesus. So before we get into the letter, let’s not miss Jude’s transformation, because it is literally the power of Christ alive in a person.
Jude’s story reminds us that not everyone close to us is going to be in the same place we are with Jesus. It may take years, even decades, of prayer before we might see the power of Christ alive in them.
Jude’s story also shows us that we may have a relationship with Christ, but there may be a part of our life where we may not be ready to believe Jesus and let him be Lord.
But Jude also shows us that no matter where we are, there is more and more mercy, peace, and love… because whatever their relationship before, he says in today’s text that his big brother loves us and keeps us safe in his care.
Jesus, where my life has mocked you, forgive me. If there is a situation or part of my life where I still have not believed in you, help me surrender to your love and care. Amen.
Is there a situation or part of your life where you have still not believed in who Jesus is or what he is wanting for you, or is there a person close to you who does not believe? Pray for them right now.
For the awakening,