Summary: The Author and Audience of the book of Jude
A Descriptive Greeting
1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you. Jude 1:1-2
The Nelson Study Bible notes, "Few books in the N.T. have more to say to our generation than the Epistle of Jude. Distorters of the faith will find the book distasteful because of its warnings and uncompromising stance against defectors from the truth of Jesus Christ. But to those who approach the book with receptive hearts, Jude words speak as clearly and forcefully today as they did almost two thousand years ago." This is a small but powerful book. The Descriptive Greeting begins with the Author and his Audience.
Jude – it is literally Judas or Judah. The name Jude (Judas) is the Greek form of the well-known Old Testament Hebrew name Judah. The title of the book is Hey Jude, bring back a nostalgic moment for those Beatle fans. It is designed to catch people’s attention; a preacher does what a preacher has to do! The term has 6 distinct uses in the New Testament. Specifically, it refers:
• to Judah, the son of Jacob in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:2);
• to Judah, one of the 12 tribes of Israel (Revelation 5:5; 7:5);
• to Judah, the southern kingdom after the division (Hebrews 7:14; 8:8);
• to Judas, the son (brother, cf. KJV) of James [Greek text, just says lit., ”of James.", who was one of the 12 apostles (Luke 6:16);
• to Judas, the brother of the Lord (Mark 6:3) who authored the general epistle known as Jude.
JUDE’S RECEPTION OF MERCY
This dude is Jude, but not Judas Iscariot! Charles Spurgeon notes:
"This Judas was not the son of perdition, but a true son of God, a sincere and earnest-hearted believer. Yet, when he wrote his own name down, Judas, which we pronounce short as "Jude," I think that the tears must have come to his eyes as he remembered that other Judas,-with the same name, and by birth with the same nature. If left to himself, he might have proved a traitor to his Master, like the other Judas; but grace had made him to differ from the man who betrayed his Lord. If it had been your case or mine, I am sure that we could not have written down that name without reflecting upon our obligations to the sovereign grace of God, which kept us from being sons of perdition."
How many Johnny Palmer's will die and go to hell? People who have the same name as I do, and the same sin nature as me, and with my same condition of spiritual death. Why will I end up in heaven instead of the lake of fire? God’s Grace! There is an old saying that is true, "But for the grace of God there go I!" I think most of us feel like John Newton who said:
"When I get to heaven I shall see three wonders there. The first wonder will be, to see many people there whom I did not expect to see—the second wonder will be, to miss many people whom I did expect to see; and the third and greatest wonder of all, will be to find myself there."
Ken Langley shares this amusing story, "After worrying for half an hour that we wouldn't get on an overbooked flight, my wife and I were summoned to the check-in desk. A smiling agent whispered that this was our lucky day. To get us on the plane he was bumping us up to first class. This was the first and only time we've been so pampered on an airplane—good food, hot coffee, plenty of elbow-room. We played a little game, trying to guess who else didn't belong in first class. One man stuck out. He padded around the cabin in his socks, restlessly sampling magazines, playing with but never actually using the in-flight phones. Twice he sneezed so loudly we thought the oxygen masks would drop down. And when the attendant brought linen tablecloths for our breakfast trays, he tucked his into his collar as a bib. We see misfits at church, too—people who obviously don't belong, people who embarrass us and cause us to feel superior. The truth is we don't belong there any more than they do."
a bond-servant – "Servant" is better translated "slave"—the Greek word is not diakonos ("[household] servant") but doulos ("[bond]slave"). The word obviously indicates Jude's submission to the Lord. Barclay notes:
• To call the Christian the doulos of God means that he is inalienably possessed by God. In the ancient world a master possessed his slaves in the same sense as he possessed his tools. A servant can change his master; but a slave cannot. The Christian inalienably belongs to God.