Reference: Book of Jude (ESV)
Heart of the Story: Jude warns readers against individuals who have surreptitiously gained entry into the Church. These same individuals are perverting the true faith with false teachings.
Backstory: Jude is the brother of Jesus and James. Probably, his actual name was “Judas”; but, in the early Church the name Judas generated so much negative thoughts and feelings that he was called “Jude.” Most believe Jude’s letter was written in the late 60s AD. From earliest times, Jude as accepted in the canon of scripture. Scholars identified that Jude was written to a Jewish audience because Jude drew on Jewish apocalyptic traditions, i.e. 1 Enoch and the Testament of Moses.
Story Line: Jude admits that he wanted to write a letter with a focus on salvation; however, events were occurring in churches which overrode his original purpose for writing.
What was occurring in the Church which was so awful? Jude identified four problems: a) In the new Church, individuals are indulging in sexual immorality and unnatural desires; b) individuals are relying on their dreams, rejecting authority (most likely apostolic authority), and blaspheming the glorious ones (the Triune God); c) church members were committing ungodly deeds to include being loud-mouthed boasters and showing favoritism to gain advantage; and d) these same individuals participate at love feast (which included the Eucharist) without fear of God and his wrath.
Jude compared these individuals to shepherds that feed themselves rather than the flock, waterless clouds, fruitless trees, dead trees, wild waves of the sea, and wondering stars. But, Jude also identified the outcome for these individuals; it is the gloom of utter darkness which will last forever (Jude verse 13).
Pondering Relationships: Jude reminded the Christians in the early church that the apostles predicted that at the last days there will be scoffers following their own ungodly passions and worldly people (devoid of the Holy Spirit) who cause divisions in the church. In contrast, Jude implored Christians to build themselves up, pray in the Holy Spirit, keep themselves in the love of God, have mercy on those who doubt, lead others to salvation by snatching them from the fire, and show mercy to others with fear.
Reflection: Jude finished his letter by assuring its recipients that God is able to keep them from stumbling. What amazing reassurance! God can keep me from stumbling!
Copyright November 9, 2017; Carolyn A. Roth
Please visit my website http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com to learn more about lesser known Bible characters.