Jude 1 “Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James…”
Thought it was commonly agreed that this Jude was a half brother of Jesus, one of the children born to Mary and Joseph after Jesus. The James that he mentions would be the pastor of the church in Jerusalem and also a half brother of Jesus. But the commentaries have different views. One is that which I have thought. The other is that Jude was one of the twelve apostles who was known as Thaddeus. Also, that he was a brother to the apostle known as James the son of Alpheus, and that Alpheus was the Greek name for Cleopas who was married to Mary the sister of Mary mother of Jesus. This would make Jude/Thaddeus and James the son of Alpheus brothers and cousins to Jesus. Some commentaries think that the relation meant when scripture says brethren of Jesus is that of cousins. This view has the writer of James as the son of Alpheus and the first pastor of the church at Jerusalem. Both views state reasons for their beliefs, and they are good reasons, but that doesn’t necessarily make them true. Some holding to the second view give as a reason that the two men, Jude and James, were both considered as apostles, therefore they would have to be part of the twelve. Not sure if the term apostle was given as much exclusivity then as we give it today. Others say that if this James were one of the apostles, he wouldn’t have been the pastor of the church, but would have continued as an apostle and fulfilled the command of Jesus to spread the gospel. All good ideas, but nothing definitive that I can find.
3-4 “…contend earnestly for the faith…For certain men have crept in unnoticed…”
Exhortation for them to be diligent to contend for the faith, watch out for it and defend it, because false teachers have crept in. Says who turn the grace of God into lewdness. The false teaching may have been that we can sin all we want because of grace.
5-7 Mentions three groups of people as reminders of what happens to those who pervert the grace of God and reject Him. Those of the ancient Israelites who made it out of Egypt, but wouldn’t follow Him, the angels who rebelled and followed satan, and the peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah who fell into homosexuality and other sexual immorality. The ones he’s just referenced will fit into this category.
8-9 “…speak evil of dignitaries…Michael…dared not bring against him a reviling accusation…”
He adds another transgression, that of speaking evil of dignitaries. He uses Michael the archangel as an example of the correct attitude. As pure and holy as Michael must be to be in the presence of God, and even with as much authority as a servant of God as he must have, he still did not take it upon himself to rebuke satan over a point of contention. Instead he deferred to Christ as the authority. Humility and meekness. Remembering who and what we are and who and what Jesus is.
10 “…these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves”
Running your mouth about things of which you have no clue, and what you do know you mess up. Not much has changed in two thousand years.
11 “…way of Cain…the error of Balaam…rebellion of Korah”
Three examples of those who were totally self-centered and suffered the consequences of it.
14 “…Enoch…prophesied about these men…”
He’s apparently quoting or paraphrasing from the book of Enoch which seems to be an apocryphal volume. The note on Michael and the devil are also from this book. Raises some questions. Why is he using something that may not have been part of the Old Testament? Does this put any question on the authority or validity of what he stated from that text? Just because God didn’t see fit to include certain writings in His word doesn’t mean they were false in what they said. Even John mentions that Jesus did many things that weren’t recorded in the gospels. Apparently they were true enough that He inspired Jude to include them here. Since Enoch walked with God, I’m sure anything he wrote was true to the nature of God. Might be worth reading sometime.
17 “…the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ”
He doesn’t seem to include himself in this reference. If he were one of the twelve he wouldn’t have to speak of the others as he would have the authority of an apostle himself. Lends weight to the view that he was half-brother of Jesus and not Thaddeus the apostle.
18 “…there would be mockers in the last time…”
We like to take every mention of the last time or the last days as a reference to the time when Christ returns, but that idea doesn’t hold up. The mockers began then and have been going strong for two thousand years and we’re still waiting on His return. I think it is more accurate to say that the reference is a general one to the time which began after Christ returned to Heaven, that which we live in now, waiting for Him to return. Contrast with the time before Christ when they were waiting for His first appearance as Messiah.
22 “…on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh”
Wisdom in dealing with the lost. Treat each according to their state. Some need compassion, some need stronger action to get them out of their sinful situations. Be sure to not get so involved with showing compassion that you ignore or condone or even fall into their sinful ways. You don’t have to join in with sinful behavior in order to associate with those that need saving.
24-25 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.”
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.