Friday, December 30, 2016

THE OTHER BROTHER - JUDE, THE BROTHER OF JESUS, PART 1


The Book of Jude is amazingly chock full of more nuggets than a San Francisco 1849’er could ever find in his gold mine. There is more substance, more power and more truth packed into 25 short verses of this book, than half of the books in your average Christian book store.

Before looking closer at these Truths therein, we must marvel at just who Jude really is! He is the other half-brother of the Lord Jesus and full blooded brother of the Apostle James (writer of the book of the same name). Both Jude and James were sons of Mary and Joseph, after Jesus was born of the virgin, as ordained by God. Jesus, James and Jude also had two other brothers and three sisters, but there is no mention of who the sisters were in the rest of the Canon of the Scriptures. 

It is noteworthy here that NONE of the Lord’s siblings believed in Him and His Work while He was alive! It was only after the Lord’s Resurrection, when He appeared to 500 followers AND JAMES (1 Corinthians 15:6-8) that James believed and then Jude.  Both of the Lord’s natural brothers (via Mary) were radically saved. James became the head of the founding church in Jerusalem. He became known as “Camel Knees” from praying so much to the Father, in Jesus’ Name and eventually gave his life for the cause of Christ. Matthew gave the names of all four of Jesus’ half-brothers who were born of Mary, after the birth of Christ. There were Joseph (Jr. presumably); Simon; James and Judas (who was called Jude for obvious reasons. Judas was a popular name before the betrayal). James and Jude were the best known evangelists of the family, after their Great Brother, Lord and Savior – Yeshua!  These names are found in Matthew 13:55. The Lord’s three half-sisters are not named.

Jude and James became more than radical believers in Christ. They stood strong for the Faith, were bold and travelled in the beginning with their now believing wives sharing the Gospel. In fact it was the Apostle Paul himself, seemingly concerned that only he and Barnabas were bi-vocational pastors, who mentioned them in his letter to Corinth.

Paul said “5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working?" (1 Corinthians 9:5-6).

Evidence of Jude’s complete Faith in Christ is as plain as day immediately in verse 1. Note, first of all that he does not equate himself with the Lord, even though they grew up in the same house with the same earthly mother! It is obvious that both Jude and James encountered the resurrected Christ and it changed his life. From then on, he looked at Jesus as Lord and Master, not his older brother.

Secondly, Jude is positive about the doctrine of election. From a doubter and a scoffer of the Lord during his brief three year ministry, Jude knows positional salvation, having been one of the many lost previously. He knew his lost situation, from that perspective. He also knows that it was God Who called him to this salvation and that neither he, nor any man, just finds God.  It is the Lord Who seeks us out, elects us.

Third, and still in the first verse, Jude expounds emphatically on the doctrine of Eternal Security of the Elect! Using the word “tereo”, under inspiration of the Spirit, he proves the Love of God for all His children in the following phrase: “preserved in the Lord Jesus Christ” (NKJV). None of the English translations of the Bible keys in on the full meaning of this. The NIV says “kept by”’. The NASB says "kept FOR Jesus Christ". The New Living Translation comes closest in translating the original word as “kept safe in the care of”…Jesus Christ”! 

This is something to take comfort in and is for all Christians in these last days. The very fact that a Mighty Fortress is our God (which is what the word “TEREO” really means) and He will never leave nor for forsake His children remains the great hope for all followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In just the very first verse of the Book of Jude, the brother of the Lord….and in one sentence, we have the doctrines of Election; Sanctification and Eternal Security, leading to Perseverance of the Saints. What a powerful work and an encouragement to all believers of all time! 

As for Jude himself, no one knew what happened to him, personally. However, his descendants were well known. Some of them were persecuted and martyred by the corrupt Roman Emperor Domitian and historians noted that Jude's great grandson - Judah Kyriakos - was the final Jewish bishop or head of the Christian church in Jerusalem! This is noted by the great historian Eusebius, among others. Quite a legacy from a man, who never believed what he saw with his own eyes, until he witnessed the Resurrected Jesus Christ, his former half-brother!
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