Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, to those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept forJesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. Jude 1-2 (NIV).
Hey Jude…sorry, I just had to. But if the Beatles help you get into your Bible, then spin that one more time. Like Obadiah, Philemon, 2 John, and 3 John, Jude is a book of only one chapter. Yet its 25 verses contain what seem to be an extension of 2 Peter in how they denounce false teachers and encourage struggling believers.
We don’t know exactly who Jude was. “Jude” was a familiar name for someone with the given names of “Judah” or “Judas.” Clement of Alexandria, the renowned second-century church leader, attributed the book to Judas, the younger brother of Jesus Himself. Both Matthew and Mark mention Jesus had a younger brother named Judas, and traditions all the way up to the time of Clement attributed authorship to him. Judas (also called Thaddeus), son of James, could also have been the author, though some details of his life don’t seem to line up with the text.
But let’s keep it real: it doesn’t especially matter. Someday, when you get to Heaven, ask Jesus. Or Jude.
Until then, take some encouragement from knowing that there was a man who wrote a short book that prayed abundant mercy, peace, and love to anyone who read it. We could use some more of that these days, couldn’t we?
After all, nearly 50 years ago, the Beatles sang a song to encourage a young man who was depressed. Paul McCartney’s voice was the lead, but the song was actually a dedication to John Lennon’s son, Julian. Other than similar sounding names, there really isn’t a tie between the song and the epistle…
…except this: it’s about grace, mercy, and love. A man who grew up beside the living Son of God would have learned about those things, even before the Son came into His own ministry. A man who spent his adult life following his brother, his Savior, would have believed in Him even up to the point of death. A young man in 1960s England would have needed to hear about those things at a low point in his life.
And a reader perusing these words today might need to hear them as well. If you believe, you’ve been called by Jesus to believe in Him and to follow Him. Even though you’re a believer, you still get down every now and then, and you need to be reminded of the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus. Even now, those things matter more than ever.
Hey Jude, take a sad song, and make it better.
For further reading: Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3, Jude 3
Lord God, thank You for a new day to learn about Your grace, love, and mercy.
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