But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. Jude 17 (NIV).
Read back on the last few verses and see how Jude excoriates people for their sins. And then read verse 17. The same God who inspired Jude to write those other things inspired Jude to write this one.
“Dear friends.” God used the words of His servant, Jude, to address us as “dear friends.” Not “children.” Not “you damn, dirty sinners.” Not “hey people.” Friends. Have you ever had a truly close friend, someone with whom you exchange your inmost feelings and fears, who you love as your family? Jesus calls us friends here. The God of the universe calls us friend. When I try to focus on that, I’m comforted. And I’m overwhelmed.
I don’t deserve to have Jesus call me “friend,” but He makes me deserving. I haven’t earned that right, that privilege, but He earned it for me. I haven’t done anything to prove He’s my friend, but He says that doesn’t matter. And every day, I mess up in large and small ways that dishonor Him and make Him look small, but He forgives me anyway. He sets me back on my feet and bids me to do again.
The twelve apostles – 13 if you count Judas – foretold many things. Some were about the end times; some were about times in-between. They used their words and lives to tell a hostile world that there is this God-man named Jesus who offers eternal life to anyone who believes in Him. All of them but one died gruesome deaths after living rich but persecuted lives for talking about this Jesus they knew in their youth. This Jesus who called them “friend.”
Like He does us. Like He does you.
Last night we had dinner with good friends who are missionaries in Romania; look for an interview with them to be posted on our website soon. It hit me that they, like the apostles, live their lives to carry the gospel to strangers, to talk about Jesus (in words when necessary). They’re living out the book of Acts, and Matthew 28, taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
We should do the same. We should use our lives, starting right now, to carry the Gospel as far as it lets us carry it. To talk about this Savior who calls us “friends.” To act friendly to Him. I can’t do much but I can do this. So can you. And when you do it, you’ll find you’re living in ways that, as Jude reminds us, those apostle friends of Jesus talked about so very long ago.
For further reading: Ephesians 4:11, Hebrews 2:3, Jude 18
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your apostles, for all they foretold in Your Name. Thank You for calling me Your friend.
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