I've got one brother.
I love him dearly.
We were born only three years apart, and growing up we were fast friends. I can remember all the hours we spent together – playing army or detective or shipmates. Or the times we assembled car and plane models – (man, we got loopy on that stupid old glue!) Or when we went on family adventures.
My brother was a lot of fun.
Sure, he teased me unmercifully (what are brothers for?) – but he was always someone very special to me.
Now, what if he had come to me one day and announced that he was the Son of God?
I'm thinking I would have quickly told my parents, whom I'm sure would have gotten him some immediate psychological help…
So, I wonder what it was like for Jude – one of Mary and Joseph's sons, Jesus' half-brother.
Did he think his brother was crazy?
"Who does Jesus think he is?? I mean, evidently he thinks he's the Messiah – but I've never heard of anything so preposterous! Son of God indeed! He's just a poor carpenter's son like all the rest of us. What has gotten into him? I sure hope insanity isn't hereditary."
The Bible makes it clear that Jude and the other brothers of Jesus did not follow Him during His earthly ministry. ("For even his brothers didn’t believe in him." – John 7:5) And I think that makes perfect sense. Would you believe one of your siblings if they came up with this impossible claim?
But, something happened to dramatically change that perspective.
One of the reasons that I completely believe in the resurrection of Christ, besides the fact that I completely believe the Word of God, is this transformation of His brothers. Nothing in life could have altered their view of Jesus unless it was a life-altering event.
And an empty tomb is the evidence of that life-changing miracle.
So, when Jude, now a strong believer in Jesus CHRIST (the anointed Messiah, the true Son of God), has something to say – I want to pay close attention.
The book of Jude speaks out against an outbreak of false teaching. In the beginning of the book, he explains the situation that prompted his letter – (incidentally, it's a different letter than he had planned to write). I find it interesting that Jude, who at one time most likely thought his brother was a false teacher, now finds it extremely urgent to fight against those who do not believe the Truth – the truth that God had revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ.
What does Jude tell us about false teachers?
1. They are ungodly.
2. They will worm their way into our churches.
3. They will say that God's grace allows us to live immoral lives.
4. They will claim their own authority.
5. They will defy other forms of authority.
6. They will scoff at supernatural beings.
7. They will do what their natural instincts tell them.
8. They will deceive people for money.
9. They will flatter others to get what they want.
10. They will brag loudly about themselves.
11. They will create divisions.
12. They are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck believers.
13. They are selfish, shameful people who are doomed to destruction.
14. They do not have God's Spirit in them.
Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is Jude's call to remain faithful:
"But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God's love." (Jude 1:20-21)
Yes, we are called to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, but we must uphold each other while we do it. We must be careful not to fall into the quicksand of compromise. We must be sure that our own footing is safe and secure.
We must remain rooted and grounded in the Lord whom we trust.
Jude knew that his brother, Jesus, was the Way, the Truth, and the Life – that's why I listen to his words of encouragement…
Remain firm in your faith.
Trust in God's promises for your future.
Don't be tempted to give in to sin.
Don't be afraid or give up in despair.
God will keep you from falling.
"All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen." (Verses 24-25)
Hey, Jude – thanks for the great word today!
How do you remain firm in your faith – and how do you fight against false teaching?
"When in doubt, search God out!"