Peter Firth (in the first of a two-part series) led this reflection on the opening verses of the book of Jude (vs.1-2). The letter of Jude is described by an early Christian writer as “filled with healthful words of heavenly grace”. It promotes spiritual health among God’s people through diligent study and application.
Jude, one of Jesus’ four brothers named in the Gospels, became a leader in the first Jewish Christian communities. He was known as a travelling teacher and missionary. He ministered throughout Galilee, Israel and other countries after coming to faith following the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The letter of Jude focuses on contending for the true Christian faith, but it was also a letter of warning as there was moral compromise among the people in the church. Jude emphasises the importance of contending for the faith and warns against those perverting the truth of the Gospel.
Peter Firth, in discussing the opening verses of the book of Jude, broke down the letter into three parts. Firstly, he looked at how Jude identifies himself. In verse 1, Jude introduces himself as a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James. He exhibits humility and sets an example for the church by making Jesus the focus of his self-identification, elevated above his human family.
Secondly, Peter examined to whom Jude wrote the letter. Jude does not indicate to whom he is writing or where they live. Jude instead highlights their relationship with God, emphasising that they are called, beloved in God, and kept for Jesus Christ. The church is the special possession of God, and its calling is based on His love.
Loved with everlasting love,
Led by grace that love to know;
Spirit, breathing from above,
Thou hast taught me it is so.
Oh, this full and perfect peace!
Oh, this rapture all divine!
In a love which cannot cease,
I am His, and He is mine.’
Thirdly, Peter addressed Jude’s greeting. He explored the prayer in verse 2. Jude greets them by praying for mercy, peace and love to be multiplied to those he is writing to. His prayers are for mercy from God, restored harmony, and to be motivated and propelled by God’s love. As we read in Hebrews:
In conclusion, the message of the letter of Jude is that the Church must contend for the true Christian faith and promote spiritual health within it. The book of Jude remains a crucial text for addressing moral crises and promoting spiritual growth within the Church and stands as a vital guide for believers today.
Peter challenged us to reflect on these points for the rest of the week:
Firstly, thanksgiving: Thank God for:
- Revealing these truths in His word.
- Reminding us of His gracious activity in our lives.
Secondly, ask with the help of the Spirit that we will:
- Understand these truths better.
- Let them shape our lives.
- Become a healthier church.