Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tiny Books of the Bible #6 - Jude

We're not talking about the famous ones (Esther, Jonah, James) We’re talking about the TINY ones.  The ones rarely quoted in sermons.  And when they are, it takes you twice as long to find them, because they're only 1 to 15 pages long.  Squashed between longer books, what's in these itty bitty books, and what's so important about them that they're in the Bible?

Remember how we said last week that 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John are near Jude and Revelation at the end of the New Testament and the Bible proper?

Did you maybe say to yourself, “Jude?  Who’s Jude?”  Jude is our last entry in the Tiny Books Of The Bible series!  I hope you guys have gotten a few chuckles out of it.  I like doing these series, it’s a way to really get into the nuts and bolts of the Bible that perhaps a regular sermon at your church might not provide.


Jude is right before Revelation, the last book in the Bible.


Jude is two pages, one chapter long.


Jude did.  He’s the half-brother of Jesus (sharing Mary as a mom), and full brother of James, who also wrote James, another book in the New Testament, but James is too big for our Tiny Bible series.


This book was written around 65 AD or thereabouts, maybe earlier.  The early Christian church was dealing with a bunch of weird beliefs and teachers worming their way into leadership positions.  Jude was writing the book as a kind of warning, whistle-blowing about those wormy teachers.


Jude’s warning the church (not a specific church, this letter would be carried to several early churches and read aloud to their congregations) about “godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” (Jude 1:4b)  Basically, these false teachers were claiming if you believed that you were saved by grace, you could live however you wanted.  You could eat a bunch of Funyuns, or rob banks, or sleep around with whomever you want.  Sin meant nothing to those forgiven by God.

Jude reminds the church about the time of Moses, how OT God destroyed those people who didn’t believe, and saved those that did.  But belief itself wasn’t enough, as Jude also brings up Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities whose actions condemned them.

Jude also mentions fallen angels (1:6), archangel Michael (1:8) and everyone’s favorite Owner Of A Talking Donkey Balaam (1:11) in warning against these teachers.

Jude winds up the letter by quoting other apostles of Jesus, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” (1:17-18), and that the church should protect themselves so “build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.”  Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” (1:20-22)

Then Jude finishes with the Doxology.  If you’re a regular churchgoer, this may sound familiar, “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!  Amen.” (1:24).  Ends every single service at my church, anyway.


Can I just say something that may get me into trouble later?  By all means, go ahead.  I don’t understand people, scholars, I guess, who make it a large part of their life to research and write papers and do all sorts of academic things, all to cast doubt on things in the Bible.  Some people don’t believe Jude wrote Jude.  Some people don’t believe Jude was related to Jesus.  Some people don’t believe Jude should be in the Bible.   And that’s just THIS book.  You can go down many dry and dusty rabbit holes of academia and you will never get the evidence or answer that would change the world’s opinion.  Just justifying your own education and intellect, I guess.  It seems to be such a rarefied career, and for what?  Really, for what?  Dunno.

But Jude is in here because he’s the half brother of Jesus, and what he’s warning about in his letter matched up with what the early Christian churches were facing, so in the Bible it goes.  The End.  Of this series, anyway.  :)

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