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Jude’s Greeting

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, brother of James, to those who have been loved in God the father, and who have been guarded and called for Jesus Christ:  May mercy be to you and may peace and love be multiplied.”

(Jude 1-2)

 

As mentioned earlier, Jude identifies himself not as Jesus’ half-brother, but as Jesus’ servant and brother of James.  It is a clear reminder to us that we are to take a humble attitude when we approach leadership roles.  We are called to be servants, not masters and Jude’s attitude exemplifies just this mindset.  Jude also reminds us as we read this letter, that those of us who are called and elect are beloved to God and kept, not on our own strength but guarded by the power of God and held for Jesus.  There is a great eternal wedding that God has planned and He has called a people to himself—the church—to be the bride of his beloved son, Jesus.  What a blessing to be called beloved of God.  This is the name that God gave to Solomon (Jedidiah: see 2 Samuel 12: 25). 

The blessing is also interesting.  Not only does he pray for mercy, which is unusual (only 1 & 2 Timothy and 2 John contain mercy in their blessing), but it is the only epistle where mercy is listed first.  I think that it is an indication that there are serious problems in this church.  The people have clearly, based on the text, fallen astray, following these false teachers, they are in need of God’s mercy.

Note also that Jude’s blessing is for peace and love to be multiplied while mercy stands alone.  Though one may argue that all three of these items are connected, as many modern translations would lead you to believe, the Greek sets mercy apart from the other two blessings.  Perhaps this is because of the problems that are going on in this church.  One of the things that these false teachers are doing is to create disharmony within the fellowship and to pervert the people’s love feasts.  All sinners desperately need the mercy of God, yet, given the issues going on within this fellowship, they especially need God’s peace and love to shape their fellowship.