The Letter of St Jude the Apostle.
By designating himself ‘the brother of James’ the writer of this letter evidently wished to reveal himself to his readers. At the time the letter was written, there was no one of prominence in the Church having the name of James except the Apostle James the Less, Bishop of Jerusalem and author of the letter which bears his name. Jude is therefore his brother also called ‘Thaddeus’ by other evangelists.
The letter is both brief and practical. It is occasioned by the teachings and practices of certain heretics within the Church. By their evil lives they were denying that Jesus is the only Lord and Master. They were opposed to all law and authority, and changed Christian liberty into unrestrained license. This letter is a warning to them.
The Reason for the Letter.
1. Though he had wanted to write ‘about the salvation we share’ Jude writes, instead, urging Christians to hold fast to the truth. for ‘certain men’ have infiltrated the group and are now creating division by their false teaching. Jude 1:1-4.
Warning Against False Teachers.
2.. These men are so arrogant as to deny Christ. Jude reminds his readers of examples from Jewish history and tradition: those who fall away, or give themselves up to pride or lust will suffer God’s judgement. These men reject authority. But they are marked out for destruction – as Sodom and Gomorrah were for their sexual immorality and perversion; as Cain was for murdering the brother whose life showed up his own; as Balaam was for betraying his position as a prophet; and as Korah was for his rebellion against God-given authority. The examples are carefully chosen. These are the very things of which these teachers are guilty. Jude 1:5-19.
Perseverance and Charity.
3. Jude’s intention is to stiffen resistance to such teachers. The Christians are not defenseless, but they must make full use of their defenses. They must build on ‘the faith’- that definitive body of truth they have been taught. They must pray and use the power of the Holy Spirit. They must live in the light of Christ’s coming again. There is no need to be afraid or despair, for God is indeed able to keep them from falling. 3 Jude 1:20-25.