Friday, February 10, 2017

An object lesson in humility

Jude 1.1-2
The letter of Jude is an object lesson in humility. Some people would see it as a letter written by one of the brothers of Jesus himself, in which case it must have been written within about thirty years of his death. Others would see it as written by someone posing as Jesus’ brother to add weight to their own opinions and give their letter a wider circulation. Who wouldn’t want to have a copy of something written by Jesus’ own brother, whereas the same opinions, when expressed by Joe Bloggs, might attract little interest?
In a sense, the question of who actually wrote Jude is unimportant. The striking thing is that the author makes such an amazingly small claim to prestige and honour within the Christian community. He is, or claims to be, no less a person than the brother of Jesus, and yet he is content to think of himself as Jesus’ servant. Perhaps that’s because the letter of James - which also purports to have been written by a brother of Jesus - also begins by stating that he is just a servant of Jesus. The word used here basically means ‘a slave’.
I guess the point which both writers are making is that Jesus is so special, so different, from the rest of us that even his brothers can only think of themselves as his obedient servants. Even so, it’s striking that the only way we know Jude is a brother of Jesus is because he also describes himself as the brother of James.
>This is what genuine humility looks like. When official honours are being doled out, we should not look to receive them. When recognition is being given to high achievers it is always enough to be recognised as a true servant of Jesus. To be ‘chosen and loved’ by God, and ‘kept safe’ by or for Jesus, is all that any of us can ask. To be blessed with ‘kindness or mercy, peace and love’ is the highest reward.

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