“I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s Holy people”… Jude has compassion for the people, he wanted to rejoice with them about the salvation that they shared together, yet he wanted to be open and honest with them sharing stories from their past as reminders of how the Lord dealt with those who did not follow him. I think this also serves as a reminder of how God continues to provide for those who follow him faithfully.
I like the transition made from verse 16 to 17, after Jude finishes describing who we need to be on the watch for he begins to encourage us by telling us we need to be building ourselves up in our most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit. We must keep ourselves in God’s love as we wait on His return. When we walk with other Christians (this is who Jude is speaking to) we can surround each other with a love that helps build our faith and we can become accountable to each other.
I believe that we see a few important qualities of leadership in the life of Jude in these few short words that he writes. We have an openness and honesty that leads us to trust him as he speaks about the past and how he trusts that God will be with them. Jude seems very confident and optimistic in his words to the people, he gives us a call to preserve to carry on loving the Lord. Jude encourages us to have empathy for and show mercy to those who speaks against us; I see it as loving our enemies.
“Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh”.
Jude, also known as Judas, or Judah is who writes this short epistle that gives us a brief but pointed exposition on how we must contend for the faith. Jude communicates with his fellow believers the need to be “on our toes” watching for and dealing with the false teachers that infiltrate our churches. The first verse identifies for us who he his, “a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James”, not to be confused with the person of Judas Iscariot
Have you ever identified yourself as a servant of Christ? The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines a servant as a “Person totally responsible to and dependent upon another person.” How much of our lives are totally dependent on Christ? Are we fully submitting to the responsibility we have in doing the will of Christ? These are some big questions that ultimately define who we are.
It wasn’t until after the resurrection that Jude and his brother James became servants of Christ. For me it seems so easy to think that someone so closely connected to Jesus would not have been a believer. Although we don’t get a lot of background information on Jude we begin to understand his story just a little bit.
It is amazing to me how in a couple of verses of scripture we can discover a testimony of hope for the lost, even those who may be in our own families. Was it the ministry and life of his older brother James that became a seed for the life that Jude was to have in Christ? Was it Mary and Joseph’s persistence as parents that spurred on the spiritual growth in His life?
Whatever happened in the life of Jude his identity in Christ is what led him to write this epistle. It was through the death and resurrection of his (half) brother that had him traveling from place to place sharing the gospel. We need to be in the same place as Jude, as servants of Christ our identity needs to be in Him, our strength needs to come through Him.
It is said that Joshua was around 85 years old at the time when the Israelites crossed the Jordan River. He died at the age of 110, which means he led the Israelites for about 25 years. I have to ask myself this question, what did he do for the first 85 years before he became the successor to one of the greatest leaders in biblical history? The answer I would suggest is that he was being mentored by one of the greatest leaders in biblical history.
As we read through the story of the exodus we begin to see the process of mentoring and leadership development that formed Joshua into the leader God called him to be. We are first introduced to Joshua as Moses tasks him as commander of the army that was to destroy the Amalekites, then we don’t see or hear much of Joshua until later when he arrives on the scene with Moses at the base of the mount of Sinai.
Although we have only a few details into the “ 85 year mentorship program” of Joshua we do get a glimpse into how the Lord teaches us some important leadership lessons and the value of mentoring. Joshua had the opportunity to work alongside Moses being involved in the day-to-day leadership of the people. Moses gave Joshua the roles and responsibilities that helped shape him into the leader God planned for him to be. Numbers 27:15-21 describes the commissioning of Joshua by Moses, giving him some of his authority over Israel, Joshua was “filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses laid his hands on him”. (Deut 34:9)
Did Joshua have an advantage over us today as leaders during the mentoring process with Moses? I don’t think so, it may have been in a different time and place but I think that we all have our own unique growth experiences as leaders. In fact I think we may even have an advantage in most cases, we have the stories and examples written for us in the Bible. We can learn from downfalls and victories that are written of all the great leaders and teachers throughout the Old and New Testaments.
I am thankful for all the mentors that God has placed in my life, I am thankful that I have people in my life that have been able to speak freely and honestly into my growth as a Christian leader, a husband, a father and a friend.