When we begin reading the short epistle of Jude, we find two descriptors that tell us who Jude was- the servant of Jesus, and the brother of James. Based upon church history, there is one major descriptor that Jude left out – the brother of Jesus.
Matthew 13:55-56 tells us of the siblings of Jesus (the children of Mary and Joseph after Jesus had been born). The text there gives the names of at least four younger brothers, and makes mention of some sisters (meaning at least two of them since it is plural). In John 7, the brothers confronted Jesus, and Scripture says that none of his brethren did “believe in him.” So, apparently it was some time after his ministry that His brothers (at least James and Jude) are converted and become instrumental in the growth of the church.
But why did he not mention that he was Jesus’s brother when he wrote this book? Wouldn’t that have given him more clout and prestige?
This is the point of the gospel. Clout and prestige get checked at the door. Not even blood relation to Jesus can save you. Nothing but faith in the accomplishment of Jesus will save you. It is by faith alone, not by family that we become heirs of God’s grace.
Jude shows another level of humility when he calls himself simply a servant of Jesus. Not only did he not mention his familial relation, but rather he emphasizes the Lordship of Jesus in his life. In Jude’s mind, the most important thing is that Jesus is the Lord of his life. Jesus the One Who saved Jude now becomes the One that Jude humbly serves.
And this is what the gospel will do to someone. In Galatians 6, Paul says it this way, “God forbid that I should boast in anything except the cross of Jesus,” and Jude affirms that this is what matters. If anyone had the fast-track possibility it was Jude, the very brother of Jesus, but with a biblical understanding even he submitted to the truth of the gospel.
Food for Thought: Who was Jude? What distinction does he make in regards to his relationship with Jesus?