This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:1 NLT
Often in the Bible we come across verses that almost seem like part of the background: a list of names or places, a detail about where the events took place, or the official opening greeting of a letter or epistle. Sure, these details were important to the people of the day, and certainly they help biblical scholars authenticate the writings, but do they have anything to do with my – with your – everyday life?
This is what I call “the ‘so what?’ question.” As in, so what does this have to do with me? With how I am living and the struggles I am dealing with each day?
Well, the first thing that jumps out at me is Jude’s reference to himself as a slave of Jesus. I don’t like that word. It has some pretty horribly negative connotations given the history of humanity to this point in time. The word kind of makes me squirm. It brings up images of abuse and degradation. In fact, some translations prefer the softer word, “servant.”
But I think Jude chose slave on purpose. Because I think Jude knew that being a slave of Jesus would not be like being a slave to an earthly master. He talks of being “safe in the care of Jesus.” I think he chose the word slave to grab his reader’s attention. To make them ask why anyone would choose to be a slave – what was so different about Jesus that it made a man willing to be his slave?
I think Jude wanted his readers to know that he was fully and willingly submissive to the will of Christ and that he felt absolutely safe in that. I think that Jude knew that Jesus would never abuse or degrade him, that the will of Christ would always hold far better things for him than his own personal will would.
And that’s what we can know, too. There is no place safer than the centre of Christ’s will. What he wants for each of us is better than we can ask or imagine for ourselves.
So bend a knee, friends, to the master who will never let you down, and in whose care you will always be perfectly safe.