I spent a few days studying the book of Jude this week – a teeny take-a-breath before Revelation. Jesus’ little brother was quite the poetic writer. In railing against false teachers, he refers to them as “hidden reefs (blemishes) at your love feasts…waterless clouds swept along by the winds…fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead and uprooted…wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame…wandering stars for whom the gloom of utter darkness has ben reserved forever.” (verses 12-13 ESV)
It makes me wonder what Jude did for a living. I have no idea though because Jude doesn’t do much to identify himself. I wasn’t even entirely sure he WAS Jesus’ brother because he doesn’t name himself that way. He refers to himself as JAMES’ brother, but the only relationship he claims with Jesus is as “a servant of Jesus Christ” (verse 1).
I have to admit that bugged me a bit. I mean, if I was Jesus’ sibling, and I was writing to someone, I believe I would be very comfortable with that type of name-dropping. Doesn’t that add a bit of credence to your letter, a little punch?
But maybe he didn’t want to brag. Perhaps he was doing what I’ve seen others doing. I can think of at least one big-name writer who has an even bigger-name writer parent who does not use that parent’s name. I’m assuming he wanted to find fame on his own, to be respected for his abilities and message, not rest on the hard-earned laurels of daddy.
Jude: “Don’t listen to me because I grew up with Jesus. Listen to me because of what I have to say. Who I am isn’t important.”
But wait – that’s not what he said. He identified himself immediately as “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ.” His servanthood to his Savior was more important than being his baby brother. His truest tie to Jesus was in his salvation, not his genes.
Jude identifies EXACTLY who he is: A Servant of Jesus.
Yesterday a beautiful song came up on my feed, the familiar lyrics sort of billowing past with the melody. Repetition was what got my attention. Suddenly I heard the repeated phrase: “That’s who I am. That’s who I am. That’s who I am.”
You’re a good, good Father; that’s who You are, that’s who You are, that’s who You are,
And I’m loved by You; that’s who I am, that’s who I am, that’s who I am…
(“Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin)
Wrapped up in the phrase, I lost the rest of the song. I thought of all the ways I would identify – and indeed have identified – myself to someone: by family association, by occupation, by hobby, by religion, by accomplishments, by region, by belief, by whatever helped them at the time to identify with me.
Hey, Jude (had to – sorry), I think I get it now. You chose the best and most perfect identity.
So please allow me to introduce myself:
Linda, beloved of Abba, and His servant. That’s who I am.