Jude 1, “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.”
I hear a lot of talk about “identity.” People are concerned about how others see them, who they are as individuals, while some even wanting to identify to others something they are not. In the salutation to the epistle of Jude, we find out the Christian’s identity is who they are in Christ.
I believe Jude is the Lord’s half brother. This may be offensive to hear for some, but Mary and Joseph had kids together. Mary was a virgin at the conception of our Lord, but after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph had sons and daughters, and had boys named James and Jude – the only set of brothers named James and Jude in the Bible (Matthew 13:55-56). However, when Jude introduced himself, he didn’t say, “I’m the Lord’s half-brother.” Why? Because there was nothing in the flesh that attributed to his position with God. He was not saved because of Mary was his mother. He was not in the family of God because he was in the family of Mary and Joseph (Matthew 12:46-50). Reared in the same home as our Lord, provided no benefit. Being the half-brother, of Jesus gave no advantage spiritually. In fact, Jude was an unbeliever until after the resurrection (John 7:5; Acts 1:14). There is no profit in the flesh, so when Jude thought of himself, he was first and foremost, a servant of Christ. Jude’s identity was not wrapped up in who his family was, it was in Jesus Christ the Lord.
Jude was no longer his own man, nor was he a slave to sin and his own passions, because he was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:13; 19-20). When we think of slaves, or servants, we think of one without will, without hope and trapped against his will in an insufferable situation. Jude wasn’t complaining, Jude rejoiced in His situation. Jude loved being a servant because he had a love for the Lord. In Bible times, men would sometimes get in such a financial bind, they had to sell themselves into slavery. In Israel, every seven years, God commanded all Hebrew slaves be set free, so it was a temporary financial situation. Unless, the man didn’t want to be set free. Exodus 21:1-6 tells us that some masters were so good, and the slave lived a much better life as a slave than he did struggling as a free man, he would ask to remain in service. If everyone agreed, the master would pierce the man’s ear as a sign that he belonged to him forever. I feel like that with the Lord Jesus. He purchased me, saved me from sin, and is so good to me, having such a wonderful service with glorious benefits, I wouldn’t trade being the Lord’s servant to be set free for anything. Who was Jude? He was a child of God, a sinner saved by grace, a servant of Christ.