Jude 1 "I've decided to sneak in the tiny book of Jude while deciding what larger book to study through next.
1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: 2 Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you."
There are theories but no way to know for sure (that I know of) who Jude was. Possibly the brother of the disciple named James or the brother of James the brother of Jesus. Either way he was close to the action and close to Jesus.
His opening is quite remarkable. He is writing to the believers, those who are called or literally 'the called out ones'. It was the practice back then to communicate with the believers spread all over by letter writing and then circulating the letters around - similar to a mass email today. The letters would be read in the churches during their gatherings so everyone could hear.
What struck me today was the verb tenses of the descriptors he uses for the church. The called, sanctified, and preserved. Called out of the world is pretty straight forward, sanctified is not. Typically we teach and think of being sanctified as a process, not a completed event. However Jude says it is done, finished, complete. What does he mean? He means what he said. Sanctified means literally set apart for a holy purpose. Follow the line of his thinking. First we are called out of the world. Then we are set apart by God for a holy purpose. Then we are preserved in that calling and setting apart by Jesus.
What a privilege to be called and set apart. What a promise to know that despite who I am Jesus will preserve me.
So simple. So beautiful. So reassuring.
Are you being called? Does God want to set you apart for a holy purpose? If you answer the call God will set you apart and Jesus will keep you.
A beautiful start to a short but powerful letter. See you tomorrow. smile emoticon