God's channel of mercy, peace, and love
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James: To those who are the called, loved by God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. Jude 1:1-2 CSB
With the advent of technology, receiving a letter from a loved one (and not the bounty of “spam mail”) may seem, at least for me, a very rare occurrence, yet when I do receive one, it is quite a joyous occasion. When you do open up a letter, you see a greeting at the top (“Dear so and so,” “Hi!” “To whom it may concern” [hopefully not this one in a personal letter]), quickly scan the letter to see the length, check if you received multiple pages and then begin to read it in its entirety, all delivered by the wonderful USPS. Yet, during the time when Jude was written (between A.D. 67-80), to receive a letter was a major gift. Typically, letters were handed to travelers who would deliver your letter as they themselves were going towards a destination. It would take weeks or even months for the letter to arrive to the intended recipient. The letter of Jude was delivered in the same manner. First, in verse 1, we see the author, Jude, or also known as Judas, and he describes himself as the “servant of Jesus Christ” and “a brother of James.” In our day and age, to be subjugated under an authority figure is typically frowned upon. We try to be as independent as possible. Yet, Jude, in this short opening, happily describes himself as a servant of Jesus Christ, faithfully following his Master and King, Jesus Christ, and lives to serve Him. Also, Jude states that he is the brother of James, which then makes Jude and James related to Jesus Christ (see Mark 6:3; James 1:19). Second, as part of any letter written during the ancient world, you would then say who this letter was addressed to, and seen in Jude, it is to “those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” This letter was not addressed to a singular individual nor a particular church, like Ephesus or Galatia, but to the called, those who the Holy Spirit reached out to, those who are loved by the Father and were pursued to respond, and, after responding, have that guarantee of salvation for they are kept by Jesus Christ. What a beautiful encouragement to the church opening this letter among themselves and reading it, and this applies to us today as well and serve as a wonderful reminder. Finally, Jude included in his greeting a prayer: “May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” Jude wants the believers reading this letter to experience God’s mercy, peace and love abundantly and grow in it as we read this letter. Mercy is given to us and multiplied as we approach the throne of God and plead for remission of our sins. The more we come to God confessing our sins, the more God grants us the gifts of mercy, peace, and love. Jude could have written, “May mercy, peace, and love be added to you.” But by using the word multiplied, he indicates that God’s gifts are doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled. The one gift flows into the other, because mercy leads to peace and peace results in love. When God grants us the gifts of mercy, peace, and love, we become His conduits. We are God’s instruments where these gifts from God are extended to our fellow believers.
Isaac De Guzman