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Contending For The Faith

Who Was Jude?

Jude 1
Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, 1 To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:

The author of the Epistle of Jude describes himself as "a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James." Since both Jude and James are fairly common names in the Jewish world of Jesus, the field would appear to be wide open for contenders of authorship.

A review of all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the life of Jesus and the early church make it clear, however, that the Jude of this Epistle is a brother of the Lord. Jude is the English version of the Greek name Judas. The people describe Jesus&##8; brothers in Matthew 13:55: "Is this not the carpenter&##8;s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?" NKJV.

Mark 6:3 repeats the same language. In fact, Mark&##8;s passage goes on to mention sisters! "Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" NKJV

James, the brother of the Lord and author of the Epistle of James, became the leader of the Christian church in Jerusalem. Tradition holds that James was a man of prayer, the early church fathers giving him the nickname "old camel knees" for the hours he spent in fervent prayer. Tradition also holds that the elders of the Jewish communities cast James from one of the Temple towers, an event leading to his death.

It is only reasonable, then, for another of the family members to identify his writing with such a prominent Christian leader as James, the brother of Jesus Christ. Jude is the brother of our Lord mentioned in Matthew 13:55.

Neither James nor Jude were believers in nor followers of Jesus prior to the Crucifixion. John 7:5 (For even His brothers did not believe in Him. NKJV) makes it clear that neither Jude nor the rest of the family (with the probable exception of Jesus& mother) believed in him prior to the Resurrection. The family became believers after Christ left the tomb (Acts 1:14 - These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. NKJV).

We have no information on the events which led to the writing of Jude&s epistle, or about the balance of Jude&s life or labors. What we do know is that God the Holy Spirit directed Jude&s hand in writing the epistle and then preserved it as part of the New Testament canon.




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