“Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ” Jude 1
We live in skeptical times. So many claims have proven to be untrue that we now question almost everything we hear, and even some of what we see. Of course, skepticism is not new to Christianity. In fact, Scripture portrays Jesus’ own brothers as skeptics who seemed to doubt Him as much as the Jewish leaders. So how did Jude, the Lord’s half-brother, make the leap from skeptic to servant of Jesus Christ?
First, consider what it must have been like growing up with Jesus, as Jude did. Jesus was the perfect son and sibling—literally. Yet, not even His perfect life removed His brothers’ doubt and disbelief.
Their skepticism shows up in John 7:3-5, “Therefore His brothers said to Him, ‘Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.’ For not even His brothers were believing in Him.”
We now know that Jude became a missionary; and that James, who Jude identifies as his brother, was the leader of the church in Jerusalem. But none of Jesus’ brothers were believers until after the crucifixion and resurrection, which apparently had a profound impact on them.
We can tell that all doubt was removed by the way Jude identifies himself. Instead of gaining notoriety as Jesus’ brother, Jude portrays himself as Jesus’ servant. It’s worth noting that he used the term bond-servant—someone who is bound to another in permanent servitude, obligated to do the will of his master.
This sets an important example for all believers. The reality of the resurrection made Jude more loving and loyal to Jesus as a servant than as a relative. He found more delight in glorifying Christ than in being known as His brother. Too often, we seek personal recognition over exalting the name of Jesus. How we identify with Christ will determine the motives behind our service.
Maybe you’re not a believer, and are skeptical of Christianity or of religion in general. Then accept the challenge to focus your attention on the life of Jesus Christ. He can handle any amount of scrutiny. You can move from skeptic to servant the same way Jude did. The reality of the Cross and the resurrection has the same life-changing impact today.