Next to the Book of Obadiah in the Old Testament, the New Testament’s Epistle of Jude is the second-shortest book in the Bible, but it is very weighty with passages that are seen nowhere else like Jude 1:9: “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’”
The Revs. Vaughny Taylor and Gian Carlo Villatoro say there is no way to confirm the beliefs of many theologians that Jude was one of the brothers of Jesus Christ, but he had knowledge that no one else had.
“Jude is one of the enigmatic people,” said the Rev. Taylor, pastor of Central Baptist Church. “He was one of the critical thinkers of that day because a lot of thought process is identified with what he presented.”
Noting that Jude said he was the brother of a “James” who might have been another of Jesus’s brothers, Taylor said, “He was probably not the first who would have been picked for the softball team, but he certainly had plenty to say.
“He was one of the original 12 apostles and he had some really good thoughts that ring true in our day and age, like to be on guard against false prophets and false teachings, which are running rampant in religious circles. He wanted us to take a stand encouraging believers to stand firm in our faith and not be swayed.”
Taylor said false teachings “can take our eyes off the prize.
“Jude wants us to be encouragers, which is certainly a need today when so many discouraging things are going on,” he said. “We find things in his book that we don’t find anywhere else. He was about believers being up front and on task about sharing the Gospel and he was calling us to be faithful and live our lives as a testimony of faith.”
Taylor said The Beatles’ 1968 song “Hey Jude” is often associated with the apostle, but it has nothing to do with him. It was written by Paul McCartney to John Lennon’s son Julian to comfort the boy about his parents’ divorce.
The Rev. Villatoro, pastor of Victory Church, said he “cannot say yes or no that he was the brother of the Lord.
“I will say that he had a very strong influence from the Lord,” Villatoro said. “I can imagine Joseph and Mary saying, ‘Guys, why can you not be like Jesus?’ I think it’s possible that Jude and James, being so close to Jesus, heard him revealing many mysteries. Do you see those declarations anywhere else in the scripture?”
The pastor said Jude “was really blessed because he got to participate in God’s kingdom.
“Why not be content to be part of somebody else’s organization or ministry or church?” Villatoro asked. “To me, it’s precious. He talked about being saved and said we have the power to do that, but he said we have to do it together. We Christians cannot be Christians by ourselves. We have to be with other Christians. Someone who doesn’t like to be around people should move to another planet because we were made to be part of a community.
“It’s like a family. It doesn’t matter what’s going on with your father, your mother, your brother or sister. You will be with them when they’re sick, broke or in jail. We need to treasure salvation, but it has to be done together.”