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Jude is a relatively obscure figure in the New Testament—which is quite remarkable, given his family connection to the Messiah.
In all likelihood, Jude was the half brother of Jesus, yet he made no effort to peddle his relationship in order to gain attention or influence. In his letter to fellow believers, Jude introduced himself, not as the brother of Jesus, but as the “brother of James,” another of Jesus’ half brothers. Jude did not even claim the privileged title of “apostle,” instead referring to himself as a mere “servant of Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:1).
Jude’s humility and lack of ambition can be seen in his purpose for writing the New Testament letter that bears his name. Jude set aside his own agenda—that is, his desire to write about “the salvation we share” (Jude 1:3)—in order to address more pressing matters that were affecting his audience.
Apparently, false teachers were infiltrating the church, telling all who would listen that once saved by God, they could live however they wanted—because they were already covered by grace. Jude responded with a brief history lesson, reminding believers that even though God once saved the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, He still punished those who rebelled against Him in the wilderness—those who, according to Jude, “did not believe” (Jude 1:5).
Jude regarded these false teachers as a threat to the very gospel his half brother had come to proclaim. He described them as “blemishes at your love feasts,” “clouds without rain,” and “twice dead” (Jude 1:12– 13). Yet, despite the urgency of his message, Jude did not resort to using his connection to Jesus as a club with which to beat his audience into submission. Instead, he relied entirely on the truth and power of what he called the “most holy faith” (Jude 1:20).
Jude can be found in the Gospels—but you have to look closely. In Mark 6:3, people respond to Jesus’ teaching in His hometown, Nazareth, by asking, “Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon?” Judas is a variant of the name Jude— and most likely a reference to the New Testament author.