Pound-for-pound, Jude may be the weirdest book in the New Testament. One author called the book “bewildering.” I still think weird sounds better.
Why is Jude weird? Where else can you find phrases like: “these ungodly people…heap abuse on celestial beings.”
Or, “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!’”
Or how about this one: “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy onesto judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.'”
Some fun things about Jude:
- Jude was Jesus’ “other” brother: His self-identification as the “brother of James” in Jude 1 seems to clearly mean he was the brother of James, the half-brother of Jesus, making Jude also the half-brother of Jesus mentioned in Mark 6:3.
- History also tells us that Jude led his family to follow Christ. Eusebius records that Jude’s grandchildren stood before the Roman Emperor Domitian on charges of leading a public form of Christianity.
- Jude, like other early Christians, was absolutely convinced that Jesus would return during his lifetime. The Apostles did not want Christ to return only to find that the faith had been watered down and ultimately rendered ineffective.
- Jude is one of the only books in the Bible to use references from “extra-biblical books,” like those from the Old Testament Apocrypha/Pseudepigrapha as if they were a part of Scripture. In his letter, Jude uses texts from two different extra-biblical sources: The Testament of Moses (“Assumption of Moses” story) (v.9) and the First Book of Enoch (v.14-15 and several other places). These books were not included in the OT canon, or collection, because they were deemed to be at least partial forgeries or had severe inaccuracies. Jude, however, makes the most of them with his Jewish audience.
- Jude should be a boxer or wrestler’s favorite book, as Jude clearly commands believers in northern Palestine to agon, or “contend (like in a Greco-Roman stadium) for the faith. . . “
- Jude contains what has to be among astronomers’ favorite verses–Jude v. 13–“These people . . . are wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.” In this verse, Jude uses the Greek word planētai, which is the word for “wandering,” or planet. Planets were originally thought to be wandering stars by the Greeks.
- I love Jude’s use of the Old Testament. Like Jude’s example of Michael and Satan (v.9); and also Jude 23a, which says, “save others by snatching them from the fire.” Both are references to Zechariah 3:2: The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
- Jude’s concluding doxology, which is probably the most well-known part of the book, is perfect in its praise of God’s eternal nature and qualities:
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 24-25)