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by William Baxter Godbey
In this volume we have Apollos, James, Peter, John, and Jude: perfection, practice, fire, love, and lightning. So look out for awfully hot shot. Jude’s original name was Judas, being changed by the English translators to contradistinguish him from Judas Iscariot, who brought disgrace on the name by betraying his Lord. Jude was not one of the original twelve. He was the brother of our Lord, doubtless the son of Joseph by a former marriage, and not one of our Savior’s original disciples. We can readily see how the brothers of our Lord would hesitate amid the universal enthusiasm over His Christhood. Oh, how difficult for us to see great and extraordinary gifts and talents in the members of our own household. How natural for Jude to soliloquize, “This is my little brother, with whom I used to sleep at night, and during the day interest under the green trees. To be sure, He was always wonderfully good, reminding us of an innocent angel come down from heaven. But surely He can not be the Christ of God, the child of Prophecy, the Redeemer of Israel, and the Savior or the world, as so many people believe.” Therefore Jude and his brother James hesitate till they see brother Jesus walk out of the sepulcher and fly up to heaven. Then they break down, surrender all their quibbles and fall into line with His disciples, shouting aloud, “After all, our little brother Jesus is surely the Christ of God, the Redeemer of Israel and the Savior of the world.”
After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, when the apostles partitioned the world and dispersed to the ends of the earth, Jude took Tartara for his field of labor, one of the oldest and wildest heathen empires on the globe, celebrated in history for the wonderful military career of Genghis Khan and Tamalian, who, during the Middle Ages, shook the world with the tread of their conquering armies. In that country he not only faithfully preached the burning Word, but sealed it with his blood, receiving a martyr’s crown, the wicked barbarians tying him up to a tree and shooting him full of arrows. Thus ended one of the most heroic lives that ever shone beneath the skies. When we read his epistle we do not wonder that they killed him. Such fire and lightning will arouse the devil in any age or country.
I believe this letter suffered more during the Dark Ages than any other. I do not wonder that Satan did his best to destroy the document which fulminates his preachers, teachers and leaders with thunder, lightning, tempest and tornado, from beginning to end.
Again, Jude’s writing is very difficult to translate, which doubtless accounts for the omission of some of the passages, which does not appear in the English. I know you confess this a wonderful letter, full of thrilling prophecies, which have been fulfilled through all the centuries since the heroic author went up to heaven through a tempest of cruel arrows; but preeminently is the present age to witness the fulfillment of these terrible prophecies.
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29