We all experience persecution in some way or another, especially if we’re Christians. We’re often called upon to defend our beliefs to those who haven’t experienced the joy and hope which God’s truth provides. We squirm and take any negative comment to heart and mull it over and over again. We wonder why others just don’t get it – why do they rely on themselves and the ways of the world to get them through life?
While thinking about that, I came across the book of Jude. This tiny book, consisting of only 25 verses, is packed with ammunition for those struggling with this very thing. Jude was the half brother of Jesus. He didn’t come to faith until after Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Here was a fellow who lived under the same roof as the Savior, but didn’t know Him as his Messiah.
Imagine being the half brother of Jesus. Jude certainly would’ve had issues with this kid that never did anything wrong. He must’ve wondered why Jesus was the apple of His mother’s eye – why He knew so much about God’s Word – how an ordinary boy could be God as well as man.
Since Jude didn’t pen this book until between 45 and 60 years AD, we can assume he’d finally realized the truth about his half brother. He knew that Jesus was the promised Messiah of old- the One who snatched the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and set them up as His own nation of people. He also knew that He was God in the flesh, come to save the world from eternal destruction.
At that time, evil had infiltrated the church and it was being corrupted by those who changed its truth to accommodate their sin – similar to what we see today in some churches. Jude had an admonishment for those who challenged the true teachings of Christ.
“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
He’s also telling us to do the same. When we see the truth being twisted to fit their own desires, we are to strengthen ourselves through the Holy Spirit and offer prayers for those would do harm to you and the church. However, we should remain proactive by bringing the truth to them. We can’t simply rest on what God has done for us. We need to stand strong and tall for what believe, trusting that He will be our sure defense. We can’t do it alone. We need the power of the Holy Spirit, which lives in the hearts of all believers, to be our protection, our champion and our voice.