Last week, we took some time and looked at how Jude opened his book. Specifically looking at how he described the believers he was writing to, The Called, Beloved and Kept. This week we are going to look at his prayer for them. But before we do let’s look at some background information.
In this digital age we don’t write letters very often because we live in an age where texting, tweeting, Facebook and email rule. However, I remember when I was in grade school, probably around the fourth or fifth grade, we learned how to write a letter. Every letter we wrote had to contain certain elements like an introduction and greeting, next the body of the letter, which would contain the purpose of the letter. Finally we would end it with a final goodbye, like sincerely a comma and then your signature.
The authors of the New Testament epistles (letters), used the letter writing genre and structures of their day to communicate God’s truths to their audience and ultimately to us. Most ancient Greco-Roman letters followed a certain form;
- Opening- which contained from and to.
- Greeting- which was basically the word “greetings” sometimes contained a wish of good health and/or a thanksgiving
- The Body of the Letter- which contained the purpose of the letter. This section can be broken down further, but for brevities sake we will move on.
- Final Greetings and Farewell.
The New Testament authors not only used this literary style, but under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they expanded it with Christian thoughts and ideas. For example, Jude didn’t just write, “I, Jude write to believers, greetings.” Jude writes, “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” Look at all Jude adds here, so rich.
Which leads us to Jude’s prayer of blessing for his audience and ultimately us. Jude writes; “May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” Here again, Jude expands on the simple “greetings” in his letter. Here he prays that God multiply or increase his mercy, peace, and love to us.
In Romans 7, Paul, in agony over his own sinful condition exclaims, “Wretched man that I am!” Paul knew that the Christian, in this world, would be in a constant struggle with sin. Jude knew this too, and because he knew this, he prayed that God’s mercy be multiplied to us. When our struggle with sin is tough and we fall into temptation, Jude’s prayer is for God to multiply his mercy. What exactly is mercy, it is God withholding from us what we deserve. I know I need a multiplication of mercy in my life, how about you?
Jude also knows that we need a multiplication of peace. I am reminded of the words of Jesus in John 16, “in this world you will have tribulation.” Jesus tells his disciples, and us very plainly, you will have trouble. You are going to have problems, struggles and hard times. Then Jesus goes on to say, “but take heart; I have overcome the world.” Before he said this though, he told His disciples why he was telling them all this, so that, “in me you may have peace.” Jesus told them hard times will come, but in the midst of hard times “in me” you can have peace. Why? Because Jesus has overcome the world. Once you were an enemy combatant but in Christ we have peace with God. We have also been made a peaceful citizen of God’s kingdom. That peace can be experienced by us on earth, even in the midst of hard times. Paul describes this peace in Philippians 4, as a peace that surpasses all understanding. This is the peace that Jude is asking God to multiply to us.
Finally, Jude asks for God’s love to be multiplied to us. Last week I briefly wrote about God’s great love for us. In Romans 8, Paul explains to us that there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love. Paul also tells us in Romans 5 that God’s love has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. 1 John 3 explains what this kind of God love/agape love looks like, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for you.” John doesn’t stop there he continues to say, “and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” John tells us that this is the kind of love we should have for other believers, the same kind of love that God has for us. Jude wants us to experience and live in this love. He wants this love to be multiplied in us.
Can you imagine if we prayed Jude’s prayer for our fellow believers? Now imagine if we lived Jude’s prayer out with our fellow believers. Jesus’ words come to mind from John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Until next week, as we continue to look into the book of Jude; may His mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.