I read Jude again this morning, and something in verse 3 grabbed my attention:
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints…
Jude changed his mind!
Everything we ever read and hear about this verse has to do with “earnestly contending for the faith”, and that’s certainly important. At least if it’s the faith we’re contending for, and not a list of personal preferences to which we want every other Christian to subscribe. Too often I’ve heard this text preached to promote exactly that. Personally, I don’t want to spend the precious time God gives me on this earth contending for things that won’t matter when I leave it.
What intrigued me this morning was that Jude had set out to write about one thing and “found it necessary” to write about something else. What would have prompted him to change his mind–or, Who?
The Holy Spirit, that’s who. This passage provides a glimpse into the mind of one of the men God chose to write His Word under the sovereign supervision of the Holy Spirit. Some of Jude’s perplexity comes out in this verse, and I can imagine him sitting down and starting to write with one purpose in mind and being supernaturally moved to write something altogether different in words that were not entirely his own–words breathed out by God Himself in a way that will remain a mystery to us until we’re in His presence. I’m anxious to interview Jude when I meet him in heaven. I want to ask him to describe what that was like.
But Jude cites another New Testament writer at the end of his letter. In verses 17 and 18 he writes, “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.'” Jude is quoting 2 Peter 3.3, a text I have considered in a previous post. I find it more than coincidental that Peter also wrote in the same epistle,
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Bingo. That’s exactly what happened when Jude sat down and put reed to papyrus around A.D. 65! How it happened I’m not at liberty to explain or understand, but I know that what Jude wrote was “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim 3.16)
For once I took my own picture, but all Scripture references are from the English Standard Version.