In the first Jude post, I mentioned the fact that, like Jude, I have brothers. While none of them are Jesus, it helps me to accept the authorship of the Jude’s letter and the authority of Jesus.
Remember, Jude called himself a slave of his brother. No self respecting brother would do that. Unless…the brother was actually the Master.
The truth is, we are going to be a slave to something or someone: tastes, desires, soccer, alcohol, pornography, career, self-esteem, self-loathing, fear, money, etc…
Choosing a master is an important job.
If you had to take stock of your life, to whom or what would you say your were a slave to? Is it to things that have to be done in secret? Is it to the things that cause you the most fear and anxiety? Is it to possessions that you think will complete you? Satisfy you? Sex? Cash? Cars? More? Bigger? Better?
Everybody has the tendency to fixate on material, spiritual, emotional and intellectual “stuff” that we think will rescue us from whatever it is that we need to be saved from: boredom, irrelevance, fear, frustration, disaster, anger, pick your poison. The question is: Does it work? And we, of course, know that the answer is “No.” I imagine a life in service of a Porsche loses its luster right about the time the new car smell goes away.
So…now for the hard part.
A slave in the ancient world had no status and even worse, they had no rights. Slaves were property like tables are property, with the slight exception that masters were bothered when tables got scratched. Slaves were at the mercy of their masters.
Well, masters command. They can be cruel and shaming, benign and unsatisfying, or they can be awesome, forgiving, empowering and encouraging.
That latter is Jesus.
To call yourself a slave of Christ is to say that you belong to him. That your only hope for freedom comes through him. You your life, words and actions, are his to command.
It reminds me of this Jim Carrey film, Liar Liar. Carrey plays a lawyer who finds himself unable to lie. Despite his ability to bend the truth par excellence, he has to tell the truth. There’s an invisible force at work in him, battling his truthless nature.
To be a slave is to battle your nature and submit it to the master, hopefully with slightly less caricature than Carrey has in Liar Liar. If Jesus is the master, then it stands to reason that we have to do what he says. So…that means we need to know what he says, right.
Jude walks us through a life in Christ’s command, that is, how to be a slave to the only master worth serving.