"Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you." (Jude 1-2)Jude was the brother of James who was the brother of Jesus. He was not an apostle but, like his brother James, was well know to the early church in Jerusalem. It is interesting here that he simply refers to himself as, "the brother of James" and not as "the brother of Jesus" whom he also was. This was most likely due to his humility and a realization that, while the apostles believed and followed Jesus while he was alive, Jude was a doubter. We do not know a lot about Jude, but John records the following incident during Jesus' life.
"Therefore His brothers said to Him, "Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 'For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.' For not even His brothers were believing in Him." (John 7:3-5)It must have been tempting for Jude to "pull rank" on his fellow believers, to trade on his relationship with Jesus according to the flesh, but he speaks as simply another believer and another bond-servant of Jesus. His association with James, who bore the surname of "The Just," was for identity purposes, not notoriety.
It, too, can be tempting for us to try and elevate our status by our association with great or famous people. We like to "drop names" of all the important people we've met or conversed with, as if our association with them makes us more important in return, but in doing so, we serve only to elevate their importance and to obscure the true value we ourselves posses as unique and special creations of God. Our value and importance does not come from the people we know but from the one who created us and loves us. It is not our relationship with others that defines us, but our relationship with God. When Jesus was told His mothers and brothers were waiting to see Him, He said, "'Who is My mother and who are My brothers?' And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, 'Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.'" (Matthew 12:48-50) It is far better to know Jesus than anyone else in the world.
Jude also reminds us of three qualities of our election and salvation in Jesus Christ. First, that we are called. God wants us, He wants to know us, He wants to save us, and He wants us to live with Him forever. He is the Father of the prodigal son who is watching and waiting for our return and, for all who do return, He receives them not begrudgingly, but with open arms. He is calling us because He wants us to return.
Secondly, that God loves us. He created us and everything He creates is good and He loves everything He creates. This love was demonstrated in His willingness to send His own Son to die for our sins. All He does in our life, He does out of His love for us and for all of mankind. We may not always understand the ways of God but we know that they are always born out of love.
Finally, he reminds us that we are "preserved in Jesus Christ" as Darby translates this verse. Our hope and trust are not in ourselves but in Jesus. He is our "hope of righteousness," (Galatians 5:5) our "hope of glory," (Colossians 1:27) our "hope of salvation," (1 Thessalonians 5:8) and our "hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:7) It is Jesus who keeps us, not we ourselves. This particular Greek word also has the connotation that He is ever watching over us, that His eye is always upon us. How comforting to know that Jesus always sees us and is always watching over us; protecting us from things we cannot see, and delivering us safely to our Father in heaven. Thank you Jesus!