December 15

Jude 1, Psalm 39

I remember during one my medical school interviews, at the University of Pennsylvania, being shocked by the others being interviewed. We all wore name tags with our undergraduate school on it. Those being interviewed would stand and shake each others hands saying, "Oh, you're a Harvard man, I'm a Yale man",etc. I having graduated from the Long Island University School of Pharmacy was only one of two interviewees there who were not from an Ivy league institution. When I stood to shake one of their hands, one actually turned his back on me when he saw my school. Another in disdain asked me where my school was even from. But this continued and still does. Many physicians deem it important to inform others where they went to school, or where they trained in residency, or they mention a famous colleague by a pet name, such as Jimmy, instead of James, etc. to let others know how important they are. Actors do the same thing, loving to explain their resumes or famous acquaintances within seconds of introducing themselves. Pastor Lloyd has said there are pastors and others at conferences who like to state the number in their congregation as a means of elevating themselves. All of these examples, show a lack of humility.

Look at the opening verse of the letter of Jude, "Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,...". Look at James 1:1, "James, a bondservant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ,...". Neither James nor Jude used their special relationship with Jesus to attain any special status. Yet, these two men were the half-brothers of Jesus. If we are honest, couldn't you imagine if we were writing this letter, we would say, "I'm Jude, the brother of Jesus", to really wow them. We read of these two brothers named in Matthew 13:55, "Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?" We know that these brothers did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, until after His resurrection. We see them mocking Jesus in John 7:3-5. We read later in Acts 1:14, that they believed later, and were present in the upper room after His ascension, "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers." In Paul's 1st chapter of 1 Timothy, he calls himself both an apostle (v.1), and the chief of sinners (v.15). Though these men were literally the who's who of the day in comparison to others, they, in humility considered all of this nothing, when comparing themselves to Jesus.

Jude writes in verse 16,19, "These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage...These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. We must all examine ourselves and ask if we try to puff ourselves up before others. Is it important to let others know what ministries we participate in or lead, what positions we might hold, who we know, what we do for a living, etc. Do we fall into the trap of causing divisions by trying to elevate ourselves in the eyes of others. Or are we, like the actual half-brothers of Jesus, content with being considered nothing more than a servant of Jesus Christ. For it is this humbled position that unifies rather than divides. If Jesus is truly Lord of our lives, all other designations really amount to nothing. When Jesus outlines how he expects His disciples to live in the Sermon on the Mount, humility is the first step He mentions in Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster